Snow melt

Standards set to save buildings in Canada’s North

Monday, January 12, 2015

Canada has introduced new national standards in an effort to help mitigate the damaging effects of climate change on northern infrastructure.

The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and CSA Group announced two National Standards of Canada (NSC) developed as part of the Northern Infrastructure Standardization Initiative.

An advisory committee, from regional and Northern territorial governments, has collaborated with the SCC on the policies.

Gianluca Arcari, executive director of standards and vice-president of the CSA Group, said these standards will “contribute to building a solid future for communities in the far North.”

The first standard, moderating the effects of permafrost degradation on existing foundations, is important because permafrost can destabilize building structures.

Various buildings in the north were designed long before climate change became a popular issue, so there are many of these existing structures.

This standard provides ways to maintain, assess and reduce permafrost loss.

The second standard involves managing changing snow load risks for existing buildings. As Arctic regions are experiencing more extreme snowfalls, this standard was designed to update communities about safe snow removal for rooftops and lessen occupant risk from increasing snow accumulation and ice damage.