CCMC Evaluations: a unique service for Canada

 

Recognition

The Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) provides technical evaluations of innovative construction products, including materials and systems, for compliance with Canadian building, energy and safety codes. The CCMC is the only construction code compliance service provided by the federal public service. Trusted by over 6,000 regulators across the country, the CCMC helps manufacturers get market approval and supports innovation and growth in the Canadian construction industry.

The CCMC's evaluation services are:

  • operated under a national mandate to serve the public
  • part of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Canada's largest federal research and development organization
  • a national service for Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) across Canada, overseen by the Canadian Commission on Construction Materials Evaluation (CCCME), a federally created and appointed oversight body
  • recognized formally through a memorandum of understanding with the Alliance of Canadian Building Officials Associations (ACBOA) and the First Nations National Building Officers Association (FNNBOA)

Technical approach

The CCMC has a 30‑year history of demonstrating code compliance for innovative products on behalf of provinces and territories, through a refined technical approach. It uses the "alternative solution" pathway (formerly known as equivalency) prescribed by all Canadian building codes. This requires a process that maintains comprehensive awareness of national and provincial code requirements and variations, objectives, and functional statements. Consultation during this process includes the interpretation of regional code variations via the Provincial/Territorial Policy Advisory Committee on Codes (PTPACC), and feedback from regulators and users.  

This approach is the foundation of the CCMC's comprehensive code evaluations. It distinguishes the CCMC's evaluation of innovative products from standard conformity assessment activities such as testing, inspection or certification of standardized products on the following merits:

  1. The CCMC develops product‑specific, impartial, evidence‑based, technical requirements in the form of CCMC Technical Guides based on a comprehensive process which involves:
    • building code analysis (objectives, intent and functional statements)
    • literature review (existing knowledge base, including the NRC's National Science Library)
    • expert consultation via the NRC's network of contacts with researchers, academic and industry experts
    • benchmark testing for conformance to an acceptable code solution,
    • product testing research and analysis
  2. The CCMC consults nationwide with construction regulators (through PTPACC or their designates) to elicit regional variations in code requirements and provincial and local regulator interpretations. The consultations inform the evaluation beyond code minimums (where applicable), so that the level of performance set by the CCMC is considered acceptable to jurisdictions across Canada.
  3. The CCMC has a public safety mandate which may increase requirements beyond the code minimum. When this occurs it is due to the material attributes of the innovative products that are evaluated, and follows recommendations made by experts in building or physical sciences.
  4. The CCMC evaluation includes the consideration of risk of failure and use‑based durability requirements that address code requirements for structural qualification and material durability. This is based on consultation with experts in material aging (for example, degradation mechanisms).
  5. The CCMC has long‑standing relationships with uniquely qualified experts in high‑risk product categories to ensure comprehensive evaluations.
  6. The CCMC works closely with other areas of the NRC's Construction Research Centre on the development of custom test protocols and the creation of unique test equipment.

Focus on the code

In contrast with product testing or certification, which is specific to a particular method or standard criteria, a CCMC evaluation report encompasses all applicable code requirements based on the intended functions and uses of the material, product or system. The CCMC follows the prescribed 'alternative solution' pathway required by Division A of all Canadian building codes, ensuring that CCMC‑evaluated products meet at least the minimum level of performance required by the code, based on the objectives and functional statements attributed to relevant acceptable solutions.

Comprehensive service offering

The CCMC is part of an ecosystem within the NRC's Construction Research Centre that supports the development of new, innovative products and services in the Canadian construction industry. This includes areas such as research and development, which offers scientific and technical advisory services and specialized testing facilities, technical and administrative support for the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes in the national codes development system, and support for manufacturers of innovative products through the CCMC.

To learn more, read about the NRC's mandate.