What’s New in Construction Products and Innovations—the CCMC Experience

When new or innovative construction products hit the market, building inspectors in local jurisdictions are naturally concerned that the products meet the requirements of the National Building Code of Canada.

Often, manufacturers turn to the Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) at National Research Council Construction to offer an opinion as to whether the product satisfies the minimum requirements of the code.

“Once we offer a positive opinion on the likelihood that the product meets the code, local building officials have a level of comfort about accepting them in their jurisdictions,” says Hélène Roche, evaluation officer with CCMC.

What’s the trend in new construction products evaluated by CCMC? Roche and her colleagues are seeing few revolutionary products.

“I would say in general we’re seeing advancements to existing innovative products,” she says. “In many cases they’re being tweaked to reduce costs, increase performance or to make installation easier. For example, one decking product made of composite wood used to offer a UV inhibitor present throughout the entire matrix. Now they’ve extruded it in just a few millimetres on the surface of the product.”

Roche notes that the number of foamed PVC products reviewed by the CCMC — for example, foamed PVC cladding — are also on the increase.

Another small innovation involves direct-applied cladding that foregoes the typical 10 millimetre airspace offered by furring strips.

“With such a product, we need the manufacturer to show that it doesn’t adversely affect vapour barrier permeability, condensation or wind-driven rain,” she says.

CCMC can devise an evaluation protocol or technical evaluation guide at the manufacturer’s expense, so that testing at an outside laboratory reveals the appropriate information about the product. That allows CCMC to review the test data and offer an informed opinion as to whether the product complies with code.

“We’ve recently developed a protocol to evaluate new products that aim to replace gravel as a medium used beneath a floor slab to dissipate radon,” says Roche.

This article was written by Peter Kenter and published on Daily Commercial News. Republished with permission.

Interest(s): Architecture, Construction, Engineering Date: December 16, 2015