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Seminars open the window on building code changes

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by Peter Caulfield last update:Oct 10, 2014

Recent changes to the B.C. Building Code and upcoming changes to Vancouver building bylaws, as well as the opportunities and risks they present to builders, are the subjects of three educational sessions at Buildex Vancouver 2014.

Presenter Al Jaugelis, a fenestration specialist with RDH Building Engineering Ltd., said several code changes are having a major impact on the B.C. window and door industry.

“The single biggest change to the 2012 B.C. Building Code, and one that applies to Part 3 (large buildings) and Part 9 (small buildings) of the code, is the introduction of the 2008 North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS-08) that applies to the testing and performance rating of windows, doors and skylights,” he said.

The change introduces a new system for classifying and rating the performance of fenestration products.

“Architects need to learn how to specify performance using the new standard,” Jaugelis said.

“Manufacturers have to retest their product lines to the new rating system, and test many more product configurations than in the past.”

A related change is the requirement to use the Canadian Standards Association A440S1-09 specification to determine performance ratings for windows, doors and skylights based on a building’s location, surrounding terrain and height

“The code also requires exterior side-hinged doors to meet the same structural, water-tightness and air-tightness requirements as windows,” Jaugelis said.

“This is the first code that defines those requirements in an implementable way.”

The change is having a major effect on door pre-hangers and their suppliers, he said, because the doors they were installing last year don’t meet the new requirements without redesign and testing.

The 2014 Vancouver Building Bylaw, which will be published in March is expected to follow the code changes.

“In addition to NAFS and the Canadian supplement to it, the new bylaw is expected to introduce new accessibility requirements to exterior and interior building doors that will impact all low, medium and highrise residential buildings,” he said.

Jaugelis said the changes affect Part 9 builders the most.

“They are confused about what the new performance requirements are, as selecting windows and doors has become more complicated than just reordering from their preferred suppliers,” he said.

Many builders are learning about the changes only at the permit application or plan review stage.

“Building officials are expected to take a more active role in determining local performance requirements and verifying window and door compliance with those requirements on Part Nine buildings,” he said.

With regard to Part 3 buildings, the changes have more of an impact on window and door suppliers.

“A review of recent construction specification documents suggests it will take time for architects and specifiers to adapt to using the new standards,” Jaugelis said.

Murray Frank, owner of building science consultants Constructive Home Solutions Inc., said the changes present a serious challenge for builders if they are not certain that their windows and doors conform to the new standards.

“If they ignore the new standards or if they don’t understand them and make a mistake with doors or windows, they’re going to have to replace them and pay in time and money,” he said.

Monte Paulsen, owner of Red Door Energy Advisors, said he expected changes to Vancouver building bylaws will require houses, duplexes and townhouses to achieve an air-tightness rating of 3.5 air changes per hour at a pressure of 50 Pascals.

Paulsen said the standard is a reasonable one and can be achieved by careful planning.

“Meeting this standard requires that a builder plan the air barrier and vapour barrier at the design stage and then carry out the plan,” he said.

Paulsen said the new standards will benefit building occupants.

“When buyers pay less in utility bills, they can afford to spend more on other things,” he said.

“And that benefits the local economy.”

Jaugelis is presenting What Builders and Architects Need to Know about New Code Requirements for B.C. Windows and Doors at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 19.

He will discuss what builders and architects need to know, and why they need to know it.

Paulsen will present Air Tightness Made Easy: How to Meet The 2014 Vancouver Building By-Laws New Blower Door Requirement on Feb. 19 at 1 p.m.

He said his how-to session will help enable virtually any building to meet the new air tightness standard.

Frank said that his seminar Transitioning to the New B.C. Building Code, <0x000a>will prepare designers, builders and building officials for conforming to code requirements with minimum disruption to their projects.

The seminar takes place on Feb. 20 at 10:30 a.m. at Buildex Vancouver 2014.

last update:Oct 10, 2014

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