Skip to content

Port Coquitlam to delay Step 4 of BC Energy Step Code by four years

“If we go to Step 4 quickly, our building product may suffer,” a Port Coquitlam city engineer told committee of council.

Port Coquitlam is dialing down its ambitious voluntary targets for the BC Energy Step Code.

Last week, city council gave three readings to change its Building and Plumbing Bylaw to delay Step 4 of the Step Code for new residential buildings from Jan. 1, 2024, to Jan. 1, 2027, as well as Step 3 for new commercial buildings.

The wait, which has yet to receive fourth and final reading from council, aims to give more time for the construction industry to adjust to the energy-efficiency requirements in the BC Building Code.

In a report to council, PoCo’s director of planning and development Bruce Irvine wrote the city is “well ahead” of the 2027 provincial goal to be complaint and to meet the city’s climate action plans.

Under Step 3, building efficiency in PoCo is up 20 per cent in new construction, he wrote, and the municipality was ready to rise to Step 4 by Jan. 1, 2024 — making PoCo four years ahead of the provincially mandated timeline.

But, with changes to the new BC Building Code plus the city’s new Development Cost Charges bylaw, city staff suggested that builders and developers would take a big hit financially — potentially resulting in fewer homes being built.

Under PoCo’s 2022 Housing Needs Report, the city is expected to build 550 more homes a year to meet Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy.

“If we go to Step 4 quickly, our building product may suffer,” a city engineer told committee of council on Sept. 5.

Mayor Brad West said the BC Energy Step Code is difficult to understand and many builders are at a loss when it comes to constructing in individual communities, which are allowed to implement their own steps toward reaching the 2027 target.

In 2019, when the Step Code started to roll out, “this council was trying to demonstrate leadership,” Irvine said, “but it’s clear that we’re seeing very slow adoptions.”

The BC Energy Step Code was introduced as a step-by-step building efficiency policy to help meet the province’s target of all new homes being net-zero energy ready by 2032.

Timeline comparisons

Below, the comparisons for surrounding municipalities on new large residential construction:

  • Coquitlam: Currently at Step 2; Step 3 proposed for Jan. 1, 2024
  • Port Moody: Currently at Step 3; Step 4 proposed for 2030
  • Maple Ridge: Currently at Step 2; Step 3 proposed for 2027