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National Building Code 2020: What to Expect?

For 3 years, the rewriting of the new Building Code of Canada has been in the hands of specialists, and new very strict rules will come into force gradually from this year (2019).

The code will mainly target new construction, but it will also deal with the various aspects of demolition, relocation, renovation and changing the use of buildings.

The current CNB was released in 2015 and is usually updated every five years. The next update is therefore scheduled for 2020.

CNR is leading an initiative on climate resilient buildings and basic public infrastructure aimed at updating climate data, related climate loads and load combinations, as well as new climate resilience provisions that will be implemented. work in future versions of codes, standards and guides. including the National Building Code, the National Energy Code for Buildings – Canada and the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code.

Resistance of buildings and infrastructure

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) says homes and highways across the country have been built according to weather models which are now obsolete due to climate change.

New data on the collected climate changes will be used for the 2020 update of the the national building code and that of the construction of highways, which does not are not laws but serve as models for the provinces and municipalities.

The aim is to adapt the national building code so that infrastructure can better withstand pressures from fires, floods and windstorms that will become more and more more frequent. Indeed, according to a report by the Canadian ministry of Environment released last week, Canada is warming twice faster than the rest of the planet.

Resistance roofs

New provisions for the certification of resistance of roofs to extreme weathering is planned for 2020.


Updates to improve mixtures of concrete for the pavement to alleviate pothole problems are also planned. For example, the City of Montreal should put them in place in 2021 following field trials.

Design structural

New standards for protection basements against flooding should be completed by the end of 2019.

In addition, in order to take into account the strong winds associated climate change, new structural design rules for the buildings should be ready for adoption only in 2025. Changes are also expected on the calculation of road bridges in the same period.

Other significant changes proposed

Accommodation in residence

The National Building Code and National Fire Code offer new home care facilities. The aim is to offer more financially accessible housing for people in need of home care and to ensure a real degree of fire safety without compromise the safety of people.

Legionella bacteria in buildings

The proliferation and transmission of Legionnaires’ disease is potentially deadly. Modifications are proposed to minimize the effects adverse effects on health caused by Legionella and others bacteria.


Each year, more than 420 Canadian children end up in the emergency room after a fall from window.

To increase the safety of openable windows, design changes less restrictive are proposed.

Air tightness

Modifications to Part 5 are proposed with respect to the problem of air leaks. The focus will be on the performance of the air barrier assemblies rather than the materials.

Read the 2018 public review on the proposed changes

2018: Modifications proposed to CNB 2015, CNPI 2015 and CNP 2015 – combined file (PDF format – 11 MB)

The next public review is currently scheduled for fall 2019.

Source: CNRC

31 October 2022

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