CAC challenging proposed amendments to the National Building Code

The Cement Association of Canada (CAC), which represents the Canadian cement industry, is demanding that the changes proposed for the next edition of the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) “be significantly improved to provide better safety for all Canadians.”

Over the past two months and until December 23, the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) has been conducting its public review of proposed changes to the 2010 NBCC, the model building code of Canada, and the change that worries the CAC is the increase in the maximum wood building height to six storeys, from the current limit of four storeys.

The CAC contends that the construction of five and six storey wood frame buildings could present many safety concerns for Canadians. “If these taller wood frame buildings are included in the Code, Canada could see an increase in fires and put vulnerable Canadians at risk,” said Michael McSweeney, president and CEO of the CAC. “Each year we are seeing numerous fires in wood frame buildings and we have seen the devastating effects of recent massive fires in B.C. and Alberta.”

The CAC is recommending a number of additional provisions be implemented to the proposal. These include non-combustible stairwells and elevator shafts; non-combustible cladding and non-combustible roofing; non-combustible two-hour firewalls should be mandated on these buildings along with the installation of sprinkler protection during the construction phase.   Finally, the CAC believes that the protection of the lives of firefighters should be included in the NBCC.

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