MANITOBA TO STREAMLINE FARM BUILDING CODE REQUIREMENTS
– – – Practical Changes Highlighted as Part of Red Tape Awareness Week: Eichler
The Manitoba government is supporting the long-term, sustainable growth of the agricultural sector by removing unnecessary regulatory requirements on the construction of farm buildings, Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler announced today, as part of the province’s commitment to Red Tape Awareness Week.
“Our government is listening to Manitoba’s farm families and other stakeholders, who have clearly shown how the current code for farm buildings is impractical and costly,” said Eichler. “Instead, we will be moving forward with common-sense amendments to the Manitoba Building Code that more closely align with other Western Canadian jurisdictions to ensure appropriate protective measures are in place that also reflect the unique issues related to farm buildings and the farming industry.”
The current Manitoba Farm Building Code will be repealed and an amendment will be made to the Manitoba Building Code to add specific provisions for farm buildings. The minister noted this approach will reduce the red tape burden on those planning to build new farm buildings, while still ensuring appropriate rules will be in place related to occupant safety and fire prevention.
The minister noted key changes that will apply to farm buildings will include:
establishing a ‘low-human occupancy’ building classification for most types of farm buildings, which will recognize lower risks by reducing additional regulatory requirements for items like full fire alarm systems;
focusing on ways to prevent fires from spreading to neighbouring buildings, while still allowing these low-human occupancy buildings to be grouped together to meet operational needs;
applying only structural requirements for unenclosed farm buildings used for hay storage or livestock shelters;
removing requirements for fire-rated separations in high-humidity environments where the building materials are unsuitable, or in areas where animals are likely to cause damage to them.
providing more options to meet entrance and exit requirements;
allowing flexibility in the direction of door swing to meet operational needs;
allowing flexibility in requirements related to covering foamed plastic insulation in high-humidity vegetable storage facilities such as potato storage sheds; and
adjusting emergency lighting requirements to be responsive to the needs of poultry and egg producers.
“KAP is extremely pleased with this announcement because it will result in a renewal of the livestock industry, allowing producers to build new barns and modernize existing ones,” said Dan Mazier, president, Keystone Agricultural Producers. “We will now become more competitive with producers in other jurisdictions, where building costs for barns are lower because they don’t have this excess regulation. We look forward to working with the province, not only to reduce costs, but also to ensure the safety of farmers, employees and animals.”
As a result of this change, construction requirements for all buildings will be part of a single regulation, the minister said, adding this approach will also eliminate the need for government to update multiple regulations when new versions of the National Building Code are adopted. The building code requirements will apply to all farm buildings over 600 square metres.
The Manitoba farm building code would be repealed once the new provisions for farm buildings come into effect, Eichler said.
Building codes and other related standards are overseen by Manitoba’s Office of the Fire Commissioner. For more information, visit www.firecomm.gov.mb.ca.