Step Code Program

About Step 3 of the BC Energy Step Code

Compliance with Step 3 of the BC Energy Step Code is now required throughout British Columbia, including in North Cowichan.

All newly constructed and substantially reconstructed homes require pre-building permit energy modeling performed by a certified Energy Advisor. Energy Advisors are required to return mid-construction and prior to occupancy to confirm that the work meets the pre-construction modeling. Occupancy permits will be contingent upon the North Cowichan Building Services branch receiving a compliant final energy advisor report. 

Pre-permit energy modeling is most efficiently completed if performed during the design stage by way of a collaborative effort between the home designer and the energy advisor as early as possible in the process. 

Coming soon - BC Zero Carbon Step Code

  • Emission Level 3 of the BC Zero Carbon Step Code will begin on Jan. 1, 2024
  • Emission Level 4 of the BC Zero Carbon Step Code will begin on July 1, 2024 

The Energy and Zero Carbon Step Code requirements impact primary space and water heating in new construction only and are based on performance. Secondary heating sources, as well as auxiliary appliances such as stoves and barbecues, are not affected by the changes. 


Step 3 is now required. If you chose to go above Step 3, you can apply for a rebate through the Step Code Incentive Rebate Program.

  • Step 4: $1,000 – 40% increase in efficiency 
  • Step 5: $1,250 - 80% increase in efficiency

Energy Step Code forms

IMPORTANT: Building Permit Applications are required to be compliant with the minimum mandatory requirements (Step 3) and applications must include a Pre-Construction Report from an Energy Advisor. Heating Degree days and Climate Zone for the project location must match the CVRD Climatic Data provided below. 

What is the BC Energy Step Code? 

The BC Energy Step Code is a part of the BC Building Code that specifies performance-based energy-efficiency requirements for new buildings and substantial reconstruction or renovations. The performance approach specifies a target to be met and allows the home designer and builder flexibility on how to achieve that target. To comply with the BC Energy Step Code, energy software modeling and on-site testing must be used to show that the design and the constructed building meets the requirements of standard (Step 3 is what is currently required, by 2032 Step 5 or Net-Zero Energy Ready is required). For more information please see the BC Energy Step Code website. 

About the BC Energy Step Code 

What is an Energy Advisor? 

An Energy Advisor is someone who provides energy modeling, recommends more efficient solutions, reviews construction progress, provides mid-construction and final testing, as well as, assists with applying for any rebates available.  

Find an Energy Advisor 

New home construction and significant reconstruction to existing homes will require energy modeling done by an Energy Advisor. The CVRD Building Inspection division recommends that you find an Energy Advisor that can perform both energy modeling and mid-construction blower door testing.  

  1. Click the link above 
  2. Enter whether you are building a new home or renovating an existing home 
  3. Enter Cowichan Valley Regional District 
  4. Look for an Energy Advisor that has BCBC EM, BC ECR, and MC BDT for your project 
  5. Please contact an Energy Advisor for a cost estimate for your project  

About the British Columbia Building Code 

  • The 2018 BC Building Code  establishes minimum standards for health, safety, accessibility, energy and fire and structural protection of buildings in British Columbia. Simple buildings (such as residential houses) is outlined in Part 9, and more complex buildings is outlined in Part 3 of the code.  

  • The 2018 BC Plumbing Code establishes minimum standards for health, water efficiency and protection of the building or facility from water and sewer damage.  

  • The 2018 BC Fire Code  establishes minimum standards for health, safety and fire protection of buildings and facilities in British Columbia. 

For more information on the BC Energy Step Code, visit:

For more information 

Contact the Building Department