National Building Code User’s Guide

“The National Building Code of Canada 2015 (NBC), published by NRC and developed by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, sets out technical provisions for the design and construction of new buildings. It also applies to the alteration, change of use and demolition of existing buildings. Over 360 technical changes have been incorporated in this new edition.”

National Research Council of Canada website

 On a recent visit to a First Nation building site in Alberta, veteran inspector Al Lafond noticed that insulation delivered by a nearby lumberyard for six houses was R-20; he and the colleague with him knew that R-24 was required, according to the provincial building code. “We weren’t there to look at insulation, but we knew that this was the wrong stuff.” When the employees building the homes called the the lumber company, it was confirmed, and the insulation was replaced.

 It was a good thing the mistake was caught--as Lafond points out, ‘It can get pretty expensive to have to re-do a construction project.”

 The National Building Code, published every five years under Codes Canada, is an essential tool for all builders, with standards for materials and techniques that ensure buildings are constructed to the most up-to-date safety and quality standards on the market. Code publications are reviewed by dozens of experts in every field of construction, and include updates on the most recent innovations in technologies, practices, materials and research.

 Through the Canadian Construction Materials Centre, these publications are being made available online to First Nations building officials. Having access to the User’s Guide, with a FNNBOA membership, is a huge savings to our members. The illustrated guides, photos and appendices provide the kind of critical, detailed information construction professionals need to successfully complete their projects in compliance with mandatory standards.

 For most people, it helps to have visual cues, whether it’s diagrams, illustrations or photos, when embarking on a hands-on project. “Seventy percent of us are visual learners,” says Aubrey LeBlance, CAO of the Ontario Building Officers Association (OBOA).

 Al Lafond agrees: “The illustrated guides have very good visuals. They show you the method to use with certain materials to achieve compliance [with the building code]. When people see a picture or an illustration, it makes it easier to understand details.” That’s especially true when required standards in materials and installation techniques that have changed - building workers need to do their due diligence in ensuring the materials they use and the way they build is in accordance with the latest standards.

 A picture or illustration goes a long way to helping building professionals find the best solutions on all their construction projects. Codes Canada publications are available to FNNBOA members to help them ensure that First Nations buildings meet code expectations, prolong the life of all construction in their communities and avoid unnecessary expense to band councils and homeowners in future.


Part of the Eagle's Eye on Housing series - read more