By Lyonel Doherty

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If you’re constructing a new home in the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), there are building code changes you need to be aware of.

Building Supervisor Kenley Barros is reminding people about amendments to the BC Building Code that took effect May 1. He said all new homes are now required to meet Step 3 of the BC Energy Code.

This means that most new construction in B.C. must be 20 per cent more energy efficient than what was outlined in the 2018 BC Building Code.

To comply, builders must conduct on-site testing to demonstrate that their design and construction meet the new requirements.

The supervisor pointed out the RDEK adopted these step code changes early by offering incentives to builders to meet the targets. “Many of these practices have already been implemented [now].”

Barros told the Pioneer that the province’s step code “looks at the whole building” as far as energy efficiency goes. For example, what side the windows are on as it relates to heating.

New builds will now have to conduct energy modeling at the design phase, test air tightness at completion, and quantify mechanical efficiency and heating needs.

Under new target deadlines, the province expects a 40 per cent improvement in energy efficiency in all new construction by 2027, and has set a goal of up to 80 per cent in 2032 (under Step 4 and 5).

Pardon the pun, but Barros said they don’t want anyone “falling through the cracks.”

He noted the great benefits of having an energy-efficient home include lower heating and cooling bills, less energy use, and fewer emissions.

For more information about the new requirements, visit the RDEK website at and search for BC Energy Step Code. You can also go directly to