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Cement association questions Quebec’s endorsement of taller wood buildings


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August 19, 2015 by STAFF REPORT

Cement Association of Canada is calling into question Quebec's endorsement of taller wood building construction
Cement Association of Canada is calling into question Quebec's endorsement of taller wood building construction

The Quebec government’s endorsement of a guide to build 12-storey wood structures without going through the proper building code development process compromises public interest in favour of a wood lobby group, accuses the Cement Association of Canada.

CAC calls the decision of Premier Philippe Couillard’s 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 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, CAC alleges in statement released earlier today

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, CAC charges. Moreover, the construction of cross-laminated timber (CLT) buildings and taller wood buildings are not recognized by the National Building Code (NBCC), CAC suggests in the release.

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.

“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,” says Michael McSweeney, CAC President and CEO. “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,”

The CAC also points out that the use of CLT building systems is no more – and perhaps 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.

“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?” McSweeney quesions. “The government has a duty to protect the health of its citizens, not that of a particular industry.”

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.


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