OTTAWA, Dec. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - This week in Ottawa, the Cement
Association of Canada announced the debut of a national campaign to
fight changes to the national building code that would put Canadians at
risk. Within hours, those who promote six story wood buildings
responded, claiming that "health and safety remain top priorities for
the wood industry".
Michael McSweeney, President and CEO of the Cement Association of
Canada, dismissed this response as defensive and disingenuous. "Wood
burns, concrete doesn't," said McSweeney. "Those who promote the
interests of building with wood may not like that fact, but it's a
fact. And that's why we - and firefighters like Carl Pearson, and many
others - are stepping up to oppose the building code changes that would
see mid-rise all-wood buildings permitted in Canada and demand the
implementation of several provisions to mitigate the potential risks
posed to vulnerable Canadians. The changes proposed by those who
promote the construction of six storey wood buildings are the most
significant in recent history. Their implications have not yet been
fully and completely analyzed and in our opinion, the substantiation
presented has been incomplete. We are choosing to err on the side of
caution and on the side of safety in recommending a tempering of the
"As a country, we need to be developing building codes which just don't
meet some minimum standard. We need codes and regulations, at all
levels, that reflect the best that we can do. Buildings standards that
we can be proud of and that keep the most vulnerable safe. Because,
make no mistake: those who promote building these types of wood
buildings are in essence diluting building codes. Their drive to permit
the building of five, six and even ten-storey all-wood buildings will
make our most vulnerable citizens less safe."
At a press conference this week, McSweeney and Carl Pearson, Past
President of the Fire Fighters Association of Ontario, took aim at
those who promote wood buildings efforts to dilute the national
building code. In kicking off their national campaign, McSweeney and
Pearson warned that the elderly, the disabled and new Canadians are
most often found in multi-storey buildings - and that, in the event of
a fire in an all-wood structure - they will be the ones most at risk.
"Take it from a firefighter; the current practice of four storey wood
construction is challenging enough for fire services", Pearson said.
"Taller combustible construction is dangerous and we all need to
consider the lives of Canadians put at risk."
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.
Carl Pearson is a First Captain at Station 3 of the Thorold Fire and
Emergency Services and the Past President of the Fire Fighters' Association of Ontario.
SOURCE: Cement Association of Canada
For further information:
Cement Association of Canada
T: 613-236-9471 ext 211