Residential home under construction

Review how the BC Energy Step Code will change the way buildings are built in Surrey.

The City of Surrey adopted the BC Energy Step Code ("Step Code") on April 1, 2019. The Step Code is the province’s 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 airtightness level, envelope thermal performance, and mechanical equipment efficiency.

The Step Code will improve home comfort and help to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions from new buildings in Surrey.

Step Code in Surrey

The Step Code applies to building permit applications submitted after April 1, 2019, for the building types outlined below.

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.

Current Bylaw Requirements 

As of April 1, 2019
  • Part 9 residential buildings: Step 1
  • Part 3 residential buildings (Group C): Step 3, OR Step 2 if connected to Surrey City Energy or satisfies low carbon energy requirements. 
  • Part 3 commercial buildings (Group D & E): Step 2  
As of January 1, 2021
  • Part 9 residential buildings: Step 3
  • Other building types as per above

Estimated Timetable for Future Adoption

  • Part 9 residential buildings: Step 4
  • Part 3 residential buildings (Group C): Step 4, OR Step 3 if connected to Surrey City Energy or satisfies low carbon energy requirements. 
  • Part 3 commercial buildings (Group D & E): Step 3  
  • Part 9 residential buildings: Step 5 

Definitions and Examples

(Refer to the BC Building Code for legal language)

  • Part 9 means buildings 3 storeys and under AND a building footprint less than 600m2, such as single family homes, duplexes, townhomes, and small apartments.
  • Part 3 means buildings over 3 storeys OR a building footprint more than 600m2, such as larger apartment and office buildings
  • Group C means residential occupancies, such as apartments and hotels
  • Group D means business and personal services occupancies, such as offices
  • Group E means mercantile occupancies, such as retail store

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 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.

Featured Incentive:

CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program

The CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program provides rebates up to $15,000 for the construction of new, high-performance, electric homes. Through the CleanBC plan, the Province is supporting the adoption of the BC Energy Step Code and making energy efficient, climate-friendly homes more affordable and accessible.

Training Opportunities

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


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