A Climate of Changing Infrastructure

By Pumudu K. 

With the increase in awareness of climate change, there is also increasing concern about the impact it will have on infrastructure. There is an urgently increasing need to plan for highways, roads, homes, buildings and other infrastructure undertakings. This also applies to existent infrastructure, which must endure the effects of climate change, effects they were not designed to withstand.

The National Research Council (NRC) has voiced concerns that this is of particular concern, since Canada’s infrastructure that is in place was constructed with assumptions that are no longer applicable. The NRC has placed a call for assistance in determining what can be done regarding this, so building standards and practices can also be updated accordingly.

This is a part of a $40 million, five-year climate-resilient buildings project outlined in this year’s Federal budget. The council will seek a consultant for this project to update climate data information on everything from rain and snowfall, to seasonal temperature changes, permafrost coverings and wind pressure, for 660 locations across the country.

Experts have already noted the extreme climate changes that are taking place in Canada. Examples of this have been melting permafrost in the North of the country, and coastal erosion from rising sea levels which have become prominent. In the South, stronger and more frequent storms and unusual rainfalls have created problems which have not been taken into account with current infrastructure.

The cost of this project also pales in comparison with the cost of Federal disaster management programs. Since 2011, the program has been spending $360 million on average, which was three times more than the cost during the decade prior. The new data which will be received from this project will be used to update the national building and highway codes for 2020, which will not act as a law, but more as a model for municipalities and provinces.

For more information about this, please check the following links;

The Globe and Mail: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canada-seeks-updated-weather-predictions-in-order-to-revamp-building-codes/article36957356/

Global News: https://globalnews.ca/news/3276145/building-codes-changes-climate-change/

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