First the Leaky Condo Crisis and now this:
Firefighters blame lax building codeBuilding codes in Canada are another example of where politics trumps common sense. Does it make sense that what is reasonable to build in Ontario would withstand the environmental pressures in Victoria? Of course not. That's why we have a national building code that provinces use to base their provincial building code standards off of. But when provinces hell bent for development--of which, BC and Alberta, stand out--ignore the common sense ramifications of engineered product suitable for one climate and not another, we get debacles like the Leaky Condo Crisis.
Firefighters said it was only a matter of time before a fire of this magnitude broke out in the area, blaming poor construction materials and lax building codes.
Damage could have been minimized, they said, if building codes required a greater distance between houses and required certain types of siding to be used.
"We're grateful that no one was injured.… However, we have devastated a community emotionally," said fire department spokeswoman Nikki Booth. "A fire of this size and this magnitude definitely creates tremendous trauma to the community and we'd like to see that those code changes come into place." emphasis mine
What's interesting about that crisis is that it's not a Vancouver problem, nor is it limited to condos. It was a national building code problem that became an issue for moist environments: anywhere on the west coast fits this description; from Prince Rupert all the way down to Victoria. Sure condos get the attention, after all they are a loud collective voice. But houses were built using the same code. I know of dozens of houses in this town that have had significant structural "surgery" to fix moisture related damage to their "bones." I've lived in some and seen work done to others. I live in one right now.
The Edmonton Fire Service is blaming engineered wood products for a lack of ability to withstand fire. Apparently engineered joists and trusses go up a lot quicker than their solid wood counterparts. Fair enough. Perhaps not surprisingly, vinyl siding burns quicker and hotter than other products. And guess what?, when you build houses too close together, you increase the risk of one fire growing into two, or in the Edmonton case, 10.
This is where economics come in. In a time of astronomical housing price increases, developers build as fast as buyers buy, and quite often not as fast as buyers buy. The cheaper the cost to build, the bigger the profit. Real wood costs money. Engineered wood products cost less money. Common sense says we'll see much more engineered products in new construction and renovations.
Not to put 2 and 2 into 4 or anything, but I'm guessing with the current push to develop anything and everything into a wealth generating vehicle, from amateur condo flippers to publicly held RE development corporations, we're in for some nightmarish times in the next decade as consumers. Write your MLA. Write your MP.