Building News and Alerts

BC Energy Step Code and Zero Carbon Code Implementation Updates

On October 16, 2023 Council gave the fourth and final reading to Building Bylaw Amendment Bylaw 2023 No. 7224.05.  The intent of the Bylaw is to implement the Provincial Zero Carbon Step Code for both Part 3 and Part 9 Buildings and to advance the BC Energy Step Code for Part 3 Buildings.

  • As of now, all building permit applications for the construction of new buildings that fall within the scope of the Zero Carbon Step Code will need to meet the performance requirements EL-1 (measure only).  
  • As of July 1, 2024, all building permit applications for the construction of new buildings that fall within the scope of the Zero Carbon Step Code will need to meet the performance requirements EL-4.
  • As of January 1, 2026, all building permit applications for the construction of new Part 3 buildings that fall within the scope of the BC Energy Step Code must meet the performance requirements Step 3.

Contact: Dave Stewart, Environmental Planner
Phone: 250-755-4491 

School Site Acquisition Charge Bylaw 

Key Points

  • School Site Acquisition Charges (SSACs) are charges collected by local governments that are transferred to school boards to help them purchase land for new or expanded school sites.
  • The Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School District 68 has adopted Bylaw 2021/22-1 requiring the City of Nanaimo to collect School Site Acquisition Charges for new residential development.

The School Site Acquisition Charge will be collected by the City of Nanaimo at:

  • Subdivision Approval stage for single residential developments;
  • Building Permit issuance for Multi-family residential developments of two units or more or;
  • Building Permit issuance for new construction, additions or renovations to increase the number of dwellings on a parcel.
  • The creation of a secondary suite is not subject to the charges under this bylaw.
  • A school site acquisition charge is not payable when an existing building is demolished and replaced with a new building that contains the same number of, or fewer, self-contained dwelling units than the existing building.
  • The School Site Acquisition Charge will be reduced or waived for eligible developments such as not-for-profit rental housing.

The School District adopted their bylaw on Wednesday, March 23, 2022. As such:

  • Any application submitted before 4:30pm on Friday, May 20, 2022 will have one year of protection from payment of SSACs. New building permit or subdivision applications submitted after that date will be required to pay SSACs.
  • SSACs will be reduced or waived in an amount equivalent to any DCC reduction or waiver.

SSAC Rates are calculated based on density, as per the following:

School Site Acquisition Charge (SSAC) Rates - $ per unit



(<21 units per hectare)

Medium Low


(21 – 50 units per hectare)



(51 – 125 units per hectare)

Medium High


(126 – 200 units per hectare)



(>200 units per hectare)

Bylaw 7338 A Bylaw Authorizing the City of Nanaimo to Establish School Site Acquisition Charges

Contact: Claire Negrin, Manager of Subdivision/Deputy Approving Officer
Phone: 250-755-4429

Electronic submissions to continue 

In the past months during the COVID-19 pandemic, Building Inspections made the switch to an online application process. While the doors to the City have now been re-opened, our process will continue to be electronic. We request in-person contact be limited and encourage that as much business as possible be done through email, phone, or Zoom communications with staff. Moving forward, applications will be accepted in hard copy only by pre-approval under extenuating circumstances for simple applications.

Contact: Darcy Fox, Manager, Building Inspections
Phone: 250-755-4456

Architects Act

The City of Nanaimo wishes to advise there are discrepancies between the Architects Act and the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC) as to when the services of an Architect are required. Historically, the City of Nanaimo has enforced the requirements of the Building Code; however, a recent Supreme Court decision has confirmed the law in British Columbia requires local governments to consider the Architects Act in their building permitting decision making. As such, if you need assistance to determine whether an architect is required on a particular project, please contact the Architectural Institute of British Columbia's (AIBC) Lead Practice Advisor and Regulator Liaison, Maura Gatensby, Architect, AIBC CP, at or 604-305-2699.

Building Inspections: 250-755-4429

New online revision applications

Along with our online application portal, we are pleased to announce the addition of our online revision application portal.  If a revision to your plans is required after your permit has been issued, you can now fill out your application for modifications online and upload your revised drawings at the same time.

Building Inspections: 250-755-4429

Attention Energy Advisors, Modellers, and Consultants

Energy Compliance Reports for Building Permits

The National Research Council has developed a new climate map for Part 9 buildings, the HOT2000 climate map using data averaged from 1997-2017. This new climate map should be used to determine the HDD when completing energy reports. The HOT2000 climate map may change over time as more data becomes available, which means a specified HDD value is no longer appropriate. Energy Advisors will have access to the most up-to-date information through the HOT2000 climate map.

Part 3 Buildings
Energy Modellers for Part 3 buildings should use the Canadian Weather year for Energy Calculation (CWEC) as per the City of Vancouver Energy Modelling Guidelines.

Building Inspections: 250-755-4429 

BC Energy Step Code

The BC Energy Step Code is currently a voluntary standard in the BC Building Code providing an incremental approach to obtaining energy-efficient buildings. Local governments can choose, however, to require or encourage builders to meet one or more steps of the Step Code as an alternative to the BC Building Code's requirements.

Provincial Step Code Goals:

Pathway to 2032:  Part 9 (Homes)

Pathway to 2032: Part 3 (Commercial and Residential)

How many steps are there?

An amendment to the Building Bylaw was adopted during the 2019-OCT-21 Council meeting. The Building Bylaw amendment will phase in the BC Energy Step Code, beginning with Step One (Enhanced Compliance) starting 2020-APR-21.

City of Nanaimo Step Code Implementation Schedule
in the Building Bylaw:


Part 9


Part 3

 Step One
 (Enhanced Compliance)

Perform Energuide or Energy Modeling
to current BCBC requirements
Conform to Part 8 of the NECB 
 Step Two
10% greater than current BCBC requirements
20% to 40% greater than current BCBC requirements
 Step Three
20% greater than current BCBC requirements

Enhanced Compliance means the builder will need to complete energy modeling and energy benchmark assessments for their projects. The builder's energy advisor will use energy modelling software and on-site testing to demonstrate that both their design and the constructed building meet Step Code requirements.

Below are compliance report forms produced by the BC Energy Step Code Council for pre-construction and as-built stages of a project. Your energy advisor will fill out the pre-construction form, which is to be submitted with your building permit application. The as-built form completed by your Energy Advisor will be required prior to occupancy approval. 

For more Information:

Interested in rebates?  Check out cleanBC for available rebates

Questions about the implementation strategy?

Contact: David Stewart, Environmental Planner
Phone: 250-755-4460 Ext 4491

Questions about the Building Bylaw amendment?

Contact: Darcy Fox, Manager, Building Inspections
Phone: 250-755-4456

Permit application processing times

Please be advised that due to current volumes of permit applications received, target application processing times are not being met. Staff continue to work diligently and are processing applications as quickly as possible.  We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but appreciate your patience during this time.

Building Permit Processing Times

Last updated: November 3, 2023

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