MUNICIPAL ACT — continued

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 323

[Updated to January 4, 2000]

Part 21 — Building Regulations

Division 1 — Building Code and Other Building Regulations

Provincial building code and regulations

692 (1) The minister may make regulations as follows:

(a) establishing a Provincial building code for British Columbia governing standards for the construction and demolition of buildings;

(b) amending, adding to or varying for the purpose of this section the building code established under this section;

(c) adopting by reference, with the changes the minister considers necessary, all or part of any building code or standards for the construction or demolition of buildings;

(d) regulating building generally for matters not included in the building code;

(e) exempting certain persons, buildings, classes of buildings, materials or areas either generally or for certain periods of time from the building code or regulations, and making other regulations for the persons, buildings, classes of buildings, materials or areas exempted;

(f) providing for the administration of the building code and other regulations under this section.

(2) The building code and other regulations under subsection (1) apply to all municipalities and to regional districts or parts of them not inside a municipality, and has the same force and effect as a validly enacted bylaw of the municipality.

(3) A provision of a municipal bylaw that purports to deal with matters regulated under this section, and that is inconsistent with the code or other regulations, is of no force and effect and is deemed to be repealed.

Building Code Appeal Board

693 (1) The Building Code Appeal Board is continued, consisting of one or more members appointed by the minister.

(2) Each member appointed to the appeal board is to hold office for a term of 3 years or until the member's successor is appointed.

(3) A person may be reappointed for a further term or terms.

(4) A majority of the appeal board is a quorum.

(5) The minister must designate one of the members as chair, and the chair may appoint one of the members as an acting chair to preside in the chair's absence.

(6) If a dispute arises on the interpretation or application of the codes referred to in section 692, a party to the dispute may refer the question to the appeal board for determination.

(7) The appeal board must determine any question of interpretation or application of the codes referred to in section 692.

(8) The decision of the appeal board is final and binding.

Division 2 — Municipal Building Regulations

Municipal building regulations

694 (1) Subject to the Health Act, the Fire Services Act and the regulations under these Acts, a council may, for the health, safety and protection of persons and property, by bylaw, do one or more of the following:

(a) regulate the construction, alteration, repair or demolition of buildings and structures;

(b) regulate the installation, alteration or repair of plumbing including septic tanks and sewer connections, heating, air conditioning, electrical wiring and equipment, gas or oil piping and fittings, appliances and accessories of every kind;

(c) require contractors, owners or other persons to obtain and hold a valid permit from the council, or the authorized official, before starting and during the construction, installation, repair or alteration of gas or oil pipes and fittings, plumbing, heating, sewers, septic tanks, drains, electrical wiring, oil burners, tanks, pumps and similar works and buildings and structures of the kind, description or value described in the bylaw;

(d) require that, before occupancy of a building or part of it after construction, wrecking or alteration, or a change in class of occupancy of a building or part of it, an occupancy permit be obtained from the council or the authorized official;

(e) prescribe conditions generally governing the issue and validity of permits, inspection of works, buildings and structures;

(f) establish areas to be known as fire limits and, for those areas,

(i) regulate the construction of buildings in respect of precautions against fire, and

(ii) discriminate and differentiate between areas in the character of the buildings permitted;

(g) regulate the seating arrangements and capacity of churches, theatres, halls and other places of public amusement or resort;

(h) regulate or prohibit the moving of a building from one property to another in the municipality;

(i) require the fencing of private swimming pools or other pools, existing or prospective, according to specifications set out in the bylaw;

(j) regulate the construction and layout of trailer courts, manufactured home parks and camping grounds and require that those courts, parks and grounds provide facilities specified in the bylaw;

(k) provide that a trailer or manufactured home must not be occupied as a residence or an office unless its construction and facilities meet the standards specified in the bylaw;

(l) require the installation of smoke alarms in existing buildings and structures and, in relation to this, establish standards and specifications for required smoke alarms and their installation, to the extent that the requirements of the bylaw do not exceed those established by the building regulations under section 692;

(m) require the maintenance of smoke alarms installed as required by regulation under section 692 or by bylaw under paragraph (l) and, in relation to this, establish standards for their maintenance;

(n) require the maintenance of "residential premises" and "residential property", as defined in the Residential Tenancy Act, that are subject to a "tenancy agreement" as defined in that Act, in accordance with the standards specified in the bylaw, to the extent that the standards do not exceed those established by the building code for British Columbia established by the minister under section 692.

(2) If requested by an applicant, the building inspector must give written reasons for his or her refusal to issue a building permit.

(3) An occupancy permit under subsection (1) (d) may be withheld until the building or part of it complies with the health and safety requirements of the bylaws or of any statute.

(4) and (5) [Repealed 1999-37-150.]

Requirement for security

694.1 (1) A council or an official authorized by the council may, as a condition of issuing a permit or authorizing the moving of a building under section 694, require a person to provide security by, at the person's option, an irrevocable letter of credit or the deposit of securities in a form satisfactory to the local government, in an amount stated in the permit or authorization.

(2) Interest on security under subsection (1) becomes part of the security.

(3) Security under this section may only be used by the municipality to repair or replace

(a) a highway, including sidewalks and boulevards,

(b) a public work, or

(c) other municipal property

that has been altered or damaged by an activity related to the subject matter of the permit or authorization.

(4) Any amount of security under this section that is not required for a purpose referred to in subsection (3) must be returned to the person who provided the security.

Requirement for certification by engineer or architect

695 A council may, by bylaw, do one or both of the following:

(a) require applicants for building permits, in circumstances as specified in the bylaw that relate to

(i) site conditions,

(ii) the size or complexity of developments, or

(iii) aspects of developments,

to provide the municipality with a certification by a professional engineer or architect that the plans submitted with the application for the permit, or specified aspects of those plans, comply with the then current Provincial building code and other applicable enactments respecting safety;

(b) authorize building inspectors for the municipality to require applicants for building permits to provide the municipality with a certification referred to in paragraph (a) if a building inspector considers that this is warranted by

(i) the site conditions,

(ii) the size or complexity of the development, or

(iii) an aspect of the development to which the permit relates.

Regulating doors and emergency exits

696 (1) Subject to the Fire Services Act and the regulations under that Act, a council may, by bylaw, compel the provision of and regulate the location, number, style and size of doors and emergency exits in churches, theatres, halls or other places of public resort or amusement, and the posting in them of notices of the emergency exits.

(2) A bylaw under subsection (1) must provide that

(a) all doors in churches, theatres, halls and other places of public resort or amusement must be hinged so that they may open freely outwards, and

(b) all gates or outer fences if not hinged as referred to in paragraph (a), must be kept open by proper fastenings during the time the buildings are publicly used to facilitate the exit of people in case of alarm from fire or other cause.

(3) Congregations having corporate powers, trustees holding churches or buildings used for churches, and incumbents and church wardens holding or using churches or buildings used for churches, are severally liable for the acts and omissions of any society or congregation on the matters referred to in subsections (1) and (2).

(4) A person owning or possessing a church, theatre, hall, school or other building used for public meetings, or as a place of public resort or amusement, who contravenes this section or a bylaw adopted under it is liable on conviction to a penalty not greater than $50.

(5) A convicted person is liable on conviction to a further penalty of $5 for every further week during which the violation continues.

(6) A penalty under subsection (4) or (5) is a charge on the real property of the person convicted, and may be imposed, collected and recovered in the manner provided for taxes.

Municipality may adopt national codes

697 (1) To the extent not inconsistent with this Act, either in place of or supplementary to regulations made under this Division, a council may, by bylaw, adopt one or more of the following as regulations:

(a) subject to the Electrical Energy Inspection Act, all or part of the Canadian Electrical Code;

(b) subject to the Gas Safety Act, all or part of the standards of the Canadian Gas Association;

(c) subject to the Fire Services Act, all or part of the National Fire Code of Canada.

(2) A code, standard or part referred to in subsection (1) may be adopted by reference to a particular date of issue or a specified issue of the code or standard.

Division 3 — Specific Municipal Actions

Demolition or repair of unsafe buildings, structures and excavations

698 (1) A council may, by bylaw, authorize

(a) the demolition, removal or bringing up to a standard specified in the bylaw of a building, structure or thing, in whole or in part, that contravenes a bylaw or that the council believes is in an unsafe condition, or

(b) the filling in, covering over or alteration in whole or in part of an excavation that contravenes a bylaw or that the council believes is in an unsafe condition.

(2) At least 30 days before the contemplated action is taken under the bylaw, the council must give written notice of this to the owner, tenant or occupier of the real property affected by the bylaw, either by serving the notice or by sending it by registered mail.

(3) On application, the Supreme Court may order that the notice under subsection (2) may be served by substituted service in accordance with the order.

(4) An appeal lies to the Supreme Court against the contemplated action.

(5) Notice of an appeal must be given to the municipality within 10 days from the date of the notice to the owner, tenant or occupier.

(6) The Supreme Court must hear and finally determine the matter, making the order it believes proper.

(7) An appeal from a decision of the Supreme Court lies to the Court of Appeal with leave of a justice of the Court of Appeal.

Building inspector may require engineering report

699 (1) For the purposes of this section, "construction" means

(a) the new construction of a building or structure, or

(b) the structural alteration of or addition to an existing building or structure,

but does not include the repair of an existing building or structure.

(2) If a building inspector considers that construction would be on land that is subject to or is likely to be subject to flooding, mud flows, debris flows, debris torrents, erosion, land slip, rockfalls, subsidence or avalanche, the building inspector may require the owner of land to provide the building inspector with a report certified by a professional engineer with experience in geotechnical engineering that the land may be used safely for the use intended.

(3) As an exception, subsection (2) does not apply if there are no bylaws under section 694 (1) (a) in effect.

(4) If a professional engineer with experience in geotechnical engineering determines that land may not be used safely for the use intended, a building inspector must refuse to issue a building permit.

(5) A building inspector may issue a building permit in accordance with subsection (6) if a professional engineer with experience in geotechnical engineering determines and certifies that the land may be used safely for the use intended, subject to conditions contained in the engineer's report with respect to

(a) the siting, structural design and maintenance of buildings, structures or works,

(b) the maintenance or planting of vegetation,

(c) the placement and maintenance of land fill, or

(d) other conditions respecting the safe use of the land, buildings, structures or works.

(6) A building permit under subsection (5) must be issued on the condition that

(a) the owner of the land covenants with the municipality or regional district to use the land only in the manner determined and certified by the engineer as enabling the safe use of the land for the use intended,

(b) the covenant contains conditions respecting reimbursement by the covenantor for any expenses that may be incurred by the covenantee as a result of a breach of a covenant under paragraph (a), and

(c) the covenant be registered under section 219 of the Land Title Act.

(7) On application of an owner, a council or board may, by resolution, direct its building inspector to issue a building permit but subject to the condition that a covenant referred to in subsection (6) be entered into and registered.

Note against land title that building regulations contravened

700 (1) In addition to any other action that a building inspector is authorized or permitted to take, a building inspector may recommend to the council that it consider a resolution under subsection (3) if, during the course of carrying out duties, the building inspector

(a) observes a condition, with respect to land or a building or structure, that the inspector considers

(i) results from the contravention of, or is in contravention of, a bylaw or regulation under this Part or under any other enactment relating to the construction or safety of buildings or structures, and

(ii) as a result of that condition, a building or structure is unsafe or is unlikely to be usable for its expected purpose during its normal lifetime, or

(b) discovers that

(i) something was done with respect to a building or structure or the construction of a building or structure that required a permit or an inspection under a bylaw, regulation or enactment referred to in paragraph (a) (i), and

(ii) the permit was not obtained or the inspection not satisfactorily completed.

(2) A recommendation under subsection (1) must be given in writing to the designated municipal officer, who must

(a) notify the registered owner of the land to which the recommendation relates, and

(b) after notice under paragraph (a), place the matter before the council.

(3) After hearing the building inspector and the owner, the council may confirm the recommendations of the building inspector and pass a resolution directing the designated municipal officer to file a notice in the land title office stating that

(a) a resolution relating to that land has been made under this section, and

(b) further information about it may be inspected at the municipal hall.

(4) The designated municipal officer must ensure that all records are available for the purpose of subsection (3) (b).

(5) If the registrar of land titles receives a notice under subsection (3) and payment of the prescribed fee, the registrar must make a note of the filing against the title to the land that is affected by the notice.

(6) The note of a filing of a notice under this section is extinguished when a new title to the land issues in consequence of the deposit of a plan of subdivision or a strata plan.

(7) In the event of any omission, mistake or misfeasance by the registrar or an employee of the registrar in relation to the making of a note of the filing under subsection (5) after the notice is received by the land title office,

(a) the registrar is not liable nor is the Provincial government liable vicariously, and

(b) the assurance fund or the Attorney General as a nominal defendant is not liable under Part 20 of the Land Title Act.

(8) Neither the building inspector nor the municipality is liable for damage of any kind for the doing of anything, or the failure to do anything, under this section or section 701 that would have, but for this subsection, constituted a breach of duty to any person.

(9) This section and section 701 apply to a regional district as though the board was a council and a designated regional district officer was a designated municipal officer.

Cancellation of note against land title

701 (1) On receiving a report from a building inspector that the condition that gave rise to the filing of the notice under section 700 (3) has been rectified, the designated municipal officer must file a cancellation notice and, on receiving the notice, the registrar of land titles must cancel the note against the title to which it relates.

(2) An owner of land with respect to which a notice has been filed under section 700 (3), may apply to the council for a resolution that the note be cancelled.

(3) After hearing an applicant under subsection (2), the council may pass a resolution directing the designated municipal officer to file a cancellation notice.

(4) If a resolution has been passed under subsection (3), the designated municipal officer must file a cancellation notice in the land title office and, on receiving the notice, the registrar of land titles must cancel the note against the title to which it relates.

(5) If the council does not pass a resolution under subsection (3), the owner may apply to the Supreme Court and notify the municipality to attend before the court to show cause why the note should not be cancelled.

(6) On an application under subsection (4), after reviewing any evidence that the owner and the municipality may adduce, the court may make an order directing the registrar to cancel the note made under section 700 (3) and, on receiving the order, the registrar of land titles must cancel the note accordingly.