New updates to the BC Building Code allow secondary suites in duplexes, townhouses, and detached row houses throughout the province.

The updates also remove maximum size restrictions for secondary suites from the building code.

For years the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has advocated for more affordable missing middle housing, which includes secondary suites in ground-oriented, side-by-side multi-family developments, and welcomes the province removing barriers to this form of rental housing.

New regulations for secondary suites will require fire separations between residences to improve safety.

The provincial code doesn’t set a minimum size, which means local governments may set their own restrictions for secondary suites.

The building code changes apply to building permit applications on or after Dec. 12, 2019.

No secondary suites in apartments

The code updates don’t apply to apartment-style buildings where units are above or below each other.

BC Building Code free

A free online version of the BC Building Code is available here.

Did you know?

  • The BC Building Code establishes minimum requirements for health, safety, accessibility, fire and structural protection, and energy and water efficiency.
  • The code applies to building construction and renovation throughout BC, except for some federal lands and the City of Vancouver (the city has its own building bylaw).