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Our office has noted an uptick in house plans purchased from various American companies that essentially mass-produce house plans.

Do be cautious: there are a number of issues that can arise as a result of either differences between U.S. codes and the National Building Code, or as a result of climactic differences.

Examples include:

  • Insufficient foundation sizing
  • Incorrect post (column) sizing
  • Insufficient rafter strength
  • Missing earthquake bracing panels

New Brunswick does not require a professional designer to create house plans, but if you are seeking aid of a designer, make sure the designer is familiar with - and able to design to - Canadian codes.

With warmer weather upon us, people are starting to work on various building projects they've been dreaming about all winter. With the new rules in place requiring that accessory buildings (ie: garages) of more than 55 square metres (592 square feet) must meet Code, we're seeing a lot of building permit applications - as one might expect. Help avoid delays by make sure that all building permit applications include a suitably detailed scale drawing of the construction. Our building inspectors will need to know things like

  • footings (depth and dimension)
  • Walls (stud size and spacing, sheathing, cladding)
  • Lintel construction for all openings in load-bearing walls
  • Roofing system, including depiction of insulation and ventilation
  • Joist sizes/spacing, beam size/spacing, posts/columns
  • Stair dimensions
  • Truss plans (for anything other than simple gable roofs)
  • Earthquake braced wall designs for any house in the seismically active area of the region (details here)

Other things to think about:

  • Please note that any loadbearing "slab-on-grade" designs (ie: no frost wall) MUST include a plan created by a structural engineer licenced to practice in the province.
  • Any non-residential occupancy will require detailed scale drawings of all elements. If you're looking at constructing, modifying or adding to a business, office, creating apartments, or something other than a house or a garage serving a house, you're into a more complex section of code that may require a complex design - or an architect/engineer. It's best to call our office first, just to gain an idea of what you may need.

It's officially spring - we can tell at the planning office, because of the dramatic increase in permit applications for garages.

Effective Jan. 1, all accessory structures larger than 55m2 (592 square feet) must be built to the standards of the National Building Code of Canada - and that means that any accessory building of 55m2 (592 square feet) footprint or larger must have either

  1. frost wall bearing on a foundation at 4' depth (or solid rock)
  2. piers (sonotubes) bearing to a foundation at 4' depth (or solid rock)
  3. screw piles (engineered)
  4. an engineer-designed slab-on-grade foundation.

It's vital for applicant to realize that submitting a permit for an accessory building with a slab-on-grade foundation MUST include a drawing of the slab stamped by an engineer qualified to work in the province. If this isn't part of your application, it will delay the issuance of a permit.

More on slabs here.