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Building Regulation and Renewable Energy Approvals

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Application of the Building Code Act

The construction, renovation and change of use of buildings are regulated through the Building Code Act, 1992 (BCA).  The Building Code is a regulation under the BCA, and includes detailed technical and administrative standards.  The BCA and the Code are enforced locally, primarily through municipalities.  Municipal building departments review building permit applications, issue permits, inspect buildings under construction, and take enforcement action where contraventions are found.

The GEA amends the BCA to clarify that energy and water conservation are included in the “conservation” purpose of the Building Code. The GEA also amends the BCA to require that the energy conservation provisions of the BCA be reviewed by November 2009, and every five years thereafter, to identify further opportunities for enhancement of energy conservation standards. The GEA further amends the BCA to provide for the establishment of an advisory body – the Building Code Energy Advisory Council – with a mandate to provide the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing with advice concerning energy conservation standards in the Building Code.

The Building Code establishes energy conservation requirements for houses and larger buildings.  The current (2006) edition of the Building Code sets out significantly increased requirements, which are being phased in through December 31, 2011.  The Building Code promotes the use of green technologies and regulates building elements and structures that support the on-site generation of clean renewable energy.   In addressing energy conservation, the Building Code also considers other objectives, including those related to health, safety and structural sufficiency.

Certain renewable energy projects, including solar collectors and wind turbines mounted on buildings and stand alone wind turbines, may be regulated under the BCA. Renewable energy project proponents are encouraged to contact their local municipal building department to determine whether their project is subject to the BCA and requires a building permit.