2020 National Model Construction Code Adoption in Manitoba

Effective January 1, 2024, Manitoba will be adopting and enforcing the 2020 editions of the national model building, plumbing, energy and fire codes published by the National Research Council (NRC).

Permitting and inspections authorities responsible for adopting and enforcing the Manitoba Building Code, Manitoba Plumbing Code and Manitoba Energy Code for Buildings will be required to approve building and plumbing permits based on the 2020 national model codes starting January 1, 2024. Inspections based on permits approved before January 1, 2024 must ensure compliance with approved plans based on the previous codes.

Manitoba’s construction codes are adopted with Manitoba specific amendments by regulation and are available on the Manitoba Laws website:

The Manitoba Building Code regulation:
M.R. 78/2023, Manitoba Building Code (gov.mb.ca)
The Manitoba Plumbing Code regulation:
M.R. 80/2023, Manitoba Plumbing Code (gov.mb.ca)
The Manitoba Energy Code for Buildings regulation:
M.R. 79/2023, Manitoba Energy Code for Buildings (gov.mb.ca)
The Manitoba Fire Code regulation
M.R. 82/2023, Manitoba Fire Code (gov.mb.ca)

In accordance with Manitoba’s commitments under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), code users will notice a reduction in Manitoba-specific amendments to the national model codes. In coordination with CFTA partners, the national model codes are now freely available online through the NRC’s website:
Codes Canada publications - National Research Council Canada

Significant updates affecting Manitoba’s codes include:

1) Accessibility requirements: The 2020 National Building Code contains significant updates to address accessibility for buildings that accommodate a range of mobility devices and ageing in place. The changes also harmonize requirements with the CSA B651, Accessible Design for the Built Environment standard. Manitoba continues to have expanded provisions for visible signal devices and requirements for handrails on both sides of stairs as well as ramps.

2) Requirements for farm buildings: The 2020 National Building Code includes the first major update for large farm buildings since 1995 and allows for larger farm buildings to be built without compromising the safety of occupants. Several Manitoba Building Code amendments are being carried over until later editions of the National Building Code are adopted to allow industry time to adjust, including:

  • exclusions for covering foamed plastic insulation in potato storage areas;
  • provisions for perimeter exiting in most buildings; and
  • exclusions for emergency lighting in areas of poultry production.

Small farm buildings (under 600 square metres and three storeys in height) continue to be unregulated under the Manitoba Building Code.

The 2020 National Fire Code introduces maintenance requirements for large farm buildings requiring the inspection of mechanical and electrical installations by a qualified person as well as minimal requirements for all farm buildings, regardless of size, to address signage, ventilation and storage for specified hazardous materials and situations. For more information on new building and fire code requirements for farm buildings, please reference this Farm Buildings FAQ FARM BUILDINGS FAQ DOWNLOAD LINK. Please contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner for questions specific to fire code requirements Office of the Fire Commissioner | Administration | Contact Us (gov.mb.ca).

3) Requirements for residential care facilities: The 2020 national building code and national fire code contain a “home-type care occupancy” which replaces Manitoba’s “residential care occupancy” classification.

  • Building Code: The national building code adds requirements for unsprinklered home-type care occupancies with four or less residents receiving care. Manitoba is carrying over existing building code provisions for conversions of houses into small unsprinklered home-type care occupancies, so long as they are in detached housing.
  • Fire Code: Requirements for existing facilities are unchanged. The Manitoba Fire Code includes an update to allow Indigenous governing bodies responsible for off-federal reserve housing to exclude small facilities from sprinklering requirements through use of a risk assessment, as is currently permitted for provincially licensed facilities, to parallel recent changes to federal legislation as well as Manitoba’s Child and Family Services Act. Please contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner for questions specific to fire code requirements Office of the Fire Commissioner | Administration | Contact Us (gov.mb.ca).

4) Energy efficiency tiers: The 2020 editions of the codes allow provincial and territorial regulators to select energy efficiency tiers for housing and small buildings under the National Building Code, with five tiers to choose from, and large or complex buildings under the National Energy Code for Buildings, with four tiers to choose from. The highest tiers for either code means a building realizes at least a 60 per cent reduction in energy consumption over the baseline Tier 1 and is a step towards Canada developing net-zero emissions codes by 2050, when new buildings will be powered entirely from non-emitting sources.

Manitoba is initially adopting the baseline Tier 1, for the building and energy codes and is working with the federal government to develop a roadmap and to build capacity in Manitoba for higher tier adoption in the future. Tier 1 represents approximately a 20 per cent energy efficiency improvement over the previous Manitoba requirements for large and complex buildings. While Tier 1 for housing and small buildings under the 2020 National Building Code remains comparable to the previously adopted 2010 edition, Manitoba will continue to have additional requirements for heat-recovery ventilation in residential applications on top of the national requirements, while working towards adopting higher tiers.

Additional Resources:
Accessibility Requirement Updates
Energy Efficiency Tier Adoption
Farm Building Requirement Updates
Manitoba Plumbing Code Updates
Home-type Care Updates

For a more comprehensive summary of key technical changes in the 2020 national model construction codes, please visit the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes website here: Significant technical changes – 2020 National Model Codes (ccbfc-cccbpi.ca)

For enquiries on the updated Manitoba building, plumbing and energy codes, please contact the Building Codes Section of Inspection and Technical Services: Province of Manitoba | Labour | Labour and Immigration | Building Codes (gov.mb.ca)

For fire code enquiries please contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner: Office of the Fire Commissioner | Administration | Contact Us (gov.mb.ca)