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Community and Q&A

Canadian Model Codes now available for free

Benjamin Pries | Posted in Building Code Questions on

This is not a question, but I thought folks might be interested to know that the Canadian model codes (Building Code, Energy Code, Plumbing Code, and Fire Code) are (finally) available for free download. Being a government service, it’s still a little goofy – you need to make an account for both the NRC Virtual Store and the Codes-Guides Online Library, as well as download a plugin for Acrobat viewing, but it’s a real game-changer!

In light of their new accessibility, it would be great to see contributors to this blog and other online building resources include Canadian code references in addition to the IBC & IRC when reviewing code considerations.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Brian Pontolilo | | #1


    Thanks for sharing this new with us.

  2. Expert Member
    Malcolm Taylor | | #2


    Is it just the model codes (The NBC) or is it the provincial codes too?

    1. Benjamin Pries | | #5

      I’m in Manitoba. Our code is available as a PDF like any other act or regulation. It is just a handful of amendments and addenda to the NBC, which is not useful unless you have the NBC obviously. Can’t speak to other provinces, other than that obviously if a province hasn’t adopted the national model code, the new access won’t make a difference.

      1. Expert Member
        Malcolm Taylor | | #6


        Unfortunately, although most provincial codes are based on the NBC, the revisions and additions are usually extensive enough that having the model code isn't much use. Here in BC, our provincial code differs from the NBC quite extensively, and Vancouver has enacted it's own building code which differs from the one for the rest of the province. Perhaps in the smaller provinces the changes aren't significant enough to worry about?

  3. AlexPoi | | #3

    This is great. Thank you. Never made sense to pay for that. It's the law, you have to follow it but in order to follow it you have to pay to read it...

    1. Expert Member
      Malcolm Taylor | | #4

      I think it is just the model codes they are offering. We are still on the hook to buy the provincial ones. The amendments each province makes are often quite extensive. BC for instance included separate seismic and energy provisions which differ from the other codes.

      I agree with you. if a jurisdiction wants you to follow the laws it enacts, you should have access to them.

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