The Building chapter of the Construction Code, implemented in the year 2000, aggregates the requirements regarding the construction and alteration of buildings. The Construction Code is aimed at the designers and contractors.
The BCSC complements the construction requirements to ensure the safety of the building’s occupants and users for its entire life. The BCSC is aimed at the owners, tenants, occupants and syndicates of the buildings and facilities coming under it.
The BCSC has been brought into force on March 18, 2013. However, owners had more time to comply with some of the more binding requirements.
It is difficult to assess accurately the costs of complying with these requirements given the disparity of the possible situations of the owners. Furthermore, as per their regulations, certain municipalities could already have required an upgrade of fire detection and alarm systems.
However, the requirements shall involve costs. The owners had 1 to 5 years to comply with these requirements and amortize the costs of the required upgrade.
The requirements are set out to maintain the offered safety at an acceptable level. Very old fire detection and alarm systems may be defective or deactivated, unknowingly to the occupants or the building managers. The upgrade is aimed also at ensuring the audibility of alarm signals.
An advisory committee has established within the Safety Code specific standards for this type of building. All private seniors’ residences (subject to the certification/accreditation from the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux) shall come under the RBQ’s regulation.
The more binding measures concerning these occupancies are aimed at:
There are a few at the present time, but supply shall arise from the demand in this particular case. Some universities offer training programs for the professionals (e.g., Concordia University).
The application will be under the responsibility of the RBQ for the buildings within its jurisdiction. The municipalities that have adopted it, whether in whole or in part, may apply it to all buildings.
The RBQ and the municipalities that have adopted the BCSC work in partnership and use the same tools. Also, the RBQ has integrated in its mission support to the municipalities with regard to the application of any standard which is identical to one contained within the Safety Code.
The RBQ has trained its building inspectors to enforce compliance with the requirements.
Furthermore, in recent years, some awareness promotion work has been carried out with the building owners and managers, and there shall be more to come. Beyond awareness promotion will also be collaboration, as the municipalities, through their fire prevention departments, represent our eyes and our ears. The RBQ continues to follow up both on the complaints and on the inspections.
Also, the professional who is mandated to inspect a building has the obligation of notifying the RBQ of any situation jeopardizing public safety. The citizens are also more aware; more than ever they tend to notice and report situations. A 24-hour toll-free line has been made available to receive calls from the public. For any emergency with regard to safety, please dial 1 800 361-0761, extension 3.