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February 08, 2008— Ottawa, Ontario

Building a stronger Canada

Construction is one of Canada's largest and most valuable sectors as it maintains and repairs over $5.5 trillion in material goods. This industry is responsible for building Canada's physical infrastructure and provides shelter and transportation facilities for its citizens, businesses, industries and institutions. It employs over one million Canadians through 260,000 firms – mostly of small and medium size. It has a major bearing on the quality of life of Canadians as it defines the built environment in which most Canadians live and work.

The National Research Council Institute for Research in Construction (NRC-IRC) is the leading construction research agency in Canada. It contributes to safety and efficiency in construction through its code support and product evaluation services and has been involved in the construction industry for over 60 years. In fact, the Council is responsible for the National Model Building Code, which was first published in 1941 and has since then ensured the safety, health and accessibility of buildings as well as protection against fire and structural damage.

Many of our construction projects involve NRC scientists specialized in fields such as information technology, industrial materials, microstructural sciences, fuel cells and aerospace. We strongly support this type of cross-NRC collaborative research as it leverages our multidisciplinary competencies.

Some of the research we are currently working on includes developing luminance-based lighting controls to enhance energy savings; improving window efficiency and reducing mould growth in buildings; studying residential smoke alarms, and researching how fire spreads through wall and floor joints; improving acoustics for classrooms and open-style offices; researching the effect of aging water mains on water quality; and analyzing the sustainability of concrete structures.

NRC also recently began exploring the use of nanotechnology in various construction applications, including new, more durable and fire-retardant materials for buildings and bridges. By using this innovative technology, we are able to produce materials and devices with unique properties that cannot be achieved using traditional materials.

In addition, NRC is taking bold steps to ensure that federally funded research supports new ways of maintaining and developing community lifelines, such as drinking water, storm water and waste water systems, by encouraging the growth of Regina's sustainable urban infrastructure cluster initiative.

Moreover, NRC is finalizing its Construction Key Sector Plan, which will provide greater access to the Council's leading knowledge workers and expertise to support Canadian businesses as they bring groundbreaking innovation to market.

Through these various construction applications, NRC is helping to implement the Government of Canada's science and technology strategy by transferring its discoveries to the private sector, by focusing its research in areas of national interest, and by attracting and retaining a highly-skilled workforce needed to thrive in the global economy.  

As we move ahead, NRC will encourage the construction industry to become more competitive and to foster safe and sustainable built environments. We will continue to encourage the convergence of innovative technologies with this sector to allow more sustainable development and economic growth.

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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