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Feature Issue: Building Code Changes

There are a number of proposed changes to the National Building Code and the National Fire Code of Canada underway. A public review process to provide feedback on the proposed changes ended on November 28, 2008.

The proposed changes may cause significant alterations to where and how people can live. The people that will be directly affected by these changes include anyone judged under the proposed changes as receiving “care” or who cannot independently evacuate the housing (“self-preservation”). The term “care” has been defined in the proposed changes very broadly. The term “self-preservation” is also defined in way that could be quite sweeping to include many people who live in residential housing in the community.

Fundamentally this would seem to be a shift in the language of the codes and will require building authorities and design professionals to judge people’s abilities rather than the current practice of assessing the designated use of the building. As most professionals from the construction and housing sector do not have experience or training that offer a formal knowledge base for judging peoples abilities, this would grant license to subjective judgments that will override an individual’s right to live in smaller residential settings (houses, apartments, row housing, etc.).

To find out more on the proposed changes to the National Building code and the National Fire code, you can only download each proposed changed individually at:

When at that website scroll down to: View the technical changes by
Select: Subject
Then you will be directed to a new page that you can select either:

Both the building code and the fire code have a section of proposed changes that are grouped as: Residential Care Occupancies

In both the building code and the fire code sections there is a file of individual documents for each proposed change.  The proposed changes that will have the biggest impact are the ones nearer the top of the list that define the terms which relate to situations that were formerly residential occupancies (houses, apartments, etc.) to now have to be defined as the New B2 or B3 care occupancies.  

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