New construction requirements are in effect as the City of Cranbrook adopts the BC Energy Step Code. (Bernhart Contracting file)

New construction requirements are in effect as the City of Cranbrook adopts the BC Energy Step Code. (Bernhart Contracting file)

City of Cranbrook adopts BC Energy Stepcode

All new residential and commercial construction in the city will need to meet step one of the code

Now that the City of Cranbrook has agreed to adopt a new bylaw surrounding the BC Energy Step Code, all new residential and commercial construction in the city will need to meet step one of the code, effective immediately.

The bylaw was adopted by Council on February 8, and Cranbrook is joining several other local municipalities to mandate energy efficiency in new construction.

The bylaw amendment will harmonize with required energy modelling and air-tightness testing within the building code for new step one code construction and performance requirements, said the City in a press release. They add that the bylaw also implements a deadline of August 1, 2021 for commercial and residential buildings to meet step two of the code.

“By introducing a requirement for step one now, we will align with most other East Kootenay communities and regional districts that have adopted the step code, which will help to prepare our industry to become comfortable with the new process,” said Tony Luce, Building Inspector and Planning Supervisor with the City. “This will put our builders and suppliers at an advantage ahead of these hard adoption dates anticipated by the BC building code during 2022.”

The BC step code will be mandated province-wide in 2022. The new code requires 20 per cent higher efficiency than the current 2018 step code. The City says that many builders are already achieving step two and three of the code with current building practices.

As the City website points out, it’s up to the builder how they do it, but new builds will now have to conduct energy modelling during the design phase, test air tightness at completion and quantify both mechanical efficiency and heating needs.

“The new standard empowers builders to pursue innovative, creative, cost-effective solutions, and allows them to incorporate leading-edge technologies as they come available,” says the City.

Paul Heywood, Manager of Building and Bylaw services says that builders should be aware that there are time-limited, high-value incentives available from the province and utility companies.

“Adopting [the] step code allows us to support our builders and clients to access those,” Heywood said.

There is also a training program called ‘Building a Legacy’ that, for the past five years, has established East Kootenay builders as some of the most knowledgable in the industry, says the City.

“Many builders across the East Kootenay have successfully embraced the step code’s higher efficiency, more comfortable and durable building standards, and they are already achieving performance much higher than current code requires,” said Heywood.

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