ARCHIVED - Public Review on Proposed Changes to the 2010 National Building Code — Autumn 2012

This public review is closed.

Go to the public review home page.

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) invites Code users and stakeholders to participate in the review of proposed changes to the following National Model Construction Codes:

This national public review took place from September 24 to November 16, 2012.

The purpose of this public review is to:

  • provide Code users and stakeholders with a detailed look at proposed technical changes
  • seek comment on each proposed technical change as to whether it should be approved, altered, or rejected, and
  • seek comments on updates to documents referenced in the National Model Construction Codes.

The public review closed at 4:00 p.m. EDT on November 16, 2012, after which comments will no longer be accepted. The relevant committees of the CCBFC will review every comment that was received up to that date. The committees will then either withdraw the proposed change, recommend that it be reviewed further for future consideration as a proposed change, or recommend that it be approved by the CCBFC, with or without modification.

Proposed changes

  • Code Section
    • National Building Code
    • National Fire Code
    • National Plumbing Code
  • Subject
    • National Building Code
    • National Fire Code
    • National Plumbing Code

Summary of Significant Proposed Changes – Fall 2012

National Building Code of Canada (NBC)

Division B

Part 3

Photoluminescent Exit Signs

An allowance for photoluminescent exit sign technology was introduced in the NBC 2010. However, the illumination condition required for these signs causes difficulty when proposing the use of alternate energy-saving technologies and negates the benefits of using such signs. The proposed change to Article removes this unnecessary NBC condition, as installation and light source conditions are clearly spelled out in the Article's referenced standard.

Protection of Foamed Plastics

The proposed changes clarify the intent of Articles and for the protection of foamed plastics in noncombustible construction as the current wording was found to be confusing and has resulted in misinterpretation. The changes also introduce requirements for walk-in coolers and freezers made from factory-assembled panels for both combustible and noncombustible construction.

Smoke Tightness of Closures in Fire Separations and Smoke Dampers

The NBC is unclear on whether smoke tightness through closures in fire separations must be addressed, resulting in varying interpretations by regulators. The proposed changes clarify the matter by introducing smoke damper requirements in an air-transfer opening or duct, as well as a leakage-rated door assembly where it penetrates a fire separation in specific areas.

Parts 3 and 9

Security Systems and Locking Hardware on Egress Doors

Current Code provisions that restrict the use of electromagnetic locking devices (EML) to exit doors do not adequately address an operational security need that some doors should be secured. In response, some provincial authorities have already amended their regulations to permit an expansion of the use of EMLs to other doors. Changes are therefore proposed to NBC Parts 3 and 9 to expand the permitted use of these EML devices to include doors located in an access to an exit as well as the exit doors.

The requirements for cross over floors have also been expanded to capture stairwells serving storeys below grade (such as storage garages) or stairwells serving floors in a building with six or fewer stories. In addition, meeting the requirement for access from a stairwell into cross over floors has been facilitated by allowing the use of a specially designed and installed manual station to release the lock from the stairwell side.

Part 4

Loads on Guards and Loads on Vehicle Guardrails

Changes are proposed to Article to reduce the guard load for access walkways and to clarify that the load for panels and pickets is to be applied outward. A change to Article is also proposed to clarify that the guard loads and vehicle guardrail load do not need to be applied concurrently.

Part 5


Two changes relating to fenestration are proposed. One is to provide further guidance on the control of condensation in Appendix Note A- to reduce performance failures resulting from misinterpretation and misuse of standard methods. The other is to add a new Appendix Note A- highlighting the importance of installation details and field testing of fenestration products to ensure required performance levels are met.


It is proposed that the withdrawn CSA A82.31-M (Gypsum Board Application) standard in Table be replaced with ASTM C840, to which the industry has been adhering for many years. Deletion of the withdrawn CSA A82.30-M (Interior Furring, Lathing and Gypsum Plastering) standard is also proposed as the issues it addresses are largely limited to historical building restoration projects and no longer relevant to NBC Part 5 applications.

Hardwood and Decorative Plywood

The proposed change to Table replaces the CSA O115-M standard with ANSI/HPVA HP-1, a standard used by the industry for well over six years that covers materials included in CSA O115-M as well as new products that have been on the market since it was last updated.

Vegetative Roofing Systems

The proposal is to add a new Sentence that references an ANSI/GRHC/SPRI standard dealing with resistance to root penetration in vegetative roofs as well as a new Appendix Note A- that references several documents providing further guidance on the subject. This will reduce the likelihood of improperly specifying protective materials and precipitation ingress.

Part 6

Air Contaminants

The proposed change modifies Article and expands its Appendix Note to provide clarity on what is meant by "indoor air contaminants".

National Fire Code of Canada (NFC)

Division B

Ethanol Production for Fuel (Part 5)

The NFC is unclear on whether fuel ethanol production should be considered a process plant or a distillery, each of which has requirements for specific hazards related to its respective processes. It is therefore difficult for code users to determine which requirements apply and has resulted in significant discrepancies across the country as well as increased likelihood of property damage and harm to people. The proposed change introduces a new Section 5.4. clarifying the design, construction and safety requirements for this production process.


Division B

Definition of Dangerous Goods (NBC Part 3; NFC Parts 2, 3, 4 and 5)

Currently, the definition of dangerous goods used and stored in a building is based on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulation, which deals with dangerous goods in transit. The use, handling and storage of hazardous materials by building resources, however, are regulated by the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), which has a slightly different classification and which, therefore, may result in misunderstanding of the hazards associated with a product.

The proposed changes expand the definition for dangerous goods in the NBC and NFC to include the WHMIS classification system so that all dangerous goods (hazardous products) that may be found in a building are covered. Since both TDG and WHMIS will be harmonized with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), the proposed changes also introduce a new classification system for dangerous goods complying with both TDG and WHMIS.

National Plumbing Code of Canada (NPC)

Division B

Ferrous Pipe and Fittings (Part 2)

Proposed changes to Subsection 2.2.6., as well as a few other Articles, will allow the inclusion of ferrous pipes and fittings (stainless steel) as an additional material for plumbing systems, since this material is now acceptable in many jurisdictions and is representative of current industry practice.

To receive the proposed changes for this public review, please contact Codes Canada.