Session 5.6 The Changing Climate and National Building Codes and Standards

Wednesday, 4 August 2010: 2:45 PM
Crestone Peak I & II (Keystone Resort)
Heather Auld, EC, Toronto, ON, Canada; and J. Klaassen, R. E. Morris, S. Fernandez, S. Eng, and V. Cheng

Presentation PDF (303.9 kB)

Climate change has the potential to impact the safety of existing structures, increase the frequency of weather-related disasters, accelerate premature weathering of structures, change climatic design criteria for codes and standards and alter engineering practices. Opportunities will also emerge and these too will require adaptation considerations. Since almost all of today's infrastructure has been designed using climatic design values derived from historical climate data, any changes in future climates will require modifications to how structures are engineered, maintained and operated. As infrastructure built in current times is intended to survive for decades to come, it is critically important that adaptation options for the changing climate be developed today and that future climate changes be incorporated into infrastructure design whenever possible. “No regrets” and other interim approaches are needed for the design of new infrastructure and for building codes and standards. These approaches will need to bridge the historical climatic design information with observed trends and the uncertainties of future projected climate changes. At the same time, existing infrastructure will become increasingly at risk and will need to be assessed, risk managed and prioritized for new vulnerabilities, the variable lifecycles of structures and for replacement and maintenance cycles. This paper will outline some of the varied information and processes that will need to be considered to incorporate climate change adaptation into the next cycles of National Building Codes and Standards and will address new national standards being developed in Canada to address the realities of our changing climate.
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