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Year in Review

Our CCMPA Year in Review

Dear CCMPA Members & Friends, We are winding down on yet another successful (albeit challenging) year!  There were two strong areas of focus for us this year; industry collaboration and allyship; and I would say both were a success! As we continue to face increasing pressure from other building materials, masonry finds itself in a position where we need to quantify data and support of CMU as a leading building material, and work as a team with strong defense. This approach guided our 2023 research and learning initiatives, and we will continue to drive this forward into 2024. Because the holidays are quickly approaching, CCMPA thought we would provide you some leisurely reading material for the break! Below is an extensive collection of industry snapshots encapsulating a lot of the really great initiatives that the levy dollars helped us achieve as a team in 2023! I am proud of the progress we have made as an industry this year, and being able to visit all the market areas afforded me the opportunity to see first hand the incredible work being done.  As we know, defense of masonry needs to be a full team effort, and you can clearly see from the updates below that we are achieving this on a national level. We are looking forward to 2024, and are planning several initiatives to build on the success of 2023. More updates to follow, stay tuned! Wishing you all the best this holiday season, And an incredible 2024, Andrea, Justin and the CCMPA BODImportant 2024 CCMPA Dates:January 11th – Q1 Kickoff Meeting & (Post) Holiday Luncheon, Delta Airport Hotel, Toronto, OntarioSeptember 19th – CCMPA AGM, Nottawasaga Resort & Golf, Alliston, Ontario.  


The AEMQ has had a productive and eventful 2023. This Year in Review report highlights key events, achievements, and activities that have shaped our organization over the past months.

Rendez-vous de la maçonnerie :

The year kicked off with great enthusiasm as we hosted the Rendez-vous de la maçonnerie. This event featured a series of exhibitors where various companies and experts showcased their latest innovations and products related to the world of masonry. The annual event serves as a valuable platform for our members to connect, share insights, and discuss the latest industry trends. We were honored to have industry experts deliver engaging presentations, shedding light on cutting-edge masonry techniques and sustainable construction. The event’s success further solidified our commitment to fostering knowledge exchange and networking within our association.

F2 Training Workshops:

We continued our commitment to professional development by offering our signature F2 training workshops. These workshops provide our members and interested professionals such as architects and engineers with the opportunity to enhance their skills and stay updated on the ever-evolving codes and standards.

Professional Seminars:

The conferences offer technical classroom training followed by a practical masonry workshop for engineers and architects interested in masonry. During this training, Adrien Sparling, PhD, a civil engineer specializing in masonry, provides an introduction to the principles of masonry building design. André Bourassa, a retired consultant and architect, discusses how masonry integrates into a harmonious, functional, and sustainable built environment. Robert Hardy, a masonry contractor, helps highlight the challenges faced by masons on construction sites and facilitates the practical bricklaying and masonry workshop. We will grow and develop from our inaugural year where we held four such Seminars.

Industry Invitations:

We participated in several conferences, including two organized by the House of Sustainable Development (La Maison du développement durable). Additionally, we took part in a conference in collaboration with the Quebec Building Envelope Council (Conseil de l’enveloppe du bâtiment du Québec), as well as another in association with the Quebec General Contractors Corporation (La Corporation des entrepreneurs généraux du Québec). Our presence at these events has allowed us to share innovative ideas and exchange valuable knowledge in the field of sustainable development and masonry construction in Quebec.

Belle Vue Golf Tournament:

The Belle Vue Golf Tournament was a resounding success. This annual event brings our members together for a day of friendly competition and camaraderie on the greens. It’s a cherished tradition that not only fosters strong relationships within our community but also allows us to know our members more. We are proud that the tournament continues to grow year after year.

In addition to these specific events, the AEMQ remained committed to its core mission throughout the year. We advocated for industry improvements, including regulations that support sustainable construction and the use of innovative masonry technologies. Our association also continued to provide valuable resources, educational materials, and networking opportunities to our members.

Looking forward to 2024, we remain dedicated to serving our members and the masonry industry as a whole. We’ll continue to improve our training programs, advocate for industry advancements, and strengthen our community through events like the Rendez-vous de la Maçonnerie and the golf tournament.

As we conclude this Year in Review, we express our gratitude to our dedicated members, volunteers, sponsors, and partners for their unwavering support. AEMQ’s success is a testament to the unity and passion of its members, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.

Thank you for a remarkable 2023, and here’s to an even more prosperous year ahead!


 L’année 2023 a été marquée par une série d’événements exceptionnels pour l’AEMQ, mettant en lumière notre engagement envers l’excellence dans le secteur de la construction. Ce rapport annuel résume les moments forts de l’année, y compris le Rendez-vous de la maçonnerie 2023, les formations F2, la conférence sur les professionnels, invitations de l’industrie et le tournoi de golf Belle Vue 2023.

Le Rendez-vous de la maçonnerie 2023 :

Le Rendez-vous de la maçonnerie 2023 a été un succès retentissant. Notre salon des exposants a attiré des acteurs clés de l’industrie, offrant une plateforme inestimable pour l’échange d’idées et de meilleures pratiques. Nous avons pu nouer des partenariats fructueux avec de nouvelles entreprises et consolider nos relations avec des partenaires existants. Le salon a également été l’occasion de présenter les dernières avancées technologiques et matériaux dans le secteur de la maçonnerie.

Formations F2 :

Les formations F2 ont continué d’être au cœur de notre engagement envers le développement professionnel. En 2023, nous avons élargi notre programme de formations pour offrir aux membres un accès à des formations pratiques et à jour. Cela a permis à nos entrepreneurs ainsi qu’à des architectes et ingénieurs intéressés de perfectionner leurs compétences, de se tenir au courant des dernières réglementations et de renforcer leur avantage concurrentiel.

Conférences pour les professionnels :

Les conférences offrent une formation technique en salle de classe suivi d’un atelier pratique en briquetage-maçonnerie pour les ingénieurs et architectes intéressés à la maçonnerie. Lors de cette formation, Adrien Sparling, PhD., ing. ingénieur civil spécialisé en maçonnerie offre une introduction aux principes de conception de bâtiments en maçonnerie, et André Bourassa, consultant et architecte à la retraite, discute de comment la maçonnerie s’intègre à un environnement bâti harmonieux, fonctionnel et durable. Robert Hardy, entrepreneur en maçonnerie, aide à mettre en évidence les enjeux auxquels font face les maçons sur les chantiers de construction, et à animer l’atelier pratique en briquetage-maçonnerie.

Invitations de l’industrie :

Nous avons participé à plusieurs conférences, y compris deux organisées par la Maison du développement durable. De plus, nous avons pris part à une conférence en collaboration avec le Conseil de l’enveloppe du bâtiment du Québec, ainsi qu’à une autre en association avec la Corporation des Entrepreneurs Généraux du Québec. Notre présence à ces événements nous a permis de partager des idées novatrices et d’échanger des connaissances précieuses dans le domaine du développement durable et de la construction en maçonnerie au Québec.

Tournoi de Golf Belle Vue 2023 :

Le tournoi de golf Belle Vue 2023 a permis aux membres de notre association de se détendre et de renforcer leurs liens dans un cadre convivial. Cet événement a également été une opportunité de collecte de fonds pour l’association et les Olympiades de la formation professionnelle. Le tournoi a connu un grand succès, avec une participation accrue par rapport aux années précédentes.

L’année 2023 a été une année exceptionnelle pour l’AEMQ. Notre engagement envers l’amélioration continue, la formation, le réseautage et l’innovation a renforcé notre position en tant qu’acteur majeur de l’industrie de la maçonnerie. Nous attendons avec impatience une année 2024 encore plus prometteuse, avec de nouvelles opportunités de croissance et de développement pour nos membres.

Nous remercions tous nos membres, partenaires, bénévoles et commanditaires pour leur soutien continu et leur engagement envers notre association.

Masonry Council of Ontario – Activity Update 2023 – for CCMPA

Dear Members of the Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association,

We are pleased to present the annual activity update for the Masonry Council of Ontario (MCO) for the year 2023. As a valued and pivotal stakeholder, CCMPA’s support has been instrumental in our endeavors to advance the masonry industry in Ontario. This update highlights our major accomplishments, including significant research, government relations initiatives, and engagement in conferences. We remain committed to working diligently on CCMPA’s behalf, and your continued support is invaluable as we strive to foster a stronger future for the masonry industry.

Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Interior Wall Construction Techniques – University of Windsor

This project funded in part by CCMPA, Masonry Council of Ontario and Mitacs has reached significant milestones toward scheduled completion at the end of this year. The University of Windsor’s research team has been diligently engaged in this comprehensive research endeavor, and their work thus far has provided significant results for concrete block in comparison to other interior wall systems. The project, encompasses a wide spectrum of assessments and analyses, all aimed at enhancing the understanding and efficiency of interior wall construction techniques within the masonry industry, which include:

Key Milestones Achieved:

  1. Cradle-to-Cradle Comparative Life Cycle Assessment: Our research team has conducted a thorough and meticulous cradle-to-cradle comparative life cycle assessment, scrutinizing every facet of interior wall construction techniques. This comprehensive analysis has allowed us to evaluate the environmental impacts and resource utilization associated with various construction methods. It serves as the foundation for making informed decisions in the masonry industry.
  2. Life Cycle Cost Assessment: In addition to the environmental aspects, we have conducted a life cycle cost assessment. This financial analysis provides insights into the long-term economic implications of different construction techniques, aiding businesses and decision-makers in cost-effective choices.
  3. Social Life Cycle Assessment: Our research has also delved into the social dimension of these construction techniques. This analysis helps us understand the societal consequences, such as labor conditions, safety, and community impact, ensuring that the masonry industry prioritizes social responsibility.
  4. Durability Assessment for Fire Mitigation: Fire safety is of paramount importance in construction. Our research team has assessed the durability of various interior wall construction methods in the context of fire mitigation, leading to recommendations for enhanced safety measures.

Upcoming Milestones:

As we move toward the final stages of the project, we are excited about the upcoming assessments and standards development:

  1. Indoor Air Quality Assessment: In light of the profound importance of indoor air quality in the built environment, our research team will conduct an assessment. This will be based on impact testing, ensuring that the construction methods we explore are conducive to healthy and safe indoor environments.
  2. Development of Green Procurement Standards: In line with our commitment to environmental sustainability, we are actively developing green procurement standards. These standards will guide the industry toward selecting materials and methods that reduce environmental impact and promote a greener, more sustainable future.


It is with great pride that we announce that the life cycle research conducted in collaboration with the University of Windsor has already been published. The research findings, which represent a significant contribution to the field, were published in the esteemed Canadian Society for Civil Engineering journal in May of 2021. This publication underscores the relevance and credibility of our research and reinforces our position as an industry leader.

Dissemination Strategy:

Looking forward, the Masonry Council of Ontario is dedicated to formulating a comprehensive dissemination strategy for this research. We believe that the knowledge and insights garnered through this project should not remain confined within academic circles. Therefore, we are actively preparing to present the research to a diverse and influential audience. These presentations will commence in late winter of 2024, offering us the opportunity to engage with key stakeholders, industry leaders, and government decision-makers. We aim to ensure that the knowledge gained from this research is applied in practice, fostering a more sustainable and innovative masonry industry.

Government Relations


In 2023, the Masonry Council of Ontario’s government relations team engaged with the provincial government to address the implications of key housing bills, specifically Bill 97 and Bill 23, that had a direct impact on the masonry industry.

Bills 23 and 97, and Exterior Design Control: Bills 23 and 97 posed a significant challenge to the masonry industry as it removed the ability of municipalities to exert control over matters of exterior design through site plan control. Recognizing the potential ramifications of this change, the MCO proactively took action. We initiated collaborative efforts with key members of the Minister of Municipal Affairs staff and the office of Premier Doug Ford. Our goal was to explore and develop a new policy solution that would empower municipalities to maintain control over matters of exterior design while aligning with the broader policy objective of accelerating the construction of homes.

Advocating for Zoning By-Laws: Through extensive engagement with the Provincial Government, the MCO government relations team successfully developed a strategic policy position. This position focuses on the importance of zoning by-laws as an effective method to control urban character through a range of factors, including design and material selection. Zoning by-laws provide municipalities with the necessary tools to uphold their unique urban character while facilitating the streamlined approval process for building permits.

Form Based Codes and Community Planning Permit Systems: Under the umbrella of zoning by-laws, the MCO advocated for the use of Form Based Codes and Community Planning Permit Systems as practical and efficient options for municipalities. These systems empower local authorities to maintain control over urban character while drastically reducing the complexities and delays often associated with building permit approvals. By promoting these approaches, we have actively contributed to streamlining the regulatory landscape for the masonry industry.

Policy Briefings and Conferences: To reinforce our advocacy efforts, the MCO government relations team worked diligently to craft comprehensive policy briefings on the above-mentioned policy positions. These briefings serve as informative resources that help stakeholders, government officials, and industry professionals understand the intricacies of our proposals.

Moreover, our commitment to advocacy extended to the municipal domain, as we presented these policy positions at three prominent conferences throughout 2023. By participating in these events, we shared our insights with a broader audience and engaged with stakeholders who could influence and shape the future of masonry in Ontario.

Our work in advocating for the masonry industry in the provincial legislative landscape remains a pivotal aspect of our mission. The Masonry Council of Ontario is dedicated to ensuring that the interests of our industry are not only protected but also advanced through informed policy development. The collaborative efforts between the MCO and government stakeholders are a testament to our commitment to advocating for the masonry industry’s growth and sustainability.

Municipal Government Relations:

As of October 31, 2023, the Masonry Council of Ontario’s government relations team has been actively engaged in over 50 meetings with government officials across the province of Ontario. This commitment to advocacy has yielded major policy wins in key municipalities, including Oro-Medonte, Mississauga, Ottawa, Richmond Hill, and Stouffville-Whitchurch. Our efforts at the municipal level have been instrumental in promoting the interests of the masonry industry and fostering a favorable policy environment.

Policy Highlight Ottawa: Design Guidelines for Low-Rise Development

In June 2023, Ottawa released Design Guidelines for low-rise development, and this development has particular significance for the masonry industry. These guidelines place a strong emphasis on the use of high-quality, durable materials, presenting a significant opportunity for the masonry market in the Ottawa area. The key highlights of these guidelines are as follows:

  1. Material Selection: Ottawa’s guidelines specify that developments should utilize materials that are not only high-quality and durable but also age well over time. In a commendable move, wood, brick, and stone are specifically mentioned as materials that can be effectively used in both contemporary and traditional designs. This emphasis on masonry materials presents a unique opportunity for our industry to capitalize on sustained growth within the City of Ottawa.
  2. Local Sourcing and Low Embodied Carbon: The guidelines actively encourage the use of locally sourced materials with low embodied carbon whenever possible. This supports the local economy and contributes to a more environmentally friendly construction process.
  3. Exclusion of Certain Materials: Notably, the guidelines recommend avoiding the use of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS), corrugated metal, and stucco-textured foam trims/mouldings on visible facades. This exclusion underscores the preference for masonry materials, positioning them as the preferred choice for creating aesthetically pleasing and durable building facades.
  4. Visual Cohesion: To create a visually harmonious streetscape, the guidelines promote the use of a limited range of complementary materials for buildings on the same street. This aspect is particularly advantageous for masonry, as its versatility allows for diverse design possibilities while maintaining a cohesive overall aesthetic.
  5. Green Building Materials: The guidelines actively encourage the use of green building materials that improve occupant health and reduce environmental impact. This includes the use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials that contribute to better indoor air quality. Additionally, the guidelines emphasize the importance of reducing demolition waste through the incorporation of recyclable materials. This is an opportunity for us to showcase masonry’s sustainability attributes and its alignment with these progressive goals.

In summary, Ottawa’s Design Guidelines for low-rise development present a substantial opportunity for the masonry market in the Ottawa area. The emphasis on high-quality, durable materials, local sourcing, visual cohesion, and green building practices aligns perfectly with our industry’s strengths and sustainability goals. It is imperative that we leverage this positive development to promote the use of masonry materials and engage with stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of these guidelines.

Our ongoing efforts at the municipal level exemplify our commitment to advocating for the masonry industry’s growth and sustainability in local communities.

Municipal Government Relations Conferences

Canadian Institute of Planners:

In June, the Masonry Council of Ontario’s sponsored and participated in the Canadian Institute of Planners Navigation 2023 National Conference, held in Halifax, NS. As a Platinum sponsor and exhibitor, MCO’s presence was marked by active engagement with 770 planners from across Canada, including a substantial contingent from Ontario.

During this significant event, we had the opportunity to connect with the broader planning profession and present our innovative zoning by-law policy solution. This proof-of-concept garnered attention and acclaim from both major planning consulting firms and municipal planners from various parts of Canada. Noteworthy engagements included discussions with planners from prominent firms such as Watson and Associates, Urban Systems, and Urban Strategies, along with representatives from municipalities such as the City of Toronto, York Region, City of Brampton, City of Mississauga, City of Hamilton, Stratford, Oxford County, and Peterborough County.

Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO)

In August the Masonry Council played a prominent role in the AMO conference in London, Ontario, held from August 20th to 23rd, 2023. The conference provided an invaluable platform for the Masonry Council of Ontario (MCO) to connect, collaborate, and make a meaningful impact on municipal and provincial governance.

A Strong Presence:

The AMO conference drew over 2,700 delegates from municipal governments across Ontario, including esteemed councillors, mayors, and high-ranking municipal staffers. The significance of this event was further highlighted by the presence of Premier Doug Ford and most of the Progressive Conservative Cabinet Ministers.

Engaging the Community:

MCO took center stage at the conference by hosting the delegates’ lounge, a bustling hub of activity throughout the event. This lounge provided an excellent opportunity for our government relations team to engage with numerous municipal and provincial officials. We had the privilege of interacting with several Mayors and Councillors hailing from different corners of Ontario, as well as key members of the Provincial Cabinet. Notable figures like Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton, Associate Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Nina Tangri, President of the Treasury Board Prabmeet Sakaria, and Minister of Natural Resources Graydon Smith were among those we connected with.

Associate Minister of Housing Nina Tangri holds up the MCO policy position paper with MCO Vice President David Lachapelle (right) MCO Executive Director Andrew Payne (Left) and MCO Government Relations Consultant John Armstrong (Left)

Building Bridges with a Reception:

One of the highlights of our presence at the AMO conference was the reception we hosted on the second evening. This gathering brought together over 200 delegates in a convivial atmosphere, fostering meaningful conversations over cocktails. Members of the MCO government relations team, along with two dedicated MCO Board members, had the pleasure of engaging with a significant portion of the attendees. This reception proved to be an exceptional opportunity to strengthen relationships, share insights, and further cement MCO’s position as a vital partner in Ontario’s municipal landscape.

Ontario’s Housing Future: Building Faster Fund Announcement:

Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled a groundbreaking policy, the Building Faster Fund, during the AMO conference. This visionary program is geared towards incentivizing municipalities to streamline home construction and address the urgent issue of housing affordability, particularly for young families and newcomers.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford addresses delegates at the AMO conference in London, Ontario

The Building Faster Fund is a three-year, $1.2 billion initiative that provides substantial funding to municipalities based on their performance against provincial housing targets. To be eligible, municipalities must commit to achieving provincial housing targets by 2031. The program will allocate $400 million in annual funding over three years to municipalities on track to meet these targets. Funding distribution will be determined by a municipality’s progress towards its goals, with overperforming municipalities receiving additional funding as a bonus.

The funds from the Building Faster Fund can be directed towards housing-enabling infrastructure and related expenses that support community growth. Furthermore, the program takes into account the diverse needs of municipalities, including smaller, rural, and northern communities.

In tandem with this initiative, strong mayor powers are being extended to 21 additional municipalities projected to have populations of at least 50,000 by 2031, provided they commit to provincially assigned housing targets. This expansion aims to accelerate the approvals process and contribute to solving the housing supply crisis.

We are enthusiastic about the positive trajectory that these developments set for our industry and the province as a whole. MCO remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing the interests of the masonry industry and building a stronger future.

Ontario Professional Planners Institute Conference:

From September 20-22, 2023, MCO had the opportunity to sponsor and participate in the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) conference held in Ottawa.

The OPPI conference was a significant event that brought together over 700 planners from various regions of Ontario. MCO hosted a dedicated session titled “Exploring Form-Based Codes: The Evolution and Impact of Laval’s Form-Based Code Approach.” This session was well-received, attracting more than 50 planners in attendance.

The presentation was expertly delivered by planning consultant Louis Mazellore from planning firm Aterlier Urbain. Louis shared valuable insights and practical guidance on the implementation of form-based codes as a method to shape the exterior design of municipalities. The session provided attendees with a deeper understanding of this innovative approach, equipping them with the knowledge needed to implement it effectively within their respective communities.

MCO’s participation in the OPPI conference enhanced our organization’s visibility amongst the professional planning community in Ontario. Our commitment to promoting masonry and contributing to the advancement of architectural design continues to be recognized and appreciated amongst planners from across the province.


The Masonry Council of Ontario remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing the interests of the masonry industry and building a stronger future. We express our sincere gratitude to CCMPA for its continued support, and we are dedicated to working tirelessly on your behalf. Together, we will continue to make significant strides in promoting the masonry industry, fostering sustainable growth, and advocating for policy solutions that benefit our stakeholders and the province as a whole.

Thank you for your ongoing trust and support.


Andrew Payne
Executive Director
Masonry Council of Ontario

Year-In-Review 2023 – Alberta Masonry Council

As we approach the end of 2023, we reflect on the progress AMC has made in advancing the use of concrete block masonry in Alberta through innovative projects and valuable partnerships:


  1. Structural Engineering Support

Enabled the use of concrete blocks in an all-block carwash in Calgary by providing block wall, shear wall, and beam calculations using MASS for Silver Tree Engineering. Fostered the use of concrete blocks in an all-block tire shop by completing block wall and beam calculations for BIE Engineering in Edmonton.

  1. Software Procurement

Procured the advanced MASS software on behalf of Entz Engineering in Alberta.

  1. Design on demand

Stamped designs of block walls and created a table/schedule for interior block tall walls on the Household Waste Transfer Station project in Calgary.

  1. Case Study Contribution

Edited and enriched the CCMPA Passive House (Net-Zero) Block Home case study in Toronto, showcasing the potential of concrete block masonry.

  1. Conference Presentations

AMC presented the results of the CCMPA Net-Zero Block Home case study to Passive House Canada during their annual conference in Hamilton, Ontario.

AMC presented at the Construction Specifiers of Canada (CSC) Annual Conference in Calgary, Alberta, on the advantages of durable concrete blocks.

  1. Dissemination of Market Driven Research

Authored an enlightening article, “Climate Friendly Concrete Masonry,” published in the November 2023 issue of Construction Canada. Discussed the carbon sequestration of concrete blocks, carbon-cured concrete blocks, and NECB energy compliance with concrete blocks.

  1. Public Comment on the CSA Standard

AMC provided comment on public review of CSA-S304 to facilitate the use of smaller block in tall concrete block walls with the goal of reducing the cost and carbon footprint of concrete block walls in tall wall applications such as schools and Warehouse and Light Industrial Buildings (WLIBs).

  1. Advocacy and Municipal Engagement

Continued our work with Armstrong Strategy Group (ASG) for $35,000. Presented to Ponoka and City of Edmonton Planners to advocate for the use of durable building materials.

  1. Sharing Knowledge

Delivered one (1) lunch and learn presentations to engineering firms on “Structural Design Considerations for Block Masonry.”


Delivered 31 Accredited lunch and learn presentations to architect firms in Alberta majority involving details for block wall construction, advantages of block in buildings and meeting the National Energy Codes for Buildings (NECB) with concrete block and brick Masonry


Delivered four (4) lunch and learn presentations to engineering firms on “Meeting the National Energy Codes
for Buildings (NECB) with Concrete block and brick masonry”.


  1. Exploring New Opportunities for Concrete Block In Single Family Homes to Address Housing Crisis

Sourced pricing from local contractors for the 15cm concrete block/brick veneer starter home developed in 2022 and met with two (2) home builders in Calgary to determine the feasibility of entering this market.


  1. Collaborations with Post-Secondary Institutions on Market Driven Research

In April of 2023, the final payment $35,000 to the University of Calgary architecture program was dispersed. AMC also continued in its annual funding of $7,000 in scholarships to Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Architectural Technology Students for the best block/brick projects.

AMC continued funding and contributing time and technical support to the market driven research initiatives of thermal performance of concrete block supplying $15,000 of the $25,000 contribution to the University of Alberta’s (UofA) thermal team. AMC contributed technical support to the development of 2D and 3D concrete block thermal modelling

AMC also developed a lab test for the U of A hotbox apparatus to demonstrate that the use of more block and less windows will produce better thermal performance for walls. The data will be used to preserve the trade-off system in the National Energy Codes for Buildings (NECB) that CCMPA and Gary Sturgeon secured which reduces the insulation thickness needed to comply with NECB 2017 for block walls.

$2,500 contribution to the University of Calgary (UofC) was made for shelf angle on standoff design and development of a shelf angle table as well as $15,000 contribution to an NSERC/MITACS project at the University of Windsor on the support of masonry veneers on shelf angles. The shelf angle table developed at the U of C is more efficient than current construction techniques and is able to use steel knife plates that are 20% smaller than current designs. Reduction in steel sized translates to a reduction in cost, carbon footprint and thermal bridging effects. The project at University of Windsor compliments the analytical models from the U of C with lab testing to demonstrate the theoretical actually works.

  1. 2024 Alberta Masonry Design Awards

Funded first $20,000 for the 2024 Alberta Masonry Design Awards that has a category for structural block masonry.

These efforts signify our continued commitment to the growth of the concrete block masonry market in Alberta through the avenues of increasing awareness in the design community, government relations, and value engineering for cost competitiveness using market driven research. We are grateful for the support from CCMPA in our continued efforts to grow the block market in Canada and Alberta.

Canada’s National Codes Development Update

Gary Sturgeon, P.Eng.

Where are we at?

The deadline of October 2nd, 2023, the date for completion of all Proposed Changes (PCFs) to the 2025 editions of Canada’s National Codes, has passed and work is now on hold for all Proposed Changes to our national codes with the exception of one PCF to limit operational Green House Gas Emissions (OGHG).  Work on this PCF has been granted an extension given its complexity, “late start” in the this cycle’s development process, and as judged by the provinces and territories, an urgent need for its embedment in the 2025 codes.

Before year end, there remains one meeting of the Standing Committee on Energy Efficiency; likely, this to conclude work on the OGHG proposed change.  If deemed acceptable during this meeting, this PCF will move forward to public review in the spring of 2024.

The proposed changes for 2025 are now out of the hands of the respective Standing Committees (which are responsible for the technical development and content of a PCF).  The next phase is to undertake a Public Review for all PCFs.  By this, the Canadian public is invited to take a detailed look at each proposed change, and to comment on the technical merit of each, and on the consequences of the change should it be approved.  By assessing the merit of these comments, the Standing Committees determine if the PCF should be approved for inclusion in the codes, or altered, or rejected.

The third public review for the 2025 codes, termed the “fall public review”, contains those series of PCFs that met the June 12th, 2023 deadline for submission.  The fall public review is now ongoing and runs from October 23 to December 18, 2023.  Those interested in participating can access the proposed changes on the CBHCC’s website and provide feedback.  CCMPA will be providing comment on those changes that impact the masonry industry.

The fourth and final public review for the 2025 codes, termed the “winter public review”, addresses those series of PCFs that met the October 2nd deadline for submission.  It is tentatively scheduled to run between January 8th and April 22nd, 2024.  CCMPA also will provide comment on those changes that potentially impact the masonry industry.

There is an opportunity for a Standing Committee to revise and re-submit a PCF that is not approved under these public reviews.  This is rare; however, for this 2025 code cycle, this opportunity will occur under a “fall, 2024 public review” tentatively scheduled for October 21 to December 20, 2024.

Those changes approved following public review will subsequently be adopted by the provinces and territories, with or without modification, and will be contained in an upcoming edition of a provincial and territorial building/energy code.

It’s important to note that proposed changes contained in the first and second public reviews for the 2025 codes were approved earlier in this code cycle for publication.  Notable changes affecting our industry were:

  • New requirements under Part 9 of the NBC (Housing and Small Buildings) pertaining to lateral bracing of wood frame structures. These new requirements fairly represent the effects of masonry/stone veneer on needed bracing under high wind and seismic loads.  They offer prescribed bracing solutions where masonry and stone cladding are used on the wood frame structure, and so, bypass the need for a Part 4 structural engineering design of the bracing and masonry veneer systems.
  • Recognizing prescriptive and tabled tie requirements for masonry veneers placed over ICF construction, and so, bypassing the need for Part 4 structural engineering design of masonry veneer systems over ICF under Part 9.
  • Revising corrugated strip tie requirements under Part 9, which increase the required thickness of “brick ties” and the level of corrosion protection (increased thickness of zinc coating) and require the tie to be pre-bent before applying zinc when manufactured.
  • The Energy Users Guides both for the NECB and Part 9 were updated with strong input from CCMPA and are better representative of the needs of the masonry industry.
  • The Part 9 Illustrated Users Guide was update, with input from CCMPA.

So, what PCFs under the 2023 fall Public Review (held October 23 to December 18, 2023) and the 2024 winter Public Review (January 8th and April 22nd, 2024) should be examined in detail by the masonry industry?  The following is a short-list of key PCFs affecting our industry, as identified by CCMPA, pertaining to NBC Part 5 (Environmental Separation), to NBC Part 9 (Housing and Small Buildings), to the National Energy Code for Buildings, and to NBC Part 9.36 (Energy) [Note that proposed changes to Part 4 (Structural Design), to Part 3 (Fire Protection), and to Earthquake Engineering, are not included in this list]:

Part 5, Environmental Separation

PCF 1812, 1813, 1824, 1839

Together, these PCFs define “heritage building”, “scope of alterations”, and requirements for alterations to existing buildings.  Importantly, they exempt heritage buildings from wholly new requirements under the codes pertaining to “Alterations to Existing Buildings”.  This change was highly monitored by CCMPA, which also provided compelling input and persuasive argument to exclude heritage buildings from these new alteration requirements, ensuring that the heritage value of these buildings is preserved.

As an additional note:  to the disappointment of the masonry industry, and to the Part 5 Standing Committee itself, three (3) proposed changes were NOT developed during this code cycle, and rather, were deferred to the 2030 cycle, notably:

  • Embedding requirements for resistance to degradation of building elements by referencing an updated S478 standard “Durability in Buildings” within the mandatory requirements of Part 5…otherwise stated…embedding requirements for durability in Part 5, that is, require minimum service lives for materials, components and assemblies included in the building envelope.
  • Developing and embedding requirements for impact sound (notably, impact on floor systems); the basis for these new requirements will be an outcome from an ongoing consortium project under the acoustics division of the NRC, in which the CCMPA is a participant (this addressing impact noise generated form inside the structure).
  • Extending and redeveloping the current requirements in Part 5 for apparent airborne sound control and limits (airborne noise generated from inside the structure).
  • Developing new requirements for outside/inside noise control (noise generated from outside the structure).

Part 9, Housing and Small Buildings

PCF 1831, Masonry Fireplaces

Under the 2020 NBC requirements, in truth, masonry fireplaces simply cannot comply with the code because requirements for fire safety and energy are either contradictory or absent.  This proposed change to the prescriptive requirements for masonry fireplaces will demand that they not be insulated, and that the trade off path be used to meet the minimum energy efficiency requirements for the building/house (which will require improved fenestration or thermal efficiency of the adjacent wall systems to compensate for the thermal effects of an uninsulated fireplace).  CCMPA was intimately involved in its development.  Additional work will be needed on this issue during the 2030 code cycle.

PCF 1822, Thermal Bridging

Although this PCF will not be offered in the upcoming public reviews, its importance to our industry deserves some comment.  The 2020 NBC (Section 9.36) contains no requirements to account for thermal bridging in housing.  This PCF would demand that the effects all thermal bridges be accounted for when calculating the effective thermal resistance of a house assembly and system, including but not limited to, all structural bridges such as balcony slabs, built-up wood sections, and specific to masonry, the effects of shelf angles and ties.  This change could not be completed before the October 2nd, 2023 deadline, in the face of opposition from several industries including CCMPA and the CHBA.  And so, this PCF could not be forwarded to public review, and cannot be included in the 2025 codes.  Expect this PCF to be readied for the 2030 NBC.

National Energy Code for Buildings

PCF 1821, Thermal Bridging

Under the 2020 requirements, the effects of a limited and stated set of thermal bridges must be accounted for when calculating the effective thermal resistance of building assembly and system.  A very careful analysis of these existing requirements leads one to conclude that point thermal bridges, such as those of masonry ties, need not be accounted for.  PCF 1821 demands that the effects all thermal bridges be accounted for, including the effects of masonry ties and fasteners.  CCMPA will oppose this PCF at time of public review using multiple arguments.

PCF 1830, Introducing Prescriptive Requirements for Tier 5

Section 9.36 of the NBC for housing does not contain prescriptive requirements for Tier 5 level; PCF 1830 introduces proposed new requirements.  The Tier 5 proposal contains onerous levels of insulation for opaque wall systems both below and above grade.  The Impact Analysis supporting these changes is questionable, and will be challenged.

 PCF 1843, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Objective

This PCF proposes that a new objective related to excessive use of energy, by limiting GHG emissions, be introduced in our building codes (currently, essentially the objectives are health, safety, structural sufficiency, barrier free access).  This objective will enable the codes to facilitate and legislate climate change actions in future editions.

As a consequence of PCF 1843, the 2025 codes will introduce requirements for Operational Greenhouse Gas Emissions (which largely affect the energy grid), followed by requirements for Embodied GHG in 2030 (which will affect building materials, design and construction).  Whereas OGHG does not directly affect the masonry industry, requirements for EGHG undoubtedly will, and our industry must be vigilant on this issue during the 2030 code cycle.

PCF  1829, 1850, 1857, Application of Alterations to Existing Buildings

These PCFs pertain to the application of requirements for alterations to existing buildings, under the NECB and 9.36 of the NBC, and specifically to the treatment of opaque wall assemblies both above and below grade.  These requirements are judged to treat masonry walls (mass walls) fairly.

PCF 1868, Energy Use Metrics under the NECB

This PCF introduces a new compliance path for energy use based on the absolute energy performance target of a building.  It is a parallel compliance path to the performance path (using the modelled Reference Building).  The designer may choose either path.  Currently, this new Energy Use Intensity (EUI) path will be limited to only three archetypes:  MURBs, office buildings, and schools.  With future development of this compliance path, a threat to the masonry industry may occur for those buildings whose actual fenestration is less than that permitted by the prescriptive path (such as for big box and warehouse archetypes), and so, ensuring that the analyses used to calculate EUI suitably accounts for this trade off (that is, that “downtrading” is undertaken in the analyses) is essential.


PCF 1869, Energy Use Metrics under 9.36 of the NBC

This PCF introduces a new compliance path for energy use based on the absolute energy performance target of a house.  It is similar in nature to PCF 1868 and rather, applies to Part 9 housing.


Part 4


PCF 1979, Updated Climatic Design Data

This PCF affects all construction industries equally because the same design data are applied to all structures.  Under this change, of the 680+ locations in Canada contained in the climate data table, an additional 82 locations show an increase in Moisture Index from the 2020 index, and so, now would require a capillary break in the wall system.  Masonry wall systems inherently include a capillary break in their construction.  In those 82 locations, this change in design data helps to “level the playing field” against competitive cladding systems.


Advisory Council


The organizational structure and processes for the development of our national codes underwent radical change commencing in November, 2022.  The CCBFC (Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes) no longer exists.  Three new process/procedure committees were struck, namely, the Canadian Board for Harmonized Construction Codes (CBHCC), the Canadian Table for Harmonized Construction Codes Policy (CTHCCP), and the Advisory Council for Harmonized Construction Codes (ACHCC).  The CBHCC is populated with provincial/territorial Ministers; the CTHCCP is occupied by provincial/territorial appointees; and the ACHCC is populated with code user representatives.  The CCMPA has been appointed to the ACHCC, as have the cement, wood, steel, insulation, and other national materials and construction industries.