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BC Energy Step Code for New Buildings

construction workers framing a house

The City of Surrey has adopted the BC Energy Step Code. It came into effect April 1, 2019. See below for basic information and links to key resources.

What is the BC Energy Step Code?

The BC Energy Step Code is the Province’s new building energy code, involving a series of “Steps” representing improving energy performance levels. It measures the performance of different parts of the building, such as its airtightness level, envelope thermal performance, and mechanical equipment efficiency. The BC Energy Step Code will improve home comfort and air quality while reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions from new buildings in Surrey.

Changes to the Building Process

Starting April 1, 2019, the Step Code applies to new Part 3 and Part 9 buildings in Surrey, both commercial and residential, changing the City's inspection, permitting and review processes and requirements for new construction.

For specific information on changes to the permitting, review and inspections processes, review Building Division bulletins on the Residential Building Permits page (for single- and two-family Part 9 buildings) and the Commercial Building Permits page (for all other buildings).

To stay up to date with these and other Step Code building changes in Surrey, subscribe to Step Code alerts using the form below.

The following chart summarizes how and when Surrey plans to implement the Step Code:

  Building Permit Application Filed On Estimated Timetable for Future Adoption
April 1, 2019 January 1, 2021 2023 / 2024 2025 / 2026*
Single Family Home Step 1 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5
Townhouses and Small Apartments Step 1 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5
Large Wood Frame Residential Apartments Step 3 (or Step 2 if connected to Surrey City Energy or satisfies low-carbon energy requirements) Step 4 (or Step 3 if satisfies low-carbon energy requirements, or Step 2 if connected to Surrey City Energy)
Large Concrete Residential Apartments Step 3 (or Step 2 if connected to Surrey City Energy or satisfies low-carbon energy requirements) Step 4 (or Step 3 if satisfies low-carbon energy requirements, or Step 2 if connected to Surrey City Energy)
Commercial Office and Mercantile Step 2 Step 3

Visit the BC Energy Step Code website for more information on each of the Step requirements.

Energy Advisors

When Step Code is implemented in Surrey, builders will be required to hire a certified energy advisor to meet Step 1 minimum requirements. Learn more about Energy Advisors or find one to work with on the BC Energy Step Code website.


Airtightness testing at building completion is a core part of Step Code performance requirements. The Province requires all Step Code buildings to conduct a final airtightness test to receive an occupancy permit. At Step 1, airtightness must be good enough for overall building energy performance to equal the BC Building Code reference building. At Step 2 and above, buildings must meet specific airtightness levels to be code compliant.

See the Key Resources below for slides from the April 25, 2019 builder breakfast to learn more about how to succeed with airtightness. The Building Safety and Standards Branch (BSSB) has also released a series of Step Code Bulletins focused on airtightness and complying with Step 1 (B19-01, B19-02, and B19-03).

Mid-Construction Airtightness Testing

Airtightness is the most cost-effective way to improve building energy performance, and an airtight building is easiest and least costly to achieve prior to drywall installation. As such, the City of Surrey requires all Part 9 buildings to conduct a mid-construction blower door test before a building can proceed to insulation inspection.

See the City’s Building Division bulletins (linked to below, under Resources) for more details. As this is intended to be a capacity building requirement, the City is currently determining how the requirement may be waived for applicants that can demonstrate success constructing multiple airtight buildings, and the City will update the bulletins when this is determined.

Your certified energy advisor will help with these tests and suggest ways you can improve your building’s energy performance. The City encourages building teams to involve as many staff and trades as possible during the first few mid-construction blower door tests.

Incentives for Builders

The City of Surrey has a limited pool of funds to offer $400 mid-construction blower door test rebates to Part 9 builders. Visit the City’s Incentives page to learn more information and find out when and how to apply.

The most comprehensive sources for building energy incentives are Better Homes BC and Better Buildings BC. For additional financial and other incentives available to builders and others, visit the City’s Incentives page or the BC Energy Step Code’s Incentive Programs site.

Training Opportunities

BC Energy Step Code training opportunities are listed on the BC Step Code Events Calendar.

Part 9 builders and tradespeople are also encouraged to attend a hands-on airtightness workshop and demonstration course.


Surrey has been engaging with industry stakeholders and other local governments since November 2017, researching the costs, benefits and other implications of Step Code in Surrey. The BC Energy Step Code will help us achieve our long-term target of an 80% reduction in GHG emissions per capita by 2050 from 2007 levels.

For details, see the following:

Sign up for the BC Step Code Newsletter for Stakeholders for updates.

Key Resources

Compliance Reports

Guides & Resources




For more information, contact