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Description of the Buildings chapter of the Safety Code

The Buildings chapter of the Safety Code came into force on March 18, 2013. It improved many regulatory provisions that no longer met building safety requirements.

Your responsibility

You are responsible for the safety of the persons who occupy your building, or who are coming and going around it. You must therefore ensure that your building is in compliance with the requirements in effect at the time of its construction. Furthermore, it is possible that you may have to carry out work in order to comply with the new requirements.

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The BCSC in a nutshell

The BCSC features six components:

  1. Standards applicable according to the year of construction and which concern safety, health or the protection of the buildings against fire and structural damages.
  2. Provisions which are more binding than the initial requirements at the time of the construction, for sleeping rooms and health care occupancies, with special requirements set out for private seniors’ residences.
  3. The National Fire Code (NFC) including certain amendments to take into account the distinctiveness of the province of Quebec. The NFC namely specifies the requirements with regard to the maintenance and periodic verification of the various fire protection systems.
  4. Provisions with regard to the inspection and maintenance of the façades of buildings of 5 or more storeys.
  5. Provisions with regard to the inspection and maintenance of multistorey garages.
  6. Provisions with regard to the maintenance of water cooling towers.

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Keeping of a register

The results of the periodic inspections, the verification reports as well as the documentation in connection with the maintenance, alterations and repair work on the fire safety systems, façades, water cooling towers and multistorey garages shall be consigned in each building’s register.

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Water cooling tower facilities

Some new requirements with regard to water cooling tower facilities have been added to Section VII of the Buildings chapter of the Safety Code. These new requirements shall become effective as of July 12, 2014.

Please refer to our file on the water cooling tower facilities [FR], which presents, among other topics, the obligations of their owners.

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Buildings and facilities coming under the BCSC

The buildings coming under the BCSC are:

  • Any private seniors’ residence which is subject to the certification of the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux.
  • Residential occupancy (sleeping rooms): multiple unit buildings or buildings held in co-ownership, of more than 2 storeys and comprising more than 8 units; rooming houses of 10 rooms and more; hotels and motels, etc.
  • Assembly occupancies that accommodate 10 persons or more: childcare centers, restaurants, entertainment buildings, schools, etc.
  • Mercantile occupancies whose total floor area exceeds 300 m2
  • Business services occupancies of 3 storeys and more
  • Underground or aboveground multistorey garages with a concrete slab whose driveable portion is not laid directly on the ground
  • Health care occupancies: hospitals, residential and long-term care centers, residential board and care occupancies lodging 10 persons or more, etc.
  • Any building equipped with water cooling towers, for whatever use.

The following facilities intended for public use also come under the BCSC:

  • Certain grandstands, bleachers, terraces, and certain belvederes.
  • Tents or air-supported structures of more than 100 m2 which are used as residential occupancies or care occupancies.
  • Tents or air-supported structures of more than 150 m2 which are used as assembly or mercantile occupancies and accommodate more than 60 persons.

Please refer to the Regulation to improve building safety for more informationThis link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window..

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Technical fact sheets

The Régie du bâtiment du Québec offers you technical fact sheets, which give details on the regulatory provisions that we have just outlined. Do get familiar with these to make sure that you are in compliance with the new Regulation.

Warning! This content has been prepared to enable you to better understand the Regulation to improve building safety. However, only the official textsThis link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window. have legal force in case of dispute. Take further note that your municipality could enact more stringent standards for the buildings located on its own territory. We advise to get informed in this regard.

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