BC Step Code lauded as money maker
April 12, 2019
The B.C. government, energy design firms and educators are promoting the BC Step Code—claiming the new building standards it will bring to the market will create jobs and opportunities.
Proponents are projecting the Step Code, introduced two years ago and still being stepped out, could result in 1,700 new jobs in manufacturing and construction and an astounding $3.3 billion in new market opportunities through to 2032.
The Vancouver Economic Commission even forecasts that it could spur exports of B.C.-developed green products and systems to the U.S. and across the Pacific Region.
New courses are being offered to train home builders and contractors about the Step Code.
This Code has five tiers—or steps—for residential construction ranging from energy standards similar to the National Building Code to standards that meet Passive House requirements. Each tier is structured around energy programs: EnerGuide 80, for example, is Step 2; Energy Star, Step 3; R-2000, Step 4; and Net Zero Energy or Passive House, Step 5.
A hard sell on the Code may be needed because in addition to a higher level of complexity on new home construction, the Code adds extra construction costs to the most expensive housing market in Canada.
A 2017 costing study commissioned by the provincial government suggests that building a 2,600 square foot house to meet Passive House standards (Step 5) would cost about $20,000; to meet Step 3 would cost an estimated $7,500.