The implementation of the 2014 Vancouver Building Bylaw will soon be upon us!  As of July 1st, all buildings submitted for permit to the City of Vancouver will be subject to this new bylaw*.   There are significant advances in building energy requirements that will help Vancouver achieve its goal of being the word’s greenest city by 2020.  We have spent the last few days here in the office familiarizing ourselves with the revisions and new additions and we’re happy to announce that we’ve updated our assemblies to meet or exceed the new requirements set out by the City of Vancouver.

 One of the most notable changes is to the minimum roof and wall insulation values for one and two family dwellings.  Insulation for attic spaces has increased to R50 (8.8RSI).  The values for a stud frame wall and foundation wall have remained at R22 (3.85 RSI) but the key word added is that these R values must be the effective value.  This means that the whole wall assembly must be a minimum of R22 (3.85 RSI) even after taking into consideration areas of the wall cavity with lower insulation properties (ex. at the studs).  In other words, R22 insulation in a stud wall is no longer sufficient to meet code.  Our strategy for dealing with these upgrades is to implement assemblies that are similar to those used in Passive House projects.  This is where our knowledge and working experience of Passive House and extensive building envelope detailing has put us ahead of the learning curve.   Some examples of changes to the building envelope  that we will be incorporating include using plywood sheathing as an air + vapour barrier (for extra performance tightness), having an installation wall on the interior (so that building services such as plumbing and electrical do not puncture air + vapour barriers) and installing insulation on the outside face of sheathing (for reduced heat transfer).

 Other changes being implemented by the City go beyond upgrading energy efficiency requirements.  Check back next week for another blog post on bylaw upgrades related to accessibility.

* The VBBL 2014 has not yet been officially released.  Bylaws change, are open to interpretation, and are influenced by project and site specific scenarios.  We hope to shed some light on some aspects of the code / bylaw, however the information we provide should only be considered as a starting point for your research.  In all cases, the Vancouver Building Bylaw ( shall prevail.  And as always, hire an architect like One SEED, or code consultant, to assist with code analysis.

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