HPAC Magazine

The “New” 2020 National Model Codes Finally Released

March 28, 2022 | By HPAC Magazine

The 2020 Model Codes—Building, Plumbing, Fire and Energy—include nearly 400 changes since the last update.

The 2020 National Model Codes, the updated set of model construction codes that includes the National Plumbing Code of Canada 2020, National Building Code of Canada 2020, National Fire Code of Canada 2020, and the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2020, are now available.

A volunteer group, the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC), is responsible for the development of the National Model Codes with updates intended to be on a five-year cycle.

In Canada, provincial and territorial governments have the authority to enact legislation that regulates building design and construction within their jurisdictions. All current provincial and territorial building, fire, plumbing and energy regulations will remain in effect until the 2020 Codes are adopted, with or without modifications, by the provincial or territorial authorities having jurisdiction.

The 2020 Codes include nearly 400 changes. Highlights from the new codes include:

  • A tiered energy performance compliance path which incrementally improves energy efficiency at each successive tier (four energy performance tiers are specified);
  • Updates to evaporative equipment and drain pans to minimize the growth and transmission of legionella and other bacteria;
  • The introduction of whole-building airtightness testing as an option for complying with air leakage requirements;
  • The introduction of encapsulated mass timber construction to allow for the construction of wood buildings up to 12 storeys tall;
  • A clarification that, through certain technical requirements, the existing Fire Safety objective addresses safety of emergency responders including firefighters when performing their duties;
  • Strengthened protections for openable windows in residential occupancies to minimize the risk of falling;
  • Safety glazing in windows and doors for schools, and similar buildings, to reduce the hazards of wired glass;
  • Adjustments to the minimum dimensions of building elements to accommodate people using a wider variety of mobility devices, and requirements for tactile signage and for more pedestrian entrances and floor levels to be accessible;
  • A new home-type care occupancy that will allow for safe and affordable care; and
  • The introduction of technical requirements for large farm buildings and addition of new agricultural occupancies.

The 2020 Codes are available now through the National Research Council of Canada (NRC)’s Publications Archive in a free electronic format for download.

To purchase the publications in print format, an order can be placed online through the NRC’s Virtual Store.




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