BC Radon rough In requirements - map

Regulations reduce radon

The BC Lung Association is elated to hear news that the B.C. government has decided to enforce stronger radon safety precautions

  • Nov. 19, 2014 6:00 a.m.

Chris Stedile

 

Castlegar News

The BC Lung Association is elated to hear news that the B.C. government has decided to enforce stronger radon safety precautions in all future homes.

Effective Dec. 19, to pass inspection and obtain occupancy permits, all new housing in Area 1 of B.C. (see map diagram) must have a radon vent-pipe that extends from beneath the basement floor of the house and safely exhausts to the outdoors through the attic and out the roof.

This system is also known as a Passive Radon Reduction System.

The timing could not have been better as November is Radon Action Month.

“This is a huge gain for protecting public health,” said Britt Swoveland, Provincial RadonAware Coordinator for the BC Lung Association. “B.C.’s new radon building code protection requirement is among the strongest in Canada, and sets an example for other provinces to follow.”

Radon is a colourless, odorless, radioactive gas that is the result of uranium breaking down beneath the soil, and is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

Swoveland stated that radon can easily build up to dangerous levels in a cramped space ­— such as a basement — and if left unchecked can cause serious health altercations.

“Our research confirmed building regulations for radon currently in place were having little effect and substantiated the need for code changes,” said Phil Markin, building services director for the City of Castlegar and radon study partner.

Current code regulations only required the rough-in of a pipe from beneath a home’s basement floor extending up through the slab floor and capped off.

This is also known as a capped pipe system.

“Our findings established the minimum requirement for effective home radon protection in new construction should be the installation of a radon vent pipe,” said Swoveland. “But it’s important to note that while our study confirmed installation of a radon vent pipe consistently reduced radon levels, it didn’t consistently succeed in reducing radon below the Health Canada recommended safety threshold.”

To achieve further radon dispersal Swoveland recommends homeowners upgrade their venting system to an Active Radon Reduction System.

All this is, is a fan added to the top of the vent allowing radon to be pulled through the pipe system at a more efficient rate.

During the winter of 2014, the BC Lung Association partnered with the City of Castlegar to assess the effectiveness of the current capped pipe systems in place, compared to the new pipe venting  system.

Research was conducted in 16 homes in the Castlegar/Nelson area and in Prince George. In Oct. 2014, results were shared with the Ministry Responsible for Housing, Building and Construction Standards Branch.

“In the future, we suggest the government consider radon testing be required as a condition of new home occupancy, and, where test results are high, the addition of a fan be required,” added Swoveland.

“The good news for now is that a homeowner can, if warranted, fairly easily and inexpensively add a fan themselves.”

For any homeowners concerned about radon levels, test kits are available to purchase.

“You don’t know unless you test,” Swoveland added. “The test kit is inexpensive and convenient.  Everyone should test their homes.”

“Is radon something British Columbians should be wary of? Yes. Should we panic? No,” said Swoveland. “But we do encourage all British Columbians to test their homes, and to mitigate if radon levels are high.”

For information on radon and radon test kits please visit RadonAware.ca.

 

Just Posted

Province announces $23 million for upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board has yet to review the provincial proposal

Selkirk College Saints score pair of crucial wins

Stellar goaltending and timely goals lead to victory over the Vancouver Island University Mariners.

UPDATE: Two-car accident closes Highway 3A at Thrums

Road expected to open for single-lane alternating traffic at 2 p.m.

OPINION: Florio Vassilakakis calls city tax increase ‘overly ambitious’

One city councillor’s take on the City of Castlegar’s proposed budget

Castlegar moves towards allowing more in-home childcare spaces

If passed, bylaw will increase the maximum number of children allowed to match provincial standards.

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Kootenay Special O athletes headed to provincials

Floor hockey team from Castlegar and Grand Forks will represent the Kootenay Region.

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read