The National Building Code of Canada

A house under construction

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) was established by the National Research Council (NRC) for the development of the National Model Construction Codes in Canada, which includes the National Building Code (NBC). NRC’s Codes Canada publishes the Codes and delivers technical, research and administrative support to the CCBFC in the development process. Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Office of Energy Efficiency provides technical expertise to the NRC towards the inclusion of energy efficiency requirements in the building code.  

Since the first NBC was produced in 1941, it has undergone significant changes. New editions are published approximately every five years to ensure that the latest innovations and applications in evolving building technologies and techniques are being applied by the construction industry, and that emerging health and safety issues are being addressed. The NBC development process also includes public consultation and commentary periods.

In Canada, provinces and territories have jurisdiction over the construction and design of new housing and buildings. As such, the adoption and enforcement of the National Model Construction Codes is voluntary. A province or territory may choose to adopt the NBC, with or without changes, or publish their own provincial code based on it.

The latest version of the National Building Code of Canada (NBC 2015) is available from the NRC’s Codes Canada.The NBC 2015 sets out technical provisions for the design and construction of new buildings and details the energy efficiency requirements, found in Section 9.36, and the compliance paths available for housing and some small buildings.

In December 2016, First Ministers released the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Among other measures, the Pan-Canadian Framework calls for improving the energy efficiency of new construction through the development and adoption of increasingly stringent model building codes, starting in 2020, with the goal that provinces and territories adopt a ‘net zero energy ready’ building code by 2030. Similarly, federal, provincial and territorial governments will work to develop a model code for existing buildings by 2022, for its subsequent adoption by authorities having jurisdiction. 

To learn more about the national model codes development process, visit

For a list of provinces and that have adopted or adapted the NBC, visit