Sunday, February 2, 2014
Via the Montreal Gazette:
Quebec’s building code is sorely outdated to meet the challenges of the province’s aging population, say civil engineers in the wake of the tragic fire at a seniors’ residence in L’Isle-Verte. Quebec’s Code of Construction is revised every five years by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec, and is based largely on the National Building Code of Canada. The Quebec code has a whole section devoted to hotels and motels, for example, but nothing specifically aimed at the growth industry of retirement homes for the elderly.
Instead, there are scattered references to “supervised residences” throughout the code, which is three inches thick and contains hundreds of rules on everything from energy efficiency to fire protection.
Jacques Béty, a McGill University-trained engineer and expert in water sprinklers, said the construction code relies on medical definitions of the elderly that don’t make sense in a building context. The rules also distinguish between “autonomous” and “non-autonomous” individuals — a distinction, he argued, that doesn’t make sense during an emergency.At present, the rules stipulate that a supervised residence can have “autonomous” or “non-autonomous” tenants, or a mixture of both — as was the case at the Résidence du Havre in L’Isle-Verte.
Read more in the Montreal Gazette.