Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 21:20 EDT

Proposal to Amend the National Building Code Could Jeopardize Canadians’ Health & Safety

December 12, 2013

OTTAWA, Dec. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - Today in Ottawa, the Cement Association of Canada (CAC) held a press
conference to demand 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. During this period, Canadians have the opportunity to voice
their opinions on the proposed code changes. One such change would
increase 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 current proposal has many deficiencies, and the CAC strongly
recommends that a number of additional provisions be implemented. These
include noncombustible stairwells and elevator shafts to provide
firefighters with a safe refuge area from which to stage their
firefighting and rescue operations and residents with a safe place to
go so they can be rescued; noncombustible cladding and noncombustible
roofing – this is fundamental to preventing a fire from spreading to
adjacent buildings. Additionally, noncombustible 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.

The CAC is committed to ensuring that structures and critical
infrastructure projects are completed to the safety standards Canadians
deserve and believe they currently have. “Any building should be built
once, built right and built to last,” said McSweeney. “Building codes
are minimum codes and surely Canadians deserve more than this.
Canadians should demand the gold standard in Canada’s National Building
Code. The safety of Canadians must be the top priority.”

“The proposed changes have potentially life and death implications,”
said Carl Pearson, a First Captain with the Thorold Fire and Emergency
Services and the Past President of the Fire Fighters’ Association of
Ontario. “For firefighters, our number one concern is to safely rescue
people, without casualties. If these proposed changes to the NBCC are
implemented, Canadians lives could be at risk. We don’t want that to

The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) represents the Canadian cement
industry, and strives to maintain a sustainable industry as well as
promote and advance the economic, environmental and societal benefits
of building with cement and concrete. The CAC advocates for legislative
and regulatory environments at all levels of government and it advises
on technical matters important to the cement and concrete industries,
such as codes, standards, specifications and best practice guides.

SOURCE Cement Association of Canada

Source: PR Newswire