Penticton takes proactive approach to B.C. Building Code changes

The City of Penticton is taking a leadership role as the province rolled out the new B.C. Building Code, which includes substantial changes to plumbing and building regulations.

"Building and construction is a critical component to the economy in Penticton, and the provincial regulation changes will have far-reaching effects on how homes and new structures are built," said Mayor Dan Ashton.

"The City is being proactive by researching the changes, offering education to the local development community and working with the private sector to ensure projects are completed not only safely, but on time and on budget."

The new B.C. Building Code came into effect Dec. 20, 2012, and all building permits issued prior to that date will be reviewed under the 2006 BCBC. Permits issued after Dec. 20, 2012 will fall under the new regulations, and the City is committed to working with industry professionals to promote awareness and understanding of the changes in the months ahead.

Two information meetings have been held to introduce changes to provincial regulations to the development community. In November, experts in the field attended a session on the newly established B.C. Plumbing Code, which now serves as a companion document to the B.C. Building Code and B.C. Fire Code. In December, a meeting was held focusing on the building regulations and professional and trades representatives were given highlights of the changes. More than 100 people attended the two sessions.

City staff highly recommends the development community invest in purchasing the online versions of the three new codes, particularly with the reduced introductory rates. Not only is supplementary information available that helps interpret technical requirements, the online version is updated automatically as additional revisions are incorporated. The document's search systems have won awards for functionality, and the online version features historical requirements to enable users to compare requirements over a period of time. The codes are available online.

Information about upcoming Penticton information workshops and bulletin updates by visiting the Building Department's webpage. The initial workshop for professionals is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 7, which will focus on changes to window and door regulations, allowable sizes (spatial calculations) and limitations of projections to property lines. Interested participants are asked to email staff to RSVP.

"For homeowners, the Building Department is also available to answer questions at the start of the project," said Ken Kunka, Building and Permitting Manager. "We recommend all owners considering home renovations or outdoor construction projects like decks and driveways contact the Building Department to find out about the required building permits."

Building Department staff will also be at the CHBA South Okanagan's 18th annual Home and Renovation Show Feb. 2 to 3 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. Staff will be offering free plan reviews to help people obtain their building permits for simple renovation or construction projects like bathrooms and backyard decks. Staff will be available between 1 and 3 p.m. each day; check in at the City of Penticton booth for information.

To contact the Building Department, visit www.penticton.ca/building or call 250-490-2501.