Building & Compliance

Building Services is here to help you when:

  • you need a Building or Plumbing Permit
  • you wish to install a sign or awning Sign Bylaw
  • you would like to renovate, or put on an addition, or make other changes to your house or building
  • you need to conduct any excavation or demolition on the property
  • you are going to change the use of the unit or building
  • you are going to build a deck or undertake other small renovations
  • you have acquired Planning approval and now need a building permit
  • you are ready for building or plumbing inspections, or ready for occupancy
  • you would like to request copies of building plans (available to the owner or their authorized agent)

Bylaw Compliance is here to help you when:

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Effective August 14, 2019

The BC Building Code, Plumbing and Fire Codes are now available online at no charge. The free online access is available at,  under the "Public Library" collection. Printed copies of the BC code material will also be made available at a reduced cost.  

Effective December 10, 2018

The Province has adopted the 2018 edition of the British Columbia Building Code, including Book II Plumbing Services (BC Building and Plumbing Code).

The new BC Building and Plumbing Code will be effective December 10, 2018 and will apply to your building permits applied for in North Cowichan on or after that date. The BC Fire Code is anticipated to be adopted in the fall of 2018 and effective December 10, 2018. Buildings with permits in place under the previous 2012 BC Building Code will generally not be affected by the adoption of the new code.

The BC Building and Plumbing Code is based substantially on the model National Building and Plumbing Codes of Canada (National Codes). The 2015 National Codes adopted 600 technical changes to improve clarity, introduce new concepts, and expand existing requirements. Some of the new requirements in the National Codes you should be aware of include: 

  • updates to airborne sound transmission ratings,
  • seismic design and climatic data, and
  • updates to stairs, ramps, handrails and guards, including an increase to the run dimensions for residential dwellings. 

For more information about the changes introduced in the 2015 National Codes, please visit the Codes Canada website.        

The 2018 BC Building and Plumbing Code includes most of the 2015 National Code requirements and some variations specific to British Columbia. Some important BC-specific Code changes introduced in the 2018 BC Building Code you should be aware of include: 

  • increasing building accessibility for persons with disabilities,
  • improving the energy efficiency of buildings to require compliance with new building energy efficiency codes and standards,
  • providing a variation to the National Building Code requirements for mid-rise combustible buildings to require 10 percent street frontage and exterior cladding with increased fire resistance, and
  • updating radon data, based on recent studies. 

For more information about the 2018 BC Building and Plumbing Code, please visit the website. Online resources include:

Please note that the online version of the 2018 BC Building and Plumbing Code will be available for purchase in the coming weeks at The Building and Safety Standards Branch will notify code users when the online version is published. The print version is expected at a later date, and code users will be notified when it becomes available.

The Building and Safety Standards Branch is working with partners to deliver education and support Code users in learning about the new requirements. Additional Code resources will be posted to the website, in the coming months.

If you have any questions, please email

Previous changes to the 2012 BC Building Code

The Honourable Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, has approved changes to the 2012 BC Building Code effective January 31, 2018. These changes constitute Revision 12 of the 2012 BC Building Code and are available online.  The changes concern Letters of Assurance and a number of other Code revisions.  

Letters of Assurance: Changes include editorial revisions to Schedules B and C-A. These Schedules are now available on the BC Codes website

Other Code Changes: Changes include removing a relaxation for guards and opening restrictions for windows in dwelling units that are not above other dwelling units; permission for passive ventilation supply air for secondary suites in buildings conforming to the BC Energy Step Code; and editorial changes to the BC Energy Step Code, including clarification of the term “floor area” for energy modelling.

Revision 12 has been consolidated and posted within the online BC Building Code. For customers using hard copies of the BC Building Code, the convenience copy of the BC Energy Step Code will be updated and available online once consolidation of the recent revisions is complete.

Further explanation of the changes can be found in two technical bulletins that will be available online:

Technical Bulletin 18-01: January 2018 Update to Letters of Assurance (attached to this message).

  • Technical Bulletin 18-02: Miscellaneous Revisions to the 2012 BC Building Code (available soon).

Questions about Revision 12 should be directed to More information about the BC Building Code is available at

Information Bulletin - Letters of Assurance [PDF - 313 KB]

Effective January 31, 2018

Other Resources