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Building in BC: Your Guide to Engineering Requirements for Outbuildings


new horse barn near Armstrong BC


So, let's start with the basics. If your outbuilding is going to have a ceiling higher than 12 feet, you'll need to get it engineered. This is a new rule that's come into play, so it's crucial to be aware of it. When we talk about getting a building "engineered," we mean the whole shebang—from the foundation and framing right up to the roof. In some cases, the engineering might even extend to the wall sheeting or cladding, especially if you're using metal.


Now, the location of your building is a big deal. Engineers will take into account various factors like snow loading, wind loading, and seismic activity. For example, if you're in the Lower Mainland, seismic considerations will be a significant part of the engineering process. On the flip side, a building in the Caribou region might have different requirements altogether.


small hay shed on a hobby farm

The intended use of your building also plays a role. Whether it's a farm building, a shop, a storage space, or a commercial structure, each has its own set of engineering requirements. Even the classification of the land your building is on can affect these requirements. So, it's not just about the building itself; it's also about where it's located and what it'll be used for.

You might be wondering about permits. Well, when you apply for one, you'll need to show your engineered plans, including any truss designs. And here's a pro tip: start this process early. Getting your hands on engineered plans can take upwards of six weeks, and you don't want to be stuck waiting when you're ready to build.


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In BC, engineers are required to perform two inspections. One of these has to be an on-site visit, so they'll come out to your location to give everything a once-over. The second inspection might be done remotely, like through photos or video, but this can vary from one engineer to another.


That's the rundown on engineering requirements for new outbuildings in BC. It might seem like a lot to take in, but it's all about ensuring your building is safe, sound, and up to code. So, start your planning early, consult the experts, and you'll be well on your way to building something awesome.

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