Practice Standards


National Building Code 2001 Inclusion of Objective Based Code


Work is under way to revise the National Building Code (NBC) 2001, and it is proposed that this cycle of the code include an objective-based section. The term "objective" means just that – it describes the intent or objective of what is to be achieved. It is proposed that the current "prescriptive" sections also be included – that is, a method for achieving the objective.

The NBC 2001 is currently anticipated to be a single code, with Parts A & B. Part A would state the objectives of the code, and could be mandated by authorities. Part B, could also be mandated, and would be the prescriptive section, providing "a method" of satisfying the intent of Part A. It is believed that during the first cycle of this code, Part B would receive more use, with Part A increasing in use during subsequent cycles as familiarity increases.

The driving reasons to bring objective based codes on-line are to address jurisdictional issues, to unify the intents, and to address changing technologies and equivalencies. Other countries (New Zealand and Australia) have tried such codes with limited success. The current code committee is taking the learnings of these countries into consideration. One main issue limiting the success of objective based codes appears to be the potential for substantial deviation of format/content from what the users of the code have been accustomed to – hence Part A/B as described above.

The mandate of the code committee is to maintain the current scope of the code. Although there are certainly areas that could use attention, these will be addressed at a later time.

Work on the code development can be viewed on the Web at ?