Canadian Contractor

Brynna Leslie   

Masons launch campaign against National Building Code's anticipated wood-frame provisions

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“An attack ad has reignited a simmering feud between the Canadian wood industry and rival groups in the construction sector,” according to an article in the Edmonton Journal.

Since British Columbia introduced its Wood First Act in 2009, the Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association (CCMPA) has been doing what it can do discredit wood structures. The National Building Code to be released in 2015 is also expected to allow for six-storey wood-framed structures, which the CCMPA believes is a dangerous precedent.

“In Canada, over the past several years, there has been a political push across the country by the wood industry to advance wood-friendly policies,” noted the CCMPA in a press release.

“These political policies are wholly self-indulgent. They limit and undermine the professional freedom and good judgment of a designer to choose the best material for the application. They undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the building codes. They legislate advantage, protection, and gain for one industry at the expense of others by interfering with market-driven forces and restricting fair and open competition.”

Most recently the CCMPA has put full-page ads in major Canadian newspapers, including the Toronto Star and the Edmonton Journal. The ads feature pictures of the Oklahoma tornado in May this year, with a caption that reads “Wood first?” The CCMPA claims wood is inferior to other materials, due to its susceptibility to insects, weather and fire.

“We ignite wood in our firepits and fireplaces,” the CCMPA writes. “There can be no more simple and demonstrative evidence that wood burns. It is this basic.”

“I’m not quite sure why they’re picking on us,” Michael Giroux, president of the Canadian Wood Council, told the Edmonton Journal. “It is unfortunate to see an ad like that. It does seem misplaced. They seem to be talking about another era of wood products. There have been a lot of advances made. There are much stronger, safer and more sophisticated products now.”




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