Winter 2017 Issue News

NEW FOUR-STOREY SPRINKLER REQUIREMENTS

An update to the B.C. Building Code will require fire sprinklers to be installed on the balconies of all new four-storey wood-frame residential buildings. The new sprinkler requirements will take effect on July 20, 2017.

Under the current B.C. Building Code, sprinklers generally are not required on balconies or in attics in residential buildings four storeys and under, but are generally required in residential buildings greater than four storeys.

The updated 2015 National Building Code, on which B.C. Building Code updates are based, requires sprinklers on balconies of four-storey residential buildings. Although the next edition of the B.C. Building Code is not scheduled to be adopted until late 2017, the province is taking steps to adopt the new sprinkler standards sooner.

“B.C. is a leader in fire safety requirements, but we continually review those rules and update them. Although the next edition of our building code won’t be adopted until late 2017, we wanted to implement this change as soon as possible, in the interest of safety,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing.

The province is providing a transition period to allow time for the industry to adapt to the new requirement. Building codes and fire sprinkler standards apply at the time of construction and do not apply retroactively to require owners to upgrade existing buildings.

 

BUILDFORCE CANADA CAMPAIGN TO ENCOURAGE PRODUCTIVITY

BuildForce Canada has launched a campaign to encourage the construction industry to work together to improve productivity.

From company owners and contractors to workers, all sectors and all members of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry are being urged to join a national effort to change the way they plan, work and build.

“A changing global economy, rapidly aging workforce and slower growth, are forcing our industry to take a hard look at every stage of construction in order to stay competitive and attract new investment,” said Rosemary Sparks, executive director of BuildForce Canada. “We’re engaging industry in a national conversation about tackling many of its biggest challenges and that includes productivity.”

BuildForce is raising industry awareness about best practices and how companies can work smarter. A new portal on www.buildforce.ca will link industry to best practices, research and resources. Productivity is being incorporated into BuildForce’s online training courses and will also be a focus of a national construction industry summit planned for this fall.

Productivity is considered essential to keeping Canada’s economy competitive. Even small practical steps can help improve productivity, from communication between owners and contractors to ensuring equipment arrives on time.

“We’re working with industry to ensure the construction sector stays competitive,” added Sparks. “It’s all about a shift in thinking so that productivity becomes an important part of industry’s culture. How we work, is how we win.”
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