Bill 3, 2015: Building Act (the "Building
Act"), which received Royal Assent on March 25, 2015,
provides long-promised changes to the building regulatory system in
BC. The Province's stated purposes behind the
Building Act are to: (1) streamline building requirements,
(2) establish mandatory qualifications for local building officials
and (3) expand the Province's ability to review innovative
The most significant part of the Building Act is the
repeal of the "spheres of concurrent authority"
provisions that currently exist under the Community
Charter and the Local Government Act. Local
governments which fall within the definition of "local
authorities" under the Building Act, will see their
authority to enact and maintain building-related bylaws restricted
through the operation of section 5. Pursuant to section 5(3),
a requirement in respect of building activities that is enacted by
a local authority (a "local building requirement") has no
effect to the extent that it relates to a matter that is:
subject to a requirement, in respect of building activities, of
a building regulation, or
prescribed by regulation as a restricted matter.
While the ultimate scope of these restrictions on local
government authority will only be fully known when the Minister
makes regulations under the Building Act, the framework
provides for some possible outcomes for local government building
bylaws after the two year transitional period has ended, such
If the bylaw relates to a matter that has been addressed by a
Provincial building regulation, then the bylaw will have no
If the bylaw related to a "restricted matter", then
the bylaw will have no effect.
If the Minister prescribes by regulation that a
building-related matter is an "unrestricted matter", then
the bylaw relating to that matter will continue to have
If a Provincial building regulation does not regulate a matter
in any way, then the bylaw on that matter will continue to have
If a local government's building bylaw ceases to have effect
through the operation of the Building Act, and the local
government wishes to address a building-related concern in a manner
that differs from the Provincial building regulation on the matter,
then the local government will have to make a request to the
Minister that the Minister make a building regulation in respect of
the local government, pursuant to section 7. The Building
Act empowers the Province to charge certain cost recovery
fees, in amounts that will be determined by regulation, for these
requests for variations.
To address concerns about the qualifications of building
officials, the Building Act also provides for the creation
of mandatory qualification requirements for building
officials. The Building Act will also create a
register of qualified building officials headed by a registrar who
will be designated by the Minister.
Much of the Building Act empowers the Minister to make
regulations relating to building activity. At this stage, the
content of these regulations is unknown, and as such, the full
effect of the Building Act is somewhat uncertain.
However, considering the broad scope of regulatory authority given
to the Minister, the Building Act will, when it comes into
force, undoubtedly have significant effects on the ability of local
governments to establish, maintain and enforce bylaws that relate
to building activities within their boundaries.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Russell v. Township of Georgian Bay provides a useful reminder of the fact that while municipal officials sometimes appear to hold all of the cards in disputes with home owners, that is not always the case.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).