Precautionary principles?

Earlier, we reported the provincial government had quietly announced the strengthening of seismic safety provisions for five and six-storey wood-frame buildings. A notification about that change has now been distributed to members of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, clarifying those changes were made as a result of "recent analyses by structural engineers in B.C." The government is still awaiting the results of a seismic shake table test, scheduled to take place in Japan between June and July, that will increase the "limited understanding" of how such buildings will react in an earthquake. The following is a complete copy of that notification and the government's initial announcement.

BC Building Code Changes for Mid-rise Wood Frame Residential Construction

Dear APEGBC Member,

We are forwarding the following information on behalf of the BC Building and Safety Policy Branch regarding changes to the BC Building Code.


Greetings: Changes to the BC Building Code are effective on Monday, April 6, 2009, allowing mid-rise wood frame residential construction up to six storeys. These code provisions were developed with input from leading experts and stakeholders from the residential building industry.

Recent analyses by structural engineers in B.C. have led to an additional amendment to the seismic design requirements. This amendment also came into effect on April 6, 2009.

More information, including the new BC Building Code provisions, is available online at

Jeff Vasey
Executive Director
Building and Safety Policy Branch
Ministry of Housing and Social Development


----- Original Message -----
From: "BC Codes LCS:EX"
Sent: Tuesday, April 07
Subject: BC Codes Information Update - New Mid-Rise Wood-Frame Provision -
April 3, 2009

Please note a new seismic safety provision has been added as a result of
ongoing research and analysis. The new provision has been attached as a
printable PDF for you to print and add to your existing binders, this
document has also been added to our BC Codes Errata and Revisions page.


For those customers with online versions of the BC Codes this update will be
uploaded automatically once we have completed the consolidation.
Our target is to have this content posted by April 8th.

For CD customers, make sure that you connect your computer to the internet
on or after April 8th and the upload will automatically install for you.

As always we appreciate your business and we look forward to serving you in
the future.

BC Codes Customer Service
Procurement and Supply Services

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