New construction codes act coming to Saskatchewan

New Act Promotes Building Accessibility And Protects Citizens From Unsafe Renovation And Construction Practices

The Government of Saskatchewan recently passed The Construction Codes Act (Bill 4) in the Legislative Assembly.  The new Act will allow better alignment between construction codes and accessibility standards, including how they are applied to buildings, ensuring people with disabilities can better access and use buildings in Saskatchewan.

The new Construction Codes Act (CCA) repeals and replaces The Uniform Building and Accessibility Standards Act and will come into effect on January 1, 2022, and will continue to oversee how construction standards are developed, adopted and implemented in the province.  The CCA also modernizes the powers and responsibilities for building owners, local authorities, building officials and the construction industry.

"I thank those municipalities and industry stakeholders who provided input into this process resulting in this new legislation," Government Relations Minister Don McMorris said.  "By improving the roles and responsibilities of each group, the new act will allow the Government of Saskatchewan and these groups to protect citizens from unsafe renovations and construction practices, promote building accessibility and ensure consistent application of construction codes across our province."

Key changes in the CCA that will impact stakeholders include:

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  • Local authorities can register an interest on a building title for unresolved building official orders.  This will allow potential purchasers to make an informed decision about a building before buying it.  
  • Local authorities have the choice to develop their own building bylaws or use a default building bylaw to be prescribed in regulation.  
  • Allows for regional co-operation between local authorities to administer and enforce construction standards across multiple jurisdictions.  
  • Local authorities can request the Ministry of Government Relations to assist them during a province-wide or local emergency by appointing officials, issuing building permits and authorizing building renovations as necessary to support the emergency response.  
  • The Minister of Government Relations can make binding interpretations on construction codes to address Saskatchewan-specific concerns.

"Modernization of this legislation should make building code issues easier for industry to navigate," Saskatchewan Construction Association President and CEO Mark Cooper said.  "We applaud the inclusion of a mechanism for appeal where contractors' interpretations differ from other officials, which should drive better results for all stakeholders."

This new legislation also supports the reduction of government red tape, as identified in Saskatchewan's Growth Plan.

"The CCA allows Saskatchewan's Construction Standards Appeal Board to make binding pre-rulings to individual buildings when the code is being interpreted differently between the building owner, local authority, designer and contractor," McMorris said.  "This will help designers and builders obtain design decisions in a timely manner and ensure they are in compliance with Saskatchewan's legislative requirements."

For information about Saskatchewan's construction standards and codes, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/btstandards.

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