NRC announces four construction research programs to develop, validate and commercialize innovative technologies

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Canadian Design and Construction Report staff writer

The National Research Council of Canada has launched four new research programs to help the construction industry develop, validate and facilitate the market adoption of new products and systems.

“Canada is on track to become one of the largest urbanization markets in the world by 2020,” Dr. Morad Atif, the NRC’s construction portfolio general manager told a gathering at Construct Canada in December. “At NRC, we provide an agile business environment and research and technology-based solutions to address the industry’s specific needs for high performance buildings and infrastructure.”

The new research programs will make it possible to extend the lifespan of Canada’s 75,000 highway concrete bridges, construct economical and safe five to 12-storey wood buildings, and retrofit buildings such as offices, retail stores and schools to significantly reduce energy consumption.

The NRC plays a leading role in the development and deployment of building regulations and building product evaluations. One of the new programs will increase market access and intensify collaboration with provinces, territories and industry to facilitate the implementation of regulations resulting from the National Model Construction Codes.

Efforts are focused around client-driven research and development, and demonstration and validation projects. Clients and collaborators have access to multi-disciplinary technical expertise, product evaluation services and state-of-the-art national laboratories.

The new programs include:

Critical concrete infrastructure

The NRC will use its expertise in concrete infrastructure to help industry develop and validate performance materials and structural systems to extend the service life of bridges and reduce the life cycle operation and maintenance costs of both new and existing bridges. NRC will provide industry with strategic research, technical services, and large and full-scale demonstrations for high performance concrete and composite materials and reliable condition assessment technology.

Mid-rise wood buildings

The NRC is partnering with construction product manufacturers and building owners to develop technologies in order to support an increasing demand for taller wood buildings. NRC will provide clients with technical solutions to create wood-based construction products with improved durability, fire safety, acoustic performance, cost-effectiveness, and speed of construction.

High-performance buildings

The NRC will respond to market demand for high-performance energy-efficient buildings with research solutions spanning the development and validation of new products and systems, as well as monitoring in laboratories and real buildings. NRC will collaborate with industry clients on strategic projects and technical services relating to building envelope engineering, intelligent building environmental control, and interactive platforms to connect building energy systems with the Smart Grid interface.

Building regulations for market access

The NRC will provide industry clients with evaluations, designs, and technical guides to help lower the cost, risk and time required to commercialize and demonstrate compliance of new building products and systems. NRC will use an improved, research-based approach to building code development to validate performance levels and assessment methods. These will help to resolve market barriers and increase sales of innovative products.

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