Quebec Government Decision to Allow Construction of Taller Wood Buildings Compromises Public Interest in Favour of Wood Industry Lobby

OTTAWA, Aug. 19, 2015 /CNW/ - The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) calls the decision of the Couillard government to bypass the usual rigourous building code development process questionable, as it allows the construction of taller wood buildings on the basis of a guide developed by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec and FPInnovations, a private research centre dedicated to supporting the Canadian forest industry. The guide was launched earlier this week by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard.

This guide is not recognized by the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC), and FPInnovations is not a standards development organization accredited by the Standards Council of Canada. Moreover, the construction of cross-laminated timber (CLT) buildings and taller wood buildings are not recognized by the National Building Code (NBCC). It is important to note that the proposal to include CLT building systems in the 2015 edition of the NBCC was voluntarily withdrawn by FPInnovations.

According to the CAC, the Quebec government is allowing measures that are not recognized by the codes or standards developed by accredited organizations in order to directly support the wood industry, to the possible detriment of public safety. The CAC also points out that the use of CLT building systems is no more - and perhaps much less - environmentally friendly than the use of other building systems already recognized in the Code, when one considers the full life cycle of the building.

The integrity of the code development process must be upheld

"All Quebecers have a right to expect that a rigorous process is being upheld and followed when it comes to the development of codes and standards. We have long held that governments should not get involved in the choice of building materials and systems and should leave this to the experts," said Michael McSweeney, CAC President and CEO. "Like the rest of Canada, Quebec has little experience in the construction of 6-storey wood buildings – how can we venture into the construction of even taller wood buildings? The government has a duty to protect the health of its citizens, not that of a particular industry."

About the Cement Association of Canada

The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) is the voice of Canada's cement manufacturers. The industry provides a reliable, domestic supply of cement required to build Canada's communities and critical infrastructure. The CAC and its members are committed to the environmentally responsible manufacturing of cement and concrete products. CAC's members are: Ciment Québec Inc., Colacem Canada Inc., CRH Canada Group, ESSROC Italcementi Group, Federal White Cement Ltd., Lafarge Canada Inc., Lehigh Hanson and St Marys Cement Group.

 

SOURCE Cement Association of Canada

For further information: Lyse Teasdale, Director of Communications, Cement Association of Canada, T : 613-236-9471, ext 211, C : 613 809.0517, lteasdale@cement.ca; Michel Binette, LL.B., M.A.P., Vice President, Legal, Public and Government Affairs, Quebec and Atlantic Region, Cement Association of Canada, T : 450.420.3973 C: 418.802.7211, mbinette@ciment.ca

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