The National Building Code is holding a public review in January 2020 for energy efficiency in new home construction. Visit

Included in the review are:

“Tiered Performance Requirements (NECB) Introduces a new Part to Division B of the NECB that establishes a compliance path with four tiers, each successive tier being increasingly stringent in terms of building energy consumption.

Tiered Performance Requirements (NBC Section 9.36.) Introduces a new Subsection that establishes tiered performance requirements by defining five tiers in terms of overall energy performance improvement, improvement in building envelope performance, and airtightness level. To supplement this tiered approach, adds new Subsections on prescriptive requirements for compliance with Tier 2 and on airtightness measurement.

Alignment with EnerGuide System (NBC Section 9.36.) Aligns NBC Subsection 9.36.5. with the EnerGuide Rating System to establish this system as an acceptable compliance path.”

The National Building Code will offer a prescriptive path on how to build energy efficient homes, unlike the BC Step Code offering no prescriptive option.

Despite an agreement to harmonize the BC Building Code with the National Building Code, the BC government fast-tracked its own BC Step Code, which was later discovered to be flawed by Natural Resources Canada. Read and

BC Step Code does not permit a prescriptive option, which could create serious problems. In the province’s own words: “The BC Energy Step Code does not specify how to construct a building, but identifies an energy-efficiency target that must be met and lets the designer/builder decide how to meet it.”

This is a recipe for leaky condo syndrome. While the home may pass an initial target, building envelope failure may be fast-tracked using some code-approved materials/applications by contractors and municipal inspectors unfamiliar with building very energy efficient homes.

Councils in Saanich, Victoria, Oak Bay, North Saanich and Central Saanich have adopted Step Code and most will leap into Tier 3 on January 1, 2020. Saanich adopted Tier 1 just 7 months ago and has bypassed Tier 2 for homes over 1,200 sq ft (most new single detached homes), which is why it’s a Leap Code, not a Step Code.

VRBA strongly recommends municipalities avoid the BC Step Code and wait for the National Public Review coming January, 2020, which will become BC’s mandatory building code, unless individual municipalities voluntarily adopt the risky Step Code. Before doing so, be sure to read