Monday, June 17, 2019

Canada’s building code is getting a climate change rewrite

 

 

As reported on CBC News, from how concrete is mixed for road construction, to roofing standards enabling buildings to withstand stronger storms and plans to help homeowners manage increased flooding, Canada’s building rules are being rewritten due to climate change, according to briefing notes for a senior government official seen by CBC News.

If no changes are made to the way we build, infrastructure failures linked to climate change could cost Canada $300 billion over the next decade, according to estimates cited in the partially redacted documents.

With Canada warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, according to an official report leaked this month, analysts say it’s crucial to design infrastructure that protects residents from extreme weather while reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Some of the new rules for construction in the era of climate change are nearly ready, while others remain in the planning stages, according to a briefing note prepared for the deputy minister of infrastructure in 2018 and accessed by CBC News under freedom of information laws.

“The development of building and infrastructure codes and guidelines in this country is a somewhat ponderous process,” the high-level briefing states.

“More problematically, the code development process has also been very slow to address the very significant challenges posed by climate change for Canada’s buildings and core public infrastructure.”

The briefing said the new code will be the “first substantive” introduction of climate change considerations for buildings and crucial infrastructure in Canada.

Some of the changes under discussion, according to the notes, include:

  • New guidelines for certifying the resiliency of roofs to extreme weather events, planned for 2020.
  • New specifications to optimize concrete mixes for pavement to mitigate flooding, expected to be ready for 2021 following field trials underway now.
  • New structural design rules for buildings to take into account the changing climate should be ready for adoption by the 2025 building code.
  • New standards for basement flood protection should be finalized by the end of this year.
  • Guidelines for climate resilience for existing storm water systems will be developed for 2021.

Keep reading on CBC News

 


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