Consideration of water use efficiency objective for National Building and Plumbing Codes moves ahead

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) is moving forward with the proposal to add a water use efficiency objective to the 2015 National Building and Plumbing Codes of Canada. The consultant report, reviewed and endorsed by the CCBFC Executive Committee in October, concluded that building regulation is a suitable vehicle for addressing water use efficiency.

A highlight of the report concerns the challenge of addressing various water use efficiency issues. Implementing requirements for low-flow toilets and fixtures was considered straightforward and without significant repercussion; addressing more complex issues such as grey water, black water and rainwater harvesting, however, could significantly affect health if not handled properly. These concerns reinforced the case for developing a hierarchy of objectives, with health and safety considerations taking precedence. The CCBFC is currently reviewing the matter.

A joint task group of the CCBFC and the Provincial/Territorial Policy Advisory Committee on Codes has been struck to determine the extent to which the water use efficiency issue will be addressed by the two model codes in question. It will also decide how the proposed objective itself, and the associated functional statements, should be worded.

This work, to be completed by the end of December 2011, will pave the way for development of technical requirements to start in January, led by the CCBFC’s Standing Committee on Building and Plumbing Services. The goal is to submit the objective, functional statements and technical requirements for public review in fall 2013, leading to implementation in the 2015 Codes.


Contact Cathy Taraschuk at or 613-993-0049.