Bad Weather? Build Above Code

Canada's Top 10 Weather Stories for 2009 have been released by Environment Canada, and some of the ground-breaking (forgive the pun) news would make you think twice about where you choose to buy a home or, at the least, about the types of renovations you're doing.

Some scary weather highlights from the year just passed:

  • For the first time in nine years, multiple deaths from tornadoes occurred in Canada
  • Hamilton, Ontario saw more than 100 mm of rain fall in 90 minutes!
  • Property damage from weather extremes cost Canadian insurers millions of dollars – one of the most expensive years ever
  • An Alberta hail storm was likely the second or third most expensive weather event in Canadian history
  • Major ice-jam flooding in Manitoba along the Red River, and in New Brunswick along the Saint John River

While there's nothing you can do to prevent the howling winds and precipitation that wrack our nation, you might consider going beyond the building code when you are having renovations done to your home.

Despite the additional cost involved in reinforcing your foundation, walls, windows and roof, that investment is your best protection (aside from insurance) from the potential risks of intense precipitation, erratic winter temperatures, drought, flooding and even hurricanes and tornadoes.Advanced materials, building techniques are all worth investigating - whether it's a brand new home or older home you purchase.

Climate Change Should Influence Building Codes

In Canada, weather experts have gone on the record in recent years that building codes need to adjust to climate change. The codes, generally set by federal or provincial governments, "are designed for the weather of the past as opposed to the weather of the future," leading climatologist Gordon McBean has said.

Starting this year, the National Building Code will be reissued every five years; until now, it was every 10 years.

Mike Holmes, TV star of Holmes on Holmes, has concerns about Canadian homes not being built or renovated to standards needed for bad weather. He writes: "If you live in tornado alley in the U.S., or even in Canada - we get an average of 80 tornadoes every year believe it or not - you need to build smarter...  I’d love to design and build a house that would piss off a tornado.... I’d built it out of bricks — or concrete — and designed low to the ground. And I’d anchor it and do it above National Building Code standards."

Have you experienced home damage from particularly nasty weather? Did it result in you renovating your home "above code"? Leave your stories here.

1 Comment

  1. H Auld 06/25/2011 at 10:41 AM

    For a brief description of recent tornado risk maps and their application to the National Building Code of Canada, see the following...,viewfull&po=4008C164

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