Provincial and territorial governments have legislative authority over building design and construction within their jurisdictions and they adopt, or adapt, the National Model Construction Codes into their regulation for them to come into effect in their jurisdiction. The federal government works through a collaborative structure with the provinces and territories to develop the Model Code for their use.
The National Research Council of Canada (NRC), on behalf of the Government of Canada, co-chairs the federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) Canadian Table for Harmonized Construction Codes Policy as well as the Canadian Board for Harmonized Construction Codes (CBHCC), alongside provincial and territorial representatives.
The CBHCC is responsible for the development, approval and maintenance of the National Model Construction Codes, with guidance from expert technical committees to develop proposed code changes.
The NRC's Codes Canada group supports the new FPT Canadian Table for Harmonized Construction Codes Policy and the CBHCC as the secretariat, by providing technical, policy, and administrative support. As part of this, the NRC also publishes the National Model Construction Codes, including the National Building Code of Canada, the National Fire Code of Canada, the National Plumbing Code of Canada, and the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings.
In addition, experts from the NRC's Construction Research Centre contribute science-based research to inform the technical committees in the national model code development system, which are responsible for developing the provisions of the National Model Codes.
Effective as of November 22, 2022, this new governance model for harmonized construction code development includes collective decision-making by federal, provincial, and territorial parties.
By strengthening the role of the provinces and territories in the national code development process, the national model code development system is now more responsive, agile, and will result in fewer variations between construction codes in each jurisdiction.
These changes support provinces and territories in adopting the National Model Construction Codes more rapidly following their publication. Harmonizing construction codes across Canada will help to decrease construction costs for Canadians and reduce barriers to trade.
As the construction industry employs nearly 1.4 million Canadians, a harmonized set of codes reduces regulatory burden and removes internal trade barriers.
The national model code development system relies on the expertise and input from industry, the regulatory community, general interest groups, code users, interested organizations and the public.
For more details on the development of the national model codes, please contact the CBHCC.