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Whether you’re building a new house in a rural, suburban or urban area, you will need to abide by building codes for new construction home and acquire a permit as soon as possible—certainly before any ground is broken.
Here are just a few things you should know about building codes:
They are imposed (with variances) provincially and federally.
The building code concerns all major construction, renovation and demolition.
The code doesn’t pertain to the status quo of existing buildings, however if you are adding an addition or removing part of the building the work will need to be “to code” - and most certainly when you are constructing a new building.
The National Building Code is updated every five years, the most recent was in 2015.
The national and provincial building codes are not to be seen as a textbook for building design. Rather, it provides the minimum standards and guidelines acceptable to maintain the safety of buildings, and the people in them. For example, the code outlines requirements for plumbing, electrical standards (enforced by the ESA), fire protection, accessibility, structural sufficiency, and environmental concerns. However, the building code and/or municipality will legislate the limits of the building size and its location in regards to the adjacent properties and/or waterfront.
Building permits are assessed against the building code of the province, as well as any local bylaws or restrictions. For example, commercial vs residential zoning, community environmental laws, etc. A building permit gives formal permission to begin the construction, demolition, addition or renovation on your property.
It’s a wise decision to work with a design and build partner that knows the building code like the back of their hand. They can also obtain the permit on your behalf and deal with any regional bylaws or issues with the permit officers.
Building codes and permit legalities are often tricky to navigate. But they are in place to protect the interest of the homeowner and community at large. You don’t need to let it hinder building design, but you will need to be aware that some concessions may have to be made to ensure your new build is completely ‘to code’.