Effective Jan. 10, 2024, our building inspectors are requiring inspections before concrete is poured in a slab for any building with an occupancy (ie: anything other than a garage). This is to ensure the correct installation of insulation, vapour barrier, bond break, and radon pipe (if required.)
Of key note is the requirement for a bond break - this is a material that prevents adhesion of the slab to any frost wall, as required by Code.
As you may already know, our office is now providing planning and building inspection services for the Island. If you are on the island, and thinking about a summer construction project, it's important you be aware of the requirement for earthquake bracing throughout much of the province. (This has been a requirement since Jan. 1, 2022, so it's not new.)
About 2/3 of stick-build structures that are not accessory buildings will require earthquake bracing. To find out if your project is in that area, click on this link. That will take you to our interactive map. If your property is in the red area, it will require earthquake bracing.
Mechanical ventilation systems have long been required in Canadian buildings, including houses. There are requirements for these systems - usually heat recovery ventilators - in terms of how much air they provide to each area.
Effective immediately, our office is requiring ventilation installers to certify the systems they install meet these requirements.
A couple of times a year, our office receives a call from a contractor trying to figure out what grade of shingle should be used on the side of a house.
One of the reasons for this lies in the fact that some installers have believed – as gospel – that all shingles have to be No. 1 clear grade – except there is no such thing! There is a “clear grade” – which is a term for an Eastern white cedar shingle, and a “No. 1” grade, which is for a Western red cedar shake, but not a “No. 1 clear grade.”
One of the likely causes for confusion lies in the fact that people use the term “shingle” and “shake” interchangeably, and it’s not appropriate.
In simple terms, a shake is wood that has been split (it used to be done by hand, now often done by machine), whereas a shingle is sawn. A shingle is usually thinner.
There is only one Code-acceptable shake, and that’s a No. 1 (handsplit) Western red cedar.
However, there are two acceptable kinds of shingle, and depending on whether you’re using a Western (red) cedar or an Eastern (white) cedar, there are two different names for what is essentially the same thing, which doesn’t help clear up confusion:
Eastern (White): B (Clear)
Western (Red): No. 2
For Eastern shingles, C-grade shingles may be used on the lower (first) course of double-course applications, and for Western, a No. 3 grade may be used in the same situation
RE: Earthquake bands in permits issued under NBC 2015
On May 6, 2021, the province adjusted the implementation of the National Building Code for the province of New Brunswick.
From now until the end of the year, building permit applications can be made under either the 2010 or 2015 Codes, after which point, NBC 2015 will fully come into force. (The National Energy Code for Buildings, 2011 edition, is still in force for buildings it applies to, regardless of which edition of Code is chosen.)
Since Feb. 6, 2021, we have required buildings in much of Charlotte County to meet the earthquake provisions of 9.23.13 due to revised seismic data in NBC 2015.
Applications for those areas can now avoid those requirements by requesting construction take place under 2010 Code.
In the interests of fairness, our office will neither require nor enforce the construction of braced wall panels for residential construction permits issued under NBC 2015.
If you have any questions, please call our office at (506) 466-7369.
On Feb. 1, the Province adopted the National Building Code, 2015 edition. Our office will do as much as it can to help contractors, homeowners and others make a transition to the new Code.
There are also new provincial building regulations. Most notably, any structures that are more than 20 m2 (215 ft2), and all structures used for accommodation, regardless of size (in other words, camps) must now be built to meet Code.
The new provincial building regulations also clearly mandate that a building permit is required when a building's use, or occupancy, changes. In some cases, that's not as clear as one may think.
Here, in summary, are some of the critical changes to the building code:
Part 9 (residential buildings, small commercial buildings, apartments)
Due to changes in the classification of earthquake risks posed by the Oak Bay Fault, (which runs from north of Oak Bay, along the coast towards Campobello) buildings in St. Stephen, Oak Bay, Saint Andrews, Deer Island and parts of Rollingdam, St. David Ridge and Back Bay (areas in red on map at right) must now be constructed to resist earthquake forces. Requirements include:
Decreased spacing of anchor bolts in foundations, and paired anchor bolts at foundation corners (in some cases).
Requirements for more nails and blocking in some sections of stick-built houses.
Requirements, in some situations, for increased interior wall supports.
increased structural demands, and storey limits for buildings using these materials Limits on the use of heavy roofing materials and cladding (ie: terrazzo/clay roofs, brick.)
What this means:
Contractors will have to identify the braced wall bands and braced wall panels in areas deemed an earthquake risk. It is our hope to have some information on our website shortly, but in the meantime, this illustrated guide from B.C. touches on all the key points (BC’s building code in this regard is largely identical to NBC 2015.)
Throughout what is essentially Charlotte County, (area shaded yellow in map shown here) all above-ground Insulated Concrete Form structures must have reinforcing designed/approved by an engineer qualified to work in the Province of New Brunswick. Several suppliers already have engineer-approved reinforcing regimes that our office can and will accept. This does not apply to ICF foundation systems.
What this means:
Any above-ground ICF building in either the yellow or red parts of the map will have to be designed by an engineer. Some of the ICF manufacturers can provide engineer-certified reinforcing methods for use.
Apartments and sound
Slightly more rigorous requirements for sound transmission when residential units abut other uses (ie: duplexes, apartments over stores, etc.)
Increased snow loads
Climate data has changed for three reference communities (St. Stephen, St. George, Saint Andrews) in the Charlotte County part of our area, increasing predicted snowloads.What this means: The increase (about 10 pounds per square foot) should be automatically accounted for by truss manufacturers. There is likely very little change for building with rafters in most circumstances, as the defined snow loads required us to round up to the same table as we will use under NBC 2015. Requirements for York County will not change.
Spiral staircases are permitted.
Minimum run of a stair is now 25.5 cm (10 inches). (Was 8.5 under NBC 2010). This means contractors will have to pay close attention when planning stair configurations. Our office may, for some time, require a detailed plan for stairs until builders are familiar with the new requirements.
Handrail height limits relaxed – now 86.5 cm to 107 cm (34-42”)
Handrails must now be continuous through a flight, including through a landing. Can start at a newel post, but cannot be interrupted by one mid-flight.
Landing dimensions simplified: for the most part, must have the same length and depth as the width of the stairs they serve.
The restriction on guards facilitating climbing has been relaxed. This allows for more design options for guards with a height less than 4.2 metres.
Exits subject to being blocked by cars or other obstacles shall have either a sign, or physical barriers (bollards) to ensure suitable clearance and pathways. (Not applicable to residential builds.)
Expanded list of materials accepted for protecting foamed plastic insulation.
Changes to Part 3
As most part 3 buildings (buildings > 600m2 in area, schools, restaurants, care homes, buildings >3 storeys, etc.) require a professional designer to provide code-compliant plans, the following is only a point-form summary of some of the changes to Part 3 in NBC 2015:
4-6 storey wood-frame C and D occupancies (residential, office) now allowed
Spiral staircases allowed
Expanded list of acceptable coverings of foamed plastic insulation
Allowance of foamed plastic insulation in certain kinds of non-combustible buildings, esp. when used in coolers
Relaxed requirement for fire stops on some kinds of penetrations of fire separations (electrical outlets in particular.)
Modifications to rules for fire-dampers in ducts
Tweaks to rules for hold-open devices on doors
Modifications to handrail requirements for seats in aisles (theatres, rinks)
Requirement of minimum distances between exit stairs added
Introduced increased requirements for front door exits to dance halls, establishments serving alcohol
Handrails must be continuously graspable through a flight of stairs
Introduced rules for use of electromagnetic door locks
New section introduced to regulate self-storage buildings
Also; in conjunction with the changes to NBC, the province introduced modifications to the barrier-free regulation that guides construction to ensure access to persons with mobility or visual challenges.
Further, the province has adopted the National Energy Code, which would provide more prescriptive requirements for energy-efficiency in Part 3 buildings.