12 Days of the NBC – Manitoba Code Changes

Dec 4, 2023 | Canada

Season’s Greetings!

As we joyfully anticipate the arrival of the NBC 2020 with MB amendments in Manitoba on January 1st, 2024. We couldn’t resist turning the page on the new code without a touch of festive flair! What better way to ring in the new year than by unwrapping 12 code changes that include the ghosts of Building Codes past, present and future?

The NBC 2015 had over 360 technical changes while the NBC 2020 has over 280 technical changes. We chose 12 code changes to share as a quick reminder of what’s to come.

Code Update 1 – Introduction to Group C, residential and D, business and personal services six storey combustible construction buildings

What better present to find under the Christmas tree than a brand-new shiny building classification; two new classifications to be exact! Group C Residential and Group D Business and Personal Services buildings will now be permitted to be constructed up to 6 storeys using combustible construction. No need for an alternative solution.

Make sure to review the new construction requirements that have been neatly wrapped up in NBC 2020 for Group C and for Group D. It’s the perfect bedtime story for architects who dream of sugarplum blueprints.

Code Update 2 – Introduction to EMTC

Get ready to ho-ho-hold your blueprints tight because the NBC 2020 has given the gift of up to 12 storeys of Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction (EMTC)!

Now, don’t go dashing through the snow just yet. Make sure to consult NBC 2020 Articles for Group C buildings, for Group D buildings, and Subsection 3.1.6. to allow for the most code-compliant visions of EMTC to dance in your head.

Code Update 3 – Introduction to Combination Fire and Smoke Dampers

Transformer toys might have been all the rage as Christmas gifts in the 90’s but in 2024, the NBC 2020 transforms the requirements to require combination fire and smoke dampers—because nothing says “Happy Holidays” like the option for a new means of compartmental fire protection!

NBC 2020 has taken center stage when it comes to the new fire and smoke damper requirements. Fire and smoke, two peas in a pod, or should we say, two elves on a shelf? Either way, they’re now required in combination, in the most festive of damper construction.

Code Update 4 – Update to Exceptions to Special Protection and Sprinklers

Gather ’round architects, designers, and contractors, for we’ve got news hotter than chestnuts roasting on an open fire! The new updates to the 2020 National Building Code are not only decking the halls with festive spirit but they’re also decking escalators and inclined moving walks with closely spaced sprinklers!

The NBC 2020 has sprinkled some holiday magic on the exceptions to special protection in NBC Closely spaced sprinklers installed in combination with draft stops will now permit limited openings in floor areas without having to deal with the wrath of the grinch known as the interconnected floor space Articles to Not only will this jolly twist apply to NBC 2020 but to the sprinkler requirements in, as well!

 Code Update 5 – Introduction to Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems Testing

Hold on to your Santa hats, builders and architects, because the NBC 2020 is bringing a code change that’s more festive than a gingerbread house competition! Drumroll, please… introducing the all-new requirement for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems Testing!

And just like Santa checking his list twice, NBC 2020 wants to make doubly sure your buildings are code-compliant in accordance with CAN/ULC-S1001!

Code Update 6 – Updates to Guard Requirements

Your halls might be decked with boughs of holly but make sure your occupied roof, raised platforms, ramps, and floor openings are decked with proper guardrails, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!

NBC 2020 is the star on top of our construction tree when it comes to the new guardrail requirements. But just like Santa’s list, be sure to check it not once, but twice to ensure you are constructing your guards to the proper heights, dimensions, and spacing requirements. After all we don’t want Santa, or anyone else for that matter, to fall off any surfaces that require a guardrail.

Code Update 7 – Introduction to Safety Glazing

The NBC 2020 comes bearing a sparkling gift for our beloved code enthusiasts—welcome to the world of Safety Glazing requirements for assembly occupancies! Make sure to check out NBC for the shiny new standard CAN/CGSB-12.1, “Safety Glazing”. This standard will keep your champagne corks from popping through glazed door or window panels at your New Year’s eve gathering.

Code Update 8 – Update To Minimum Door Width And Handrail Height

Knock knock! Who’s there? Is it a band of merry carolers? Even better, it’s brand-new door width and handrail requirements in NBC and, respectively! The minimum door width is getting an upgrade from 800 mm to a roomy 850 mm. Wider doors will not only allow for a more accessible space but will now provide a VIP carol-viewing experience and up the festive cheer!

Don’t forget to ho-ho-hold onto your handrails because they’re reaching new heights! The handrail height requirement is on the rise, soaring to majestic levels between 865 mm and 1070 mm. After all, you’ll want to make sure you’re dashing through the snow, and not tumbling down the stairs!

Code Update 9 – Allowance For Industrial Occupancy Washroom Count

In the spirit of the season, NBC 2020 is introducing a festive new way to calculate required washrooms fixtures for industrial occupancies. Making washroom calculations as simple as sleigh bells jingling. The washroom count can now be calculated based on the designated staff numbers rather than square footage. It’s a code change that says, “Let’s make washroom math as breezy as a winter’s day!”

So, if your industrial floor area experiences intermittent occupancy or sees a constant flow of transient occupants, the NBC 2020 is granting you the holiday gift of more washroom flexibility.

Code Update  10 – Update to Barrier-free Path of Travel and Universal Washroom Requirements

‘Tis the season for laughter and code amendments! The NBC 2020 is here to sprinkle some holiday cheer with a merry update to barrier-free paths of travel, noted in clause!

In buildings that are no taller than two stories or those that boast spacious 2-storey suites, the NBC 2020 has decided to give a pass to floor levels above or below the entrance level. However, if the floor level is equipped with an elevator, a platform that elevates passengers, an escalator, or a moving walk, make sure to put it on Santa’s “nice” list by extending the barrier-free path through the rest of the floor area.

But wait, there’s more! If that upper or lower level is a sprawling 600 m² or more, contains essential facilities for the main entrance, or contains an assembly occupancy larger than 100 m², it’s back on the barrier-free path, leading us through a winter wonderland of accessible design.

Now, hold on to your hard hats, Manitobans! The NBC 2020 is changing our lingo with the new year. Say goodbye to “universal toilet room” (UTR) and embrace the harmonious sounds of “universal washroom”! It’s not just a name change; it’s a linguistic sleigh ride into the future.

NBC 2020 has all the details on universal washrooms, complete with a jolly addition: the adult-sized change table. Because every building, like every holiday gathering, should be inviting and accessible for all!

Code Update 11 – Intro to Self-Service Storage Buildings

Unwrapping this gift is like finding that exciting second last present under the tree. A festive surprise that made its debut in the NBC 2015. NBC 2020 Section 3.9. now notes requirements on self-storage buildings! Previously, we juggled the requirements for these storage spaces like trying to fit all the holiday leftovers into the fridge. But fear not, for no more alternative solutions are needed to allow for these types of buildings!

So, polish those pens with holiday cheer, and don those hard hats with a festive flair as the NBC 2020’s self-service storage requirements are the icing on the gingerbread house.

Code Update 12 – List of MB amendment references related to definitions and Part 3 fire and life safety

On the twelfth day of code changes, Manitoba gave to me… the grand finale, the pièce de resistance – the MB amendments.

Here is a link to the currently available MB amendments Regulation 78/2023.

Below is a list of a few items from the MB amendments that are related to definitions and Part 3 fire and life safety items.

  • Sentence Definitions
  • Sentence Determination of Requirements for a Fire Alarm System
  • Clauses and (f) Fire Detectors
  • Sentence Visible Signals
  • Article Automatic Sprinkler Systems
  • Article Handrails
  • Article Entrances

That’s a wrap on our 12 days of code changes.

We wish you all a safe, warm, and very happy holiday season and a happy New Year!🏗️🎁🌟


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