The National Model Codes are continuously evolving to accommodate new technologies, materials, construction practices, research, and the changing needs of Canadian society.
The development of Codes content is a consensus-based process that relies on volunteers who participate on code development committees and task groups, and input from the construction sector, other interested organizations and the public.
The process for developing and maintaining the Codes
1. Setting strategic direction
The Canadian Table for Harmonized Construction Codes Policy (CTHCCP) establishes the strategic priority areas 1 that become the focus of code development activities for the cycle.
Representatives of the federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions who serve on the CTHCCP select the strategic priorities through a consensus-based process with input from the Canadian Board for Harmonized Construction Codes (CBHCC), which in turn receives input from the Advisory Council for Harmonized Construction Codes.
You can learn more about the CTHCCP’s role in the code development process here.
2. Work planning
After the strategic priority areas have been established for the code cycle, the CBHCC develops a detailed work plan with technical and policy ‘tasks’ for each of the strategic priority areas. The work plan is informed by input collected from code change requests, outstanding tasks carried forward from previous code cycles, and maintenance and other work necessary to maintain the functionality of the Codes. The work plan is reviewed from time to time and may be updated based on available capacity, and in response to new and urgent priorities.
3. Change development
For each of the tasks identified in the work plan and approved by the CBHCC to be worked on, code development committees and their task groups and working groups develop proposed changes for consideration by the CBHCC. Proposed change development includes consideration of code change requests. If a proposed change is complex and requires significant analysis, a task group or working group may be established to study it and make recommendations. In certain cases, in order to augment the capacity, federal, provincial and/or territorial officials may undertake the development of changes for consideration by committees.
In reviewing a proposed change, a code development committee may recommend the proposed change to the CBHCC for consideration, amend its wording, or defer it, pending further development or receipt of more information or research, or recommend the change for CBHCC approval. When a proposed change has implications on multiple code requirements, all relevant committees are consulted.
4. Public review
All proposed changes recommended by code development committees and approved to proceed by the CBHCC are made available for a two-month public review period in both official languages. Public reviews are conducted up to three times per year and are an opportunity for code users, the codes community, and the public to review proposed changes and provide feedback. All public comments are addressed by the responsible code development committees.
You can learn more about public reviews here.
5. Change approval
Following the public review period, code development committees address all public comments and if they deem appropriate, will recommend the proposed changes to the CBHCC for approval.
Once approved by the CBHCC, the changes are published by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in the next revision or edition of the Codes.
1The 2025 code cycle priorities were established by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, the group responsible for national model code development prior to the governance transformation in November 2022.