The Dec. 11

Langley condo fire prompts changes to sprinkler rules

The BC Building code has been updated for woodframe condos.

  • Wed Mar 15th, 2017 8:00pm
  • News

The provincial government has tightened sprinkler regulations for four-storey, woodframe buildings in the wake of a fire that gutted a Langley condo.

The update to the BC Building Code will require fire sprinklers on balconies.

When the Paddington Station condo fire broke out in December, it began on a fourth-floor balcony.

The fire, suspected to have been started by a cigarette or other smoking materials, then spread up and into the attic, which also did not have sprinklers.

The entire building suffered fire, smoke, or water damage and had to be completely evacuated. It is currently under deconstruction and repair.

The BC Building Code already mandates attic and balcony sprinklers for wood-frame buildings of five or six storeys.

A new National Building Code, updated in 2015, does require sprinklers on balconies for four-storey buildings, and the province was planning to follow suit later.

“Although the next edition of our building code won’t be adopted until late 2017, we wanted to implement this change as soon as possible, in the interest of safety,” said Rich Coleman, minister responsible for housing and MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove.

The regulations will take effect starting on July 20.

The code will apply to new construction from that date. Older buildings are not required to upgrade.

The change was applauded by the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C.’s vice president Don Jolley.

“This announcement demonstrates a commitment to greater use of fire sprinkler protection initiatives that will prevent significant fire-related losses in the future,” said Jolley, fire chief of Pitt Meadows.