Canadian Consulting Engineer

Climate change leading NRC to upgrade building codes and specifications

March 2, 2017

New specifications and guidelines will be ready and released as soon as 2020.


The 2015 editions of the Codes. (source: CNW Group/National Research Council Canada)

The National Research Council (NRC) along with Infrastructure Canada have announced they are upgrading codes, specifications, guidelines, and assessment tools when it comes to Canadian buildings and infrastructure projects in reaction to the impacts of climate change and an increase in extreme weather events such as damaging floods and devastating high winds.

Over the next five years, the NRC will conduct research, evaluations, as well as risk analyses to develop new solutions to factor climate resilience into the design of future buildings and infrastructure in Canada, including houses, roads, bridges, water systems and rapid transit networks.

“With climate change, the total annual precipitation is increasing, as well as the frequency and severity of extreme events, such as heat waves, high winds, floods, and droughts, all of which is resulting in increased stress on built structures,” says Richard Tremblay, general manager of construction at the NRC in a release. “In 2017, it is a necessity to start planning to adapt our buildings and infrastructure to withstand the new loads.”

The Government of Canada is investing $40 million into these efforts from the Investing in Canada plan which provides more than $180 billion in infrastructure funding over 12 years.


“I see this initiative on climate change adaptation as having the potential to have a profound impact on the Canadian construction industry and on the future of buildings in Canada” says Doug Crawford, chair of the Canadian commission on building and fire codes.

Once in effect, the new measures are expected to reduce the costs of rehabilitation and replacement of buildings and infrastructures affected by extreme weather events. New specifications and guidelines will be ready and released as soon as 2020.


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