Resilience, life-cycle performance, architectural versatility and the building codes that shape sustainable design.

Increasingly, the need for affordable is housing is presenting a challenge in urban centres. With its intrinsic qualities, concrete presents a long-term solution to meet the needs of owners and occupants, with benefits that include: When used in combination with passive and/or active radiant and cooling systems, concrete’s thermal mass can significantly reduce operational costs. With its strength and durability, concrete can stand up to the wear and tear associated with occupancy turnover and reduce maintenance costs. Concrete can be customized and modular, cast-in-place or precast for speedier on-site assembly, as required. Precast concrete can be deconstructed and reassembled at another location to accommodate future priorities. Concrete can be adapted for future use to suit a large variety of purposes.

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Building codes outline the minimum performance requirements for construction materials across Canada, including considerations for structural design, fire safety, and resilience against disaster. Use of the most up to date editions of these codes is a particularly critical aspect of engineering design, and the Cement Association of Canada is actively involved in many building code committees representing the interests of the cement and concrete industry.

The comfort and quality of a building’s indoor environment can be affected by the materials used in its construction. Concrete is widely used in healthcare construction because it dampens vibration associated with specialized equipment, and this same property is ideal for acoustic installation in multifamily homes and office spaces. Concrete is also an inert, emission-free material that does not emit any gas, toxic compounds or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Whether you’re designing a single-family residential home, parkade structure, hospital, office tower, or tall hybrid building, concrete is an essential element of nearly every building type. Concrete is relied upon for its unparalleled strength, durability and versatility, from the building envelope to the structural core.

Thermal performance and operational energy savings over the lifecycle of a building are critical aspects of design. The environmental impacts of buildings over their lifetimes are determined by several factors including materials, design, construction, use (i.e., energy consumption), and demolition. Depending on location, studies have shown emissions from building operation account for 88% - 98% of the lifecycle global warming potential.

The severity and frequency of climate-related events are increasing across the globe, which has necessitated a shift toward mitigative and adaptive design strategies from building to community designs, and beyond. The increased climatic loads have leads to reduced safety and serviceability, higher probability of failure and increased rates of deterioration, and higher costs for maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement of structures. When planning for resilience, insurance studies have shown that for every $1 invested in mitigation, $4-$100 is avoided in future costs. Concrete doesn’t burn, rust, or rot. It is resistant to fire, wind, water, vibrations, and earthquakes, keeping people safer and reducing costs. In the aftermath of extreme weather events, concrete structures have proven to be the most resilient.

As the most used construction material in the world, concrete has a unique role to play in creating a sustainable built environment.

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