Building in Canada
Canada's National Model Construction Codes and Guides are developed and maintained by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC), an independent committee of volunteers established by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). The NRC Canadian Codes Centre provides technical, research and administrative support to the CCBFC and its related committees.
These Codes are adopted, with or without modifications, and enforced by most provinces and territories. These include the National Building Code (NBC), the National Fire Code (NFC), the National Plumbing Code (NPC) and other documents. The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) publishes other model codes that address electrical, gas and elevator systems.
Requirements on the specification of structural wood products and wood building systems is set forth in the National Building Code which is concerned with health, safety, accessibility and the protection of buildings from fire or structural damage. The Code applies mainly to new construction, but also aspects of demolition, relocation, renovation and change of building use. The current NBC was published in 2010, and is usually updated on a five-year cycle. The next update is expected in 2015.
Similar to the Unites States model codes in Canada have no force in law until they are adopted by a government authority having jurisdiction. In Canada that responsibility resides within the provinces, territories and in some cases, municipalities. Most regions choose to adopt the NBC, or adapt their own version derived from the NBC to suit their regional needs. Some links to provinces and municipalities that have adopted their own version of the Building Code are provided below:
Housing and small buildings can be built without a full structural design using prescriptive requirements found in Part 9 of the NBC, similar to the use of the IRC within the United States. Some Part 9 requirements are based on calculations, others are based on construction practices that have a proven performance history. Generally prescriptive use is allowed if the following conditions are met:
- 3 stories or less
- 600 square meters or less (6500 sqft)
- Uses repetitive wood members spaced within 600 mm (24 inches)
- Spans are less than 12.2 meter (40 ft)
- Floor live loads don't exceed 2.4 kPa (50 lbs/sqft)
- Residential, office, mercantile or medium-to low-hazard industrial occupancy
The rationale for not basing all Part 9 requirements on calculations is that there has been long experience with small wood-frame buildings in Canada, and many of the non-structural elements actually contribute to the strength of the structure. Quantifying this contribution cannot always be done adequately using typical design assumptions that include two dimensional load paths and single member engineering mechanics. In these cases the qualification of houses and small buildings is based on alternative criteria of a prescriptive nature. These prescriptive criteria are based on an extensive performance history of wood housing and small buildings that meet current day code requirements.
Links to additional Canadian publications and resources are provided below:
- Canadian Span Book
- CHBA Buildiers' Manual
- CMHC Canadian Wood-Frame Housing
- Lateral Bracing Requirements Part 9 BC Building Code 2012
- WoodWorks Software
- Engineering Guide for Wood Frame Construction 2009
Medeed Design's plans are designed prescriptively using the latest IRC code. As such our designs fall into the same prescriptive design category within the Canadian Code (Part 9, NBC) and should meet or exceed all of the applicable Canadian building code requirements provided the environment parameters (seismic, wind, snow) are not too extreme.
If you have any questions about utilizing our plansets in Canada please contact us.