An update to the B.C. Building Code will require fire sprinklers to be installed on the balconies of all new four-storey wood-frame residential buildings. The new sprinkler requirements will take effect on July 20, 2017.
Under the current B.C. Building Code, sprinklers generally are not required on balconies or in attics in residential buildings four storeys and under, but are generally required in residential buildings greater than four storeys.
The updated 2015 National Building Code, on which B.C. Building Code updates are based, requires sprinklers on balconies of four-storey residential buildings. Although the next edition of the B.C. Building Code is not scheduled to be adopted until late 2017, the province is taking steps to adopt the new sprinkler standards sooner.
“B.C. is a leader in fire safety requirements, but we continually review those rules and update them. Although the next edition of our building code won’t be adopted until late 2017, we wanted to implement this change as soon as possible, in the interest of safety,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing.
The province is providing a transition period to allow time for the industry to adapt to the new requirement. Building codes and fire sprinkler standards apply at the time of construction and do not apply retroactively to require owners to upgrade existing buildings.