Yukon to adopt National Building Code… equipped with Yukon standards
January 9, 2015 - The Yukon government has accepted recommendations made by an advisory committee for the application of new, national energy efficiency standards in the territory.
By Anthony Capkun
“We believe that any building standards adopted in Yukon must be relevant and appropriate for the types of construction Yukoners may choose to build,” said Brad Cathers, minister of community services.
The Yukon government says log-home builders, home construction contractors and other stakeholders were invited last fall to sit on the advisory committee, review each part of Section 9.36 of the National Building Code and provide recommendations.
Committee members sought feedback from their respective building communities. Members also considered public comments and spoke with energy efficiency code development experts in other Canadian jurisdictions.
The committee recommended that Section 9.36 be adopted for Yukon as an energy efficiency standard with specific modifications, including provisions that:
• support log home construction;
• ensure buildings that are unheated or only occasionally heated are exempt from Section 9.36; and
• set a minimum ceiling insulation standard of R40.
More consultation will be sought on two recommendations regarding the proposed inclusion of commercial buildings, and whether standards should change depending on the size of the building (e.g. when renovations are made to enlarge a home).
“Until recommendations are legislated as regulations, current exemption from compliance with the new energy efficiency standards in Section 9.36 of the National Building Code will continue,” Cathers noted. “This does not affect City of Whitehorse building standards, which are established by municipal bylaw.”
Advisory committee recommendations regarding National Building Code Section 9.36
• That all of Section 9.36 be included in Yukon law as building standards, with the option of recommending specific additional standards.
• The committee recommends the following specific additional standards:
1. That changes to Section 9.36 be made to:
a. eliminate the requirement to insulate crawlspace floors.
b. require R40 nominal insulation values for all ceiling types/assemblies.
2. That an independent and knowledgeable body be contracted to review the recommendations and assist in the crafting of recommendations into regulations.
3. That buildings under 480 sf of living area to be exempt from Section 9.36.
4. That solid wood wall structures (e.g. log walls) must meet the following minimum standards:
a. machined timber must have a minimum nominal 8-in. thickness;
b. natural and machined round-logs must have an average 10-in. minimum diameter; and
c. both framed walls and components of a solid wood wall home must comply with Section 9.36.
5. Buildings that are not required to be conditioned—or only required to be conditioned on an occasional basis—be exempt from Section 9.36.
6. That an easy-to-read code primer, similar to the document produced by the province of British Columbia, be adopted.
7. That it be ensured contractors and the general public are made aware that the Building Standards Appeal board exists and that anyone can access this board. The mandate of the board is: “Any person aggrieved by the denial or cancellation of a permit, or by an interpretation of the building code by a public officer or municipal official, may appeal that decision to the board”.
8. That the Government of Yukon adopt the National Energy Code for all buildings (e.g. commercial buildings).
9. That the Government of Yukon inform the public that the standards in an amended Section 9.36 only reflect minimum standards. Further, the public be informed by the Yukon government that all Yukoners are free to invest in energy efficiency beyond these standards.
10. That Yukon should consider a long-term review of the incremental standards that would require a higher standard of energy efficiency for larger structures, reflecting the reality that a larger building will have a greater impact on the environment.