The National Model Codes are continuously evolving to accommodate new technologies, materials, construction practices, research, and the changing needs of Canadian society.

The development of Codes content is a consensus-based process that relies on the voluntary contributions of standing committee and task group members as well as the public. A common process is followed for all Codes—from the initial proposal and consideration of code change requests to the approval of changes. An important feature of the code development process is the extent of public involvement.

Submission of code change requests

Code change requests can be submitted to the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) by regulatory officials, design and safety professionals, manufacturers and suppliers, contractors, building managers or owners, consumers, and other public and private sector stakeholders—in fact, by anyone with an interest in the Codes.

Work plan

Each code change request is reviewed by the appropriate standing committee. The initial review evaluates the request and determines whether it could be included in the standing committee’s proposed work plan for CCBFC approval and priority setting. Work plan approval and priority setting by the CCBFC ensures that code development work focuses on issues of importance to the provinces and territories as well as to stakeholders.


Once authorized by the CCBFC, the appropriate standing committee undertakes a detailed review of the code change requests. If a proposed change is complex and requires significant analysis, a task group may be established to study it and make recommendations. When a change has implications for a part of a code that is the responsibility of other committees, all affected committees review the change. For example, a proposed change to National Building Code Part 9, Housing and Small Buildings, may need to be reviewed by the committees responsible for Part 3, Part 4, or Part 6, and may also lead to a corresponding change in one of those parts.

The lead standing committee may reject a proposal, amend the wording, defer it pending receipt of more information or research, or recommend the change for CCBFC approval.

Pre-public review

Provinces and territories have the opportunity to review draft proposed changes. If any of them has policy or administrative concerns about the inclusion of a certain proposed change for public review, the proposed change can be withdrawn or deferred for further discussion prior to public review.

Public review

All proposed changes approved by standing committees are made available for public review for a 2-month period. Public reviews are held up to 3 times a year. This allows those most affected by a proposed change to provide feedback and increases the range of expertise available on any subject. Provinces and territories are invited to coordinate their public review activities with the national public review periods.

Consideration of public review comments

Following a public review period, standing committees review the submitted comments. Proposed changes move forward once all comments have been taken into consideration. Some proposed changes may be withdrawn or revised at this point. Proposed changes may also be deferred for reconsideration, including possible resubmission for public review in revised form.

Post-public review

Provinces and territories then review the final version of the proposed changes from a policy perspective and identify any concerns before the changes are submitted to the CCBFC for final approval.

CCBFC approval

Following review of the proposed changes by the provinces and territories, the recommended changes are submitted to the CCBFC for approval.


Once approved, the changes are translated into French, before they are published by the National Research Council of Canada in the next revision or edition of the Codes. The translation is reviewed by the Technical Translation Verification Committee to ensure accuracy, enforceability and consistency within the French Codes documents.