November 24, 2015
The Ontario provincial government is dedicating support to the industry-driven governing body in charge of promoting and modernizing skilled trades. The partnership between the province and Ontario College of Trades has recognized the recommendations of Tony Dean, the former secretary of cabinet, in his report, “Supporting a Strong and Sustainable Ontario College of Trades”. The spring legislative session will introduce Ontario’s proposed legislative changes, and the province will work with the College of Trades to implement Dean’s recommendations.
November 24, 2015
The Mowat Centre, an independent Ontarian public-policy think-tank, published its latest report, “From the Ground Up: The Role of Local Governments in Building Canada’s Economic Infrastructure.” In it, the group examines the link between public infrastructure, economic competitiveness, and the role of local government, while providing recommendations on how best to address Canada’s infrastructure gap.
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With any important decision in life, it is necessary to understand the trade-offs associated with the choices made. The same is true when selecting a roofing assembly. A common theme is sustainability and the use of ‘green’ building methods and materials—however, trouble can arise when materials are selected and purchased solely because of perceived energy or environmental benefits.
Tucked in the woods of Saint-Calixte—an hour away from Montréal—is a residential retreat that might have gone unnoticed were its designer not trying to change the way we build and heat our homes. It is an unpretentious statement, advocating better ways of building with wood and simple but efficient harnessing of the sun’s energy. At its own modest scale, this home is becoming one of several projects that will hopefully help the traditional wood industry embark on the 21st century.
Typing the word ‘privacy’ into any search engine yields a virtually endless stream of entries describing the ways in which it can be violated. There are reports of hackers acquiring credit card information, law enforcement agencies mining social networking sites, and members of the public using drones to take aerial photographs. More recent headlines indicate voice-activated televisions can even eavesdrop on owners.
Every year, more structures featuring glass floors are announced internationally, with each one claiming to be more spectacular than the last. Notable examples include the glass floor installed in 1994 in Toronto’s CN Tower—342 m (1122 ft) above ground—and the 2014 Glacier Skywalk jutting from a cliff near Jasper National Park in Alberta.
When manufacturers provide technical documentation for their products, they are giving a tool to the specification writer for specifying those same materials. The two main documents on which specifiers rely are technical product data sheets and master guide specifications sections. The first is often the initial exposure a specifier has to a product, so it is important it delivers the information needed to allow the design team to make educated decisions. However, the second is probably the single most important tool the specifier uses when developing a project manual.
The building industry consumes 40 per cent of the world’s energy, and is responsible for more than 38 per cent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to studies completed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD 2009). Since the energy demand and its costs will continue to increase, this explains why Canadian building code requirements are becoming more stringent both nationally and provincially. It also explains why new European programs, like Germany’s PassivHaus, are progressively adopted by Canada and the U.S. Green Building Council (CaGBC and USGBC).
Durability is a hallmark of brick masonry construction, but even time-tested materials require maintenance to ensure a long life. Managing a property listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places or a protected historic resource may also mean negotiating conservation standards, treatment guidelines, provincial or municipal regulatory restrictions, and community interests when considering how best to remediate deteriorating masonry.