OTTAWA, May 9 /CNW/ - Following the blaze that destroyed a six-storey
wood-frame condominium and social housing project in Richmond, British
Columbia, last week, the Cement Association of Canada (CAC) has
highlighted the critical need for more study of the fire safety
implications of residential mid-rise wood building construction.
The project was undertaken after B.C. amended its building code in 2009
to allow the construction of wood frame residential buildings higher
than four storeys, the current height limit permitted for such projects
by the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) and all other provincial
jurisdictions. The province of Ontario is currently considering even
broader amendments. The changes are under review for future possible
inclusion in the National Building Code.
The CAC is urging civil servants and politicians to not favour one
building material over another due to economic circumstances, but to
put safety first. The only way this can be properly done is through
extensive consultation with fire safety officials, the insurance
industry, consumers and manufacturers of building products.
While the building was not yet complete, this incident serves to
underline how fragile and susceptible to fire these structures are.
Since sprinklers, one of the key safety features, are mechanical
systems that can fail, the CAC has long been advocating for further
evaluation of the fire safety and structural risks associated with
taller wood frame buildings before changes are made to the National
Building Code and provincial Building Codes, and believes this type of
review would be of value to British Columbia as well.
"Safe, structurally sound, fire-resistant homes and communities is
something that we all want and should be able to count on," said Cement
Association of Canada President and CEO Michael McSweeney. "A concrete
building is one of the safest options since concrete doesn't burn and
it stops fire from spreading. But first and foremost, the issue at hand
here is ensuring that an adequate level of safety be maintained for our
buildings regardless of their height."
The National Building Code of Canada is conducting an extensive review
of the proposed changes for consideration for the next edition of the
About the Cement Association of Canada
The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) is the voice of Canada's cement
manufacturing industry, a vital contributor to the country's economy
and infrastructure. The industry provides a reliable, domestic supply
of cement required to build Canada's critical infrastructure including
our network of roads and bridges, homes and buildings, waterworks and
dams. The CAC and its members are committed to the the environmentally
responsible manufacturing of cement and concrete products. CAC's
members are Ciment Québec, ESSROC Italcementi Group, Federal White
Cement Ltd., Holcim Canada, Lafarge Canada, Lehigh Hanson Canada and St
Marys Cement Group — companies whose parent corporations belong to the
World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Cement
Sustainability Initiative. The cement and concrete industry contributes
more than $8 billion in annual sales and over 27,000 direct and
indirect jobs to the Canadian economy.
SOURCE Cement Association of Canada
For further information:
For more information or to schedule an interview with one of our experts, please contact:
Cement Association of Canada
613-236-9471; ext 211