BUILDING CODES

The National Building Code - 2023 Alberta Edition

The National Building Code - 2023 Alberta Edition has officially been published. The implementation date is May 1, 2024. The 2023 Code will include new sections on energy efficiency, including energy tiers, based on the 2020 National Building Code, which was published in March 2022. Following the recommendations of BILD Alberta and the Safety Codes Council, the Government of Alberta has adopted Tier 1 province-wide. A builder, developer or customer may choose to build to a higher tier, but local authorities cannot require or order a builder to construct to a tier higher than Tier 1. 

 There is a transition period to allow industry, municipalities and other authorities the time to prepare for the new code changes. For this code transition period, Municipal Affairs has provided additional flexibility and time for when building projects can continue under the 2019 Code prior to the May 1, 2024 implementation date. The details of the implementation and transition period can be found here

As the 2023 Alberta Building Code has variances from the 2020 National Building Code, it is integral that Alberta builders refer to the 2023 Alberta Building Code for compliance.

The National Building Code - 2023 Alberta Edition can be found here. 

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Tiered Energy Codes

The 2020 National Building and Energy Codes were published in April 2022 and included Tiered Energy Codes as a pathway to Net Zero homes. The goal of the Energy Tiers is to progressively increase the energy efficiency requirements of new homes to be Net Zero Ready by 2030 and Net Zero in the future. For clarity, Tier 1 in the 2020 NBC is close to the existing Code and Tier 5 is intended to be Net Zero.

While Alberta has auto-adopted the Tiered Energy Codes, the Government of Alberta has the discretion to determine which Tier to start at and the timeline to adopt future Tiers. This process is managed by Alberta Municipal Affairs through advice from the Safety Codes Council, BILD Alberta and other stakeholders.  

BILD Alberta's Provincial Residential Technical Committee (PRTC) has created a Tiered Energy Code Roadmap, which provides the costing, barriers and educational requirements associated with each 2020 National Building Code Energy Tiers. 

New National Building, Energy, Plumbing and Fire Codes

The new National Building, Plumbing, Fire and Energy Codes have been published and are available for in electronic format for free through the NRC’s Publications Archive and for purchase, in printed format, from the  NRC's Virtual Store. Previous editions of the codes also remain available through these websites.

Alberta has legislative authority over building design and construction within its jurisdiction, and adopts the National Model Codes into regulation in order for them to come into effect. Under the Safety Codes Act, new codes become provincial law and form the new provincial minimum standard 12 months from the date of code publication.  However, Alberta publishes its own editions of the building and fire codes (through the National Research Council) based on national code provisions, which means the new codes would not become law until 12 months from the date the Alberta code editions are published.

Of note, the new National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB) and energy efficiency for houses and small buildings in the National Building Code includes information related to energy efficiency tiers or levels, which will allow provinces and territories to choose the appropriate tier of energy efficiency requirements with the goal of a net zero ready standard for new homes and buildings by 2030.
BILD Alberta has been working with Alberta Municipal Affairs and the Safety Codes Council (through our membership on the building sub-council) to provide our input on the national code changes for adoption in Alberta over the past several years.  We will continue our engagement with the Safety Codes Council to identify technical/capacity barriers associated with each tier that will need to be addressed.

BILD Alberta with the help of BILD Alberta’s Provincial Residential Technical Committee will continue to assess the energy efficiency code provisions of the 2023 Alberta Building Code. This will continue to form the advice we provide to the Government in their continued approach to the Code and future timing and adoption of the energy tiers.

Builders' Manual

For those who need to know how to build homes in one of the toughest climates on earth, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association Builders’ Manual is the most authoritative guide you will find for building superior energy-efficient housing. And for the first time, this edition addresses Net Zero Housing – homes that produce as much energy as they consume each year. The new 2020 edition offers over 450 pages of concise information and easy-to-follow illustrations.

The concepts, building science, techniques, materials, and building details discussed in this manual are applicable to all houses, no matter their size, energy performance target, or method of construction.

Whether you’re a student or a seasoned builder, there’s always something new to learn.

Tall Wall Guidelines

Changes under the 2019 National Building Code (Alberta Edition) made BILD Alberta’s Tall Wall Guidelines non-compliant with current code. BILD Alberta’s Provincial Residential Technical Committee attempted to have the Tall Wall Guidelines updated but engineering firms were unwilling to certify a new document. More information on this change and potential solutions can be found here.

Free User's Guides

To help ensure that the National Model Codes are properly understood and effectively implemented, the NRC is now offering free electronic access to the related user’s guides, including:

The user’s guides are designed to complement the National Model Codes by providing additional background information, as well as detailed examples and calculations.

NRC has now made the current and previous electronic editions of these publications available for download in PDF format from the NRC Publications Archive.

Renovators' Manual

The new definitive guide for home renovation in Canada

In Canada, the renovation sector creates great jobs and employs even more people than the new home building sector. Annually, Canadians invest more in renovation and repair of their homes than is invested in building new homes. Approximately 90% of Canadians have said they want to live in their homes as long as they possibly can. There are many opportunities in the renovation industry.

Home renovation starts with a building that may be decades old, sometimes with hidden problems from the wear and tear of time, weather, older materials and more. Renovators need to understand and apply building science to every project they undertake. Created as a companion text for the Builders' Manual, this first edition of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association Renovators’ Manual takes a deep dive into applying building science to renovating for a wide variety of circumstances. Knowledge is a key element of any successful renovation and this manual delivers.

Energy Efficiency Resources