Workplace Codes and Standards

Codes and Standards

Technology professionals working in Canada need to make regular reference to codes and standards relevant to their area of practice.  This helps ensure that the work they do meets recognized guidelines and criteria for practice and safety.

Codes and standards may be issued at the national, provincial and municipal. For example, there is a National Building Code to guide the construction of  buildings but there is also a BC Building Code that reflects the conditions and building construction methods found in British Columbia.  Similarly, there is National Plumbing Code and a BC Plumbing Code and National Fire Code and BC Fire Code.

Because of their universal application, some standards and codes apply at the national level. Examples include the Canadian Electrical Code and the Structural Steel Design Code.

Most standards and codes are available online for purchase or subscription, often at significant cost. Sources include the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the National Research Council as well as libraries and through courses offered by a variety of providers.  Employers typically have all the relevant codes and standards available in the workplace for their employees.

At the local level, municipalities enact bylaws under the authority of the BC provincial  government.  These are local laws that help regulate the functioning of the municipality, in particular how land within the municipality is zoned for various purposes.

By way of example, here is a selection of codes and standards that apply to the Building discipline in the Vancouver area of British Columbia:

  • BC Building Code
  • Vancouver Building Bylaw
  • ASHREA standards (mainly 90.1)
  • Model National Energy Code of Canada
  • North American Fenestration Standards
  • Roofing Contractors Association of BC – Roofing Practices Manual
  • BC Energy Efficiency Act
  • Canada Green Building Council – LEED rating system
  • Wood Design Manual
  • Handbook of Steel
  • Concrete Design handbook

Here is another example for the Electrical discipline:

  • Canadian Electrical Code
  • For greater depth of knowledge, CSA Standards C22.3 No 1-10 overhead and C22.3 No 7-10 underground through self-learning
  • CSA standard Z462: Workplace electrical safety
  • Reference to other CSA standards  concerning specific equipment and activities as needed
  • WorkSafeBC Parts 10 & 19 relating to electrical work

Within the Electrical discipline, an individual working in the oil and gas sector might need to be familiar with a range of additional standards, such as:

  • American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 505, Recommended Practice for Classification of Locations for Electrical Installations at Petroleum Facilities Classified as Class I, Zone 0, Zone 1, and Zone 2
  • The National Fire Protection Association, NFPA 496 Standard for Purged and Pressurized Enclosures for Electrical Equipment International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) International Standard 60079-11, Electrical apparatus for explosive gas atmospheres – Part 11: Intrinsic safety “i” and ANSI/ISA-60079-15 Electrical Apparatus for Use in Class I, Zone 2 Hazardous (Classified) Locations – Type of Protection “n” For working with Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), NFPA 59A – Standard for the Production, Storage, and Handling of Liquefied Natural Gas

Many of these codes and standards can be found online.  Links are not provided here as URLs can and do change frequently.