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Code and Standards

In Canada, building codes are important tools for achieving social goals related to health, safety and accessibility. In addition, they are increasingly used as a means of achieving other goals such as increasing energy efficiency, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, and achieving sustainability.

Building codes are based on standards set by standards bodies like the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the American Society for Testing and Materials Codes (ASTM). The manufacture of cement, concrete and concrete products in Canada is governed by a variety of Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards. These standards form the backbone of the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) and of provincial building codes. Industry specifications and guidelines also cite CSA standards for other forms of construction not governed by Canadian building codes.

Canadian Commission On Building And Fire Codes (CCBFC)

Formulation of the model national codes, including the model National Building Code (NBC), is the responsibility of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) – an independent commission that is responsible for all decisions regarding model codes in Canada. The CCBFC is comprised of volunteers who approach the issues from three different perspectives – one third are building regulators, one third are from various parts of the building industry, and one third have a more general perspective on the issues. Committees are created using a "balanced matrix" approach, which means that each committee is structured to capitalize on the combined strengths and expertise of its members - with no single group dominating. Each committee considers the views of all participants and develops the details of the standard by a consensus process, which includes the principles of inclusive participation, transparency and respect for diverse interests.

The CCBFC oversees 7 standing committees, of which three are of major interest to the cement and concrete industries. These are:

  • Standing Committee on Structural Design (NBC Part 4)

  • Standing Committee on Housing and Small Buildings (NBC Part 9)

  • Standing Committee on Fire Protection (NBC Part 3 & National Fire Code)

The Standing Committee on Structural Design is responsible for structural design requirements in the 2005 National Model Codes relating to:

  • Structural loads and procedures

  • Excavations and foundation design

  • Design requirements for structural materials (wood, masonry, concrete, steel, aluminum, glass)

  • Design requirements for special structures (air-supported structures, parking structures)

The Standing Committee on Housing and Small Buildings is responsible for all requirements in Part 9 Housing and Small Buildings of the 2005 National Building Code (NBC) and their related appendix notes and for the technical content of its ancillary documents
[e.g. National Housing Code 1998 and Illustrated Guide (NHC&IG)].

The Standing Committee on Fire Protection is responsible for requirements for building components and systems, including construction and demolition sites, in the 2005 National Model Codes relating to:

  • Structural fire protection

  • Combustibility of building materials

  • Fire spread within buildings, including smoke movement

  • Fire spread to adjacent buildings

  • Suppression of fires

  • Fire protection of fire alarm and detection systems

Canadian Standards Association (CSA), American Concrete Institute (ACI)
And American Society For Testing And Materials Codes (ASTM)

The CSA manages the following standards for the cement, masonry and concrete industries:


  • SSC(Design)

  • SSC(Masonry)

  • A3000 Cement

  • A23.1/.2Concrete

  • A23.3 Concrete Design

  • S413 Parking Structures

  • S304.1 Masonry Design

  • A179 Mortar

  • S6 Bridge TC

  • S6 Concrete Subcommittee

  • A864 AAR Guide

  • A370 Masonry Construction

  • A371 Masonry Connectors

  • A806 FRP

ACI manages the following standards:

  • ACI 216 Fire Resistance

  • ACI 232 – Fly Ash and Natural Pozzolans in Concrete

  • ACI 233 – Ground Slag in Concrete

  • ACI 355 Anchorage

  • ACI 544 – Fiber Reinforced Concrete

ASTM manages the following standards:

  • ASTM:C01-Cement

  • ASTM C09-Concrete & Concrete Aggregates

CAC Contribution To Codes And Standards

Standards are living documents, continually revised and refreshed to address changing requirements and emerging technologies. Each standard is reviewed at least every five years as part of a process of continual improvement. The model National Building Code of Canada is also updated on a 5-year cycle. The latest release, dated 2005, was issued in 2006.

Because of the strategic, long-term importance of standards in general and their relationship to the model National Building Code, CAC is actively involved in the committees that develop them, and chairs some of those committees. The Cement Association of Canada participates in all meetings of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC), as well as the meetings of the Standing Committees for Structural Design (NBC Part 4), Housing (Part 9) and Fire protection (NBC Part 3 & National Fire Code).

CAC’s participation in this work ensures that the National Building Code favours the use of concrete solutions when applicable or at the very least does not restrict the use of concrete. In addition, our participation ensures that cement/concrete based innovations in building materials are codified and adopted in a timely manner.

In addition, CAC coordinates industry funding for the CSA standards and is constantly looking for ways to make them available for national use more cost-efficiently. Projects of current interest include the harmonization of U.S. and Canadian standards, as well as the potential adoption of non- North American standards such as ISO.

Canadian Standards For Cement And Concrete Products


All cement used in concrete construction in Canada is manufactured to the CSA A3000 compendium of cement standards. The standards that make up the A3000 compendium are as follows:
  • A3001 - Cementitious Materials for Use in Concrete
  • A3002 - Masonry and Mortar Cement
  • A3003 - Chemical Test Methods for Cementitious Materials for Use in Concrete and Masonry
  • A3004 - Physical Test Methods for Cementitious Materials for Use in Concrete and Masonry
  • A3005 - Test Equipment and Materials for Cementitious Materials for Use in Concrete and Masonry


The vast majority of concrete manufactured in Canada conforms to the requirements of the following standards.
  • CSA A23.1 - Concrete Materials and Methods of Concrete Construction
  • CSA A23.2 - Methods of Test and Standard Practices for Concrete

Concrete Products

Precast concrete, in addition to meeting the requirements of CSA A23.1 and A23.2, must also meet the requirements of CSA A23.4 - Precast Concrete - Materials and Construction, and A251 - Qualification Code for Architectural and Structural Precast Concrete Products.

Paving Slabs

  • A231.1 - Precast Concrete Paving Slabs
  • A231.2 - Precast Concrete Pavers

Concrete Poles

  • CSA A14 - Concrete Poles

Concrete Roof Tiles

  • CSA A220 - Roof Tiles consists of three standards:
  • CSA A220.0 - Performance of Concrete Roof Tiles
  • CSA A220.1 - Installation of Concrete Roof Tiles
  • CSA A220.2 - Plant Certification for Manufacturers of Concrete Roof Tiles

Concrete Pipe

  • A257 Concrete Pipe Series ( five standards):
  • A257-M92 series: NSC
  • A257.0 - Methods for Determining Physical Properties of Circular Concrete Pipe

Manhole Sections, Catch Basins & Fittings

  • A257.1 - Circular Concrete Culvert, Storm Drain, Sewer Pipe & Fittings
  • A257.2 - Reinforced Circular Concrete Culvert, Storm Drain, Sewer Pipe & Fittings
  • A257.3 - Joints for Circular Concrete Sewer and Culvert Pipe, Manhole Sections, and Fittings Using Rubber Gaskets
  • A257.4 - Precast Reinforced Circular Manhole Sections, Catchbasins and Fittings

Qualification of Testing Laboratories

  • CSA A283 - Qualification Code for Concrete Testing Labs

Management of AAR Affected Structures

  • A864 - Guideline on the Evaluation and Management of Structures Affected by Alkali Aggregate Reaction

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