All posts by Cindy Macdonald

Clock tower restoration covered in free e-book

Building with Masonry contains the tale of the restoration of the clock tower in Huntsville, Ont.
Photo © Kevin Hughes

The Town Hall in Huntsville, Ont., is a two-storey, multi-wythe brick masonry structure in the Classical Revival style. During a restoration of its aging clock tower, extensive deterioration of the multi-wythe masonry wall was discovered. After some investigation, the scope of brick repair work was eventually modified to include the full removal and replacement of the multi-wythe brick masonry on all four sides of the tower.

Read the full story of this restoration in the latest addition to Construction Canada’s series of sponsored e-books, Building with Masonry.

This e-book provides a detailed look at adhered masonry walls, stacked stone, energy code compliance, and rebuilding aging masonry.

Readers will learn why drainage and ventilation planes must be used for adhered masonry walls in order to meet more stringent energy standards, and techniques to meet the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings requirements using the trade-off compliance path.

In addition, the improper use of traditional masonry ties and stacked stone in thin cladding projects is discussed.

Download the Building with Masonry e-book in two different formats—pdf or digital edition—by visiting https://constructioncanada.net/ebook/hb-building-with-masonry-e-book/

 

How to meet energy code requirements covered in masonry e-book

Low-rise multi-family residential building in Edmonton.
Photo courtesy Alberta Masonry Council

Masonry is a 5000-year-old building technology proven to perform well in all types of built environments, given its inherent resistance to fire, insects, and moisture degradation. However, this traditional technology must adapt to meet modern construction requirements, including high RSI/R-values, effective moisture management, and more efficient use of space.

An article exploring techniques to meet the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB) requirements using the trade-off compliance path is included in the latest addition to Construction Canada’s series of sponsored e-books.

Building with Masonry provides a detailed look at the technical aspects of designing masonry wall assemblies and restoration of deteriorated masonry buildings. This four-part e-book covers adhered masonry walls, stacked stone, energy code compliance, and rebuilding aging masonry.

Readers will learn why drainage and ventilation planes must be used for adhered masonry walls in order to meet more stringent energy standards, and read about the restoration of multi-wythe brick masonry on a clock tower in Huntsville, Ont. In addition, the improper use of traditional masonry ties and stacked stone in thin cladding projects is discussed.

Download the Building with Masonry e-book in two different formats—pdf or digital edition—by visiting https://constructioncanada.net/ebook/hb-building-with-masonry-e-book/

E-book covers drainage and ventilation for adhered masonry walls

Thin brick veneer popped off the substrate.
Photo courtesy Mortar Net Solutions

In masonry cavity walls, the cavity provides a path for drainage and ventilation and acts as a capillary break. However, adhered masonry veneers, like stucco, have been installed for hundreds of years without drainage or ventilation. So why do we need to add drainage and ventilation planes to adhered masonry walls now? The short answer is energy standards.

More details on the use of drainage materials with adhered masonry veneers is available in the latest addition to Construction Canada’s series of sponsored e-books.  Building with Masonry provides a detailed look at the technical aspects of designing masonry wall assemblies and restoration of deteriorated masonry buildings.

This four-part e-book covers adhered masonry walls, stacked stone, energy code compliance, and rebuilding aging masonry.

Readers will learn techniques to meet the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings requirements using the trade-off compliance path, and read about the restoration of multi-wythe brick masonry on a clock tower in Huntsville, Ont. In addition, the improper use of traditional masonry ties and stacked stone in thin cladding projects is discussed.

Download the Building with Masonry e-book in two different formats—pdf or digital edition—by visiting https://constructioncanada.net/ebook/hb-building-with-masonry-e-book/

 

Québec aims to keep organized crime out of construction

Quebec flag in Old Quebec
New regulations in Québec are intended to combat fraud and corruption in the construction sector.
Photo © Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons

New rules to combat fraud and corruption in Québec’s construction industry took effect in early September. The regulations stem from several recommendations of the Charbonneau Commission, a public inquiry into potential corruption in the management of public construction contracts.

Bill 162, An Act to Amend the Building Act and Other Legislative Provisions Mainly to Give Effect to Certain Charbonneau Commission Recommendations, was adopted by the Québec National Assembly in May, 2018.

The provincial agency that regulates the construction industry, Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ), says the measures to clean up the construction industry give it “the necessary powers to fully contribute to efforts to prevent and fight against fraudulent practices and corruption in the construction industry.”

RBQ says the rigourous framework prevents the infiltration of organized crime and counteracts unfair competition faced by honest entrepreneurs.

The Act will tighten the conditions for the issuance and maintenance of a license under the Building Act, by adding specific offenses covered by other Acts, such as the trafficking, production, or importation of drugs; money laundering; conspiracy; bid rigging; fraud; collusion; and corruption.

In addition, provisions are included to expand the agency’s audit and investigation powers, and to better protect whistleblowers.

Explaining the new regulations, Maude Brouillette of Stikeman Elliott LLP, notes the RBQ will also now require “a performance bond or a bond for pledges, materials, and services from any contractor in order to ensure the continuation of the work and the payment of creditors in the event of cancellation or suspension of a licence.”

Download our free Building with Masonry e-book

Two-storey brick building with clock tower, blue sky.
Construction Canada’s series of sponsored e-books continues with a detailed look at the technical aspects of designing masonry wall assemblies.

New techniques and products for drainage, ventilation, and attachment are changing the rules for an age-old construction method: masonry.  Construction Canada’s series of sponsored e-books continues with a detailed look at the technical aspects of designing masonry wall assemblies and restoring deteriorated masonry.

Building with Masonry is a four-part e-book covering adhered masonry walls, stacked stone, energy code compliance, and rebuilding aging masonry.

Readers will learn why drainage and ventilation planes must be used for adhered masonry walls in order to meet more stringent energy standards, and techniques to meet the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings requirements using the trade-off compliance path.

In addition, the improper use of traditional masonry ties and stacked stone in thin cladding projects is discussed.

Finally, a case study presents the restoration of multi-wythe brick masonry on all four sides of a clock tower in Huntsville, Ont.

Download the Building with Masonry e-book in two different formats—pdf or digital edition—by visiting https://constructioncanada.net/ebook/hb-building-with-masonry-e-book/

 

Door standards seminar planned for Toronto

A new standard harmonizes Canadian and U.S. safety requirements for automated door and gate operators.
Photo courtesy Pixabay

New automated door and gate operator standards have arrived in Canada. The new standard, American National Standards Institute/Underwriters Laboratories ANSI/CAN/UL 325, Standard For Safety For Door, Drapery, Gate, Louver, and Window Operators and Systems, has been adopted as the National Standard of Canada, approved by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). It harmonizes Canadian and U.S. safety requirements for automated door and gate operators.

Learn how ANSI/CAN/UL 325 impacts your work at a lunch presentation on Sept. 11 in Toronto.

Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA) and the Canadian Door Institute of Dealers, Manufacturers and Distributors (CDI) worked as part of the UL 325 Standards Technical Panel to successfully publish ANSI/CAN/UL 325 as a joint Canada-United States National Standard. The technical panel also received input from approximately 40 U.S. and Canadian industry representatives.

This standard is expected to be published in the 2018 Canadian Electric Code, and over the next few years will likely be adopted by provincial regulators. In 2018, products certified by UL complying with the new standard will be available on the market.

This lunch and learn session would be of interest to anyone involved in the specification, installation, and manufacture of automated doors and gate operators.

The session is presented by LiftMaster, and sponsored by UL Canada. It takes place September 11, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Underwriters Laboratories, 7 Underwriters Road, Toronto. Lunch is provided.

For details or to RSVP, contact SPECS@LiftMaster.com

 

Global coalition tackles fire safety standards for buildings

The International Fire Safety Standards Coalition is committed to developing a shared set of standards for fire safety in buildings. Shown is the Grenfell Tower fire on June 14, 2017.
Photo © Natalie Oxford, via Wikimedia Commons

More than 30 organizations from around the world have joined forces to develop landmark industry standards to address fire safety in buildings. The group, known as the International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) Coalition, was launched at the United Nations in early July.

The coalition consists of local and international professional bodies and standard-setting organizations committed to developing a shared set of standards for fire safety in buildings. The standards aim to set and reinforce the minimum requirements to which professionals should adhere to ensure building safety in the event of a fire.

According to the coalition, the property market has become increasingly international with investments flowing across national borders, but the sector lacks a consistent set of high-level global standards that will inform the design, construction, and management of buildings to address the risks associated with fire safety.

“All over the world we see the need for more high-rise structures, some residential, some commercial, and some mixed-use buildings, particularly in cities. Our concern is not with the height of these buildings but with the risks they pose in the absence of a coherent and harmonized approach to setting global standards in fire safety. The effort by the IFSS Coalition aims to address this concern and bring together the design, construction and management aspects of ensuring fire safety of building assets,” explained Gary Strong, RICS global building standards director and chair of the IFSS Coalition.

RICS is a global professional body promoting and enforcing the highest international standards in the valuation, management and development of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.

The group says differences in materials testing and certification, national building regulations or codes, and standards on how to manage buildings cause confusion, uncertainty, and risk to the public.

Once the high-level standards are developed, the IFSS Coalition will work with professionals around the world to deliver the standards locally. As its first order of business, the IFSS Coalition will set up a Standards Setting Committee of international technical fire experts to develop and write the high-level standards.

Coalition worried further steel tariffs would limit supply

Welder in a steel fabrication shop.
A group of steel suppliers, fabricators and importers have expressed concerns about the effect that any additional tariffs would have on the construction sector.
Photo courtesy Walters Group

Following the implementation of surtaxes on certain steel and aluminum products from the U.S. as countermeasures to U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, the Canadian Coalition for Construction Steel is urging the government to be cautious about taking further action related to steel imports from other countries. The group says potential “safeguard measures” affecting imports from other trading partners could severely disrupt the construction industry in Canada.

“We support the federal government’s measured response to the U.S. tariffs and we understand the difficult choices the government had to make in deciding which products to target,” says Anoop Khosla, managing director of Midvalley Rebar, a construction steel fabricator and coalition member in Surrey, B.C. “However, we are worried the government is considering safeguard measures – some combination of tariffs or quotas – on imports of rebar and other construction steel from Canada’s other trading partners.”

Canadian Coalition for Construction Steel is an ad-hoc group formed in response to the current tariff situation, representing construction steel suppliers, fabricators, service centres, and importers from across the country.

According to the coalition, Canada’s construction sector depends heavily on imported steel products. It says Canada’s steel producers only have the capacity to supply about 50 per cent of domestic demand for construction steel. Canada has historically relied on the United States for half of the remaining demand. “For the rest, Canada has always needed and will continue to need steel imported from outside of North America. That need is more acute than ever now that U.S. imports are subject to Canadian retaliatory tariffs,” says a coalition statement.

Construction steel prices have risen dramatically in the past six months and are already near record highs, the group reports. It is worried without access to imports from other countries, the construction sector will face shortages of many types of steel and still higher prices. For example, the group says the New Champlain Bridge replacement in Montréal uses steel plate and stainless steel rebar that are not produced in Canada.

Supply issues for construction steel are said to be particularly acute for British Columbia and Atlantic Canada.

The coalition is urging the Government of Canada to engage in broad consultations with steel users and to make sure it has the full picture before imposing further supply restrictions.

Walter Koppelaar, CEO of Walters Group, a steel fabricator and Coalition member in Hamilton, Ont., offers a stark warning: “Many countries are affected by the U.S. tariffs, but putting up barriers to construction steel from those countries will be a self-inflicted wound to our economy. It will mean cancelled projects and higher construction costs for bridges, roads, and new homes. And for every job potentially protected in a Canadian steel mill, 10 or more downstream jobs will be put at risk.”

Ontario education centre earns Living Building certification

Wood and stone forest education centre at night.
Designed by Dialog, this forest education centre has met all seven “petals” of the Living Building Challenge. It is the first LBC-certified project in Canada.
Photo courtesy York Region

The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre in Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ont., has been awarded Living Building Challenge certification—the most rigorous sustainability standard in the world—by the International Living Future Institute.

“A truly inspirational example of forest stewardship and regenerative building construction, the Bill Fisch Forest and Stewardship Education Centre integrates with the local ecology and becomes one with its forest neighbors,” said Amanda Sturgeon, CEO of the International Living Future Institute. “The Centre is a model example of humanity’s ability to reconcile our relationship with nature.”

Designed by Dialog, the building has met all seven “petals” (performance areas) of the Living Building Challenge (LBC). It is the first LBC-certified project in Canada, and one of only 21 buildings achieving full LBC certification worldwide, according to the Institute.

From the beginning, the building owner, The Regional Municipality of York, conveyed to Dialog that they wanted the new 370-m2 (4000-sf) building to be “the greenest education centre ever built.” To achieve this goal, Dialog brought together an interdisciplinary team that included architects, engineers, and interior designers, as well as forest education experts, arborists, and ecologists to design a building that would be net-zero energy, net-zero water, and offer an inspired place of learning with a projected 90-year life-cycle.

“When we learned about this project we said to ourselves – what a great opportunity! We can bring all of our understanding, our ideals, our integrated design methodology, and our passion together in one symbolic project,” says Craig Applegath, Dialog principal in charge.

According to the International Living Future Institute, “Living buildings give more than they take, creating a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them.” Successful projects demonstrate excellence in seven performance areas over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.

Material selection was challenging

Meeting the red-list requirements for a Living Building under the Materials petal was the most challenging aspect of achieving this certification. This required the complete elimination of 20 chemicals of concern which include carcinogens, toxinogens, mutagens, persistent bio-accumulative chemicals, and hormone disruptors. According to Dialog, a materials advocacy letter was issued to approximately 10,000 suppliers to request health product declarations and environmental product declarations for all products.

The use of wood in the design was integral to the building’s performance and appropriate to its function as a forest education centre. The structure was built almost entirely of laminated and cross-laminated timber (CLT), all of which was sustainably harvested (per FSC certification) or recycled wood, and was designed to be easily disassembled and recycled in the future when the Bill Fisch Centre comes to the end of its useful life. The project’s exterior wood cladding, for example, was salvaged and repurposed from the an old Cascades warehouse in Toronto.

“Opportunities of this sort don’t come along very often. We knew if we wanted to do a LBC building, this was our chance,” recalls Charles Marshall, sustainability consultant at Dialog. “It’s a nice flat site, incorporates natural storm water management, natural infiltration, and at the same time, this site demands that you do something special.”

The Living Building achievement is in addition to this project’s many other significant accomplishments, including:

• Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification
• Public Project of the Year – American Public Works Association
• Public Project of the Year – Ontario Public Works Association Canadian
• Green Building Award – Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)
• Leadership Award – Forest Stewardship Council
• Environmental Building Award – Canadian Wood Council