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New construction code


Owner-builders

by Guy Doré and André Dufour

New construction code: Improving energy efficiency, a step forward…


The coming into effect of the new regulation on August 30, 2012 means that there are new standards in place that must be respected by designers, contractors and owner-builders. These standards apply to extensions and new buildings of less than four stories with a total surface area of up to 6,458 ft2. Largely inspired by the Novoclimat program, the new standard focuses mainly on the outside of buildings in terms of insulation, the thermal resistance, airtightness and ventilation. According to the experts, this regulation will result in improving the energy performance of new constructions by approximately 25% compared to the previous standards.


Energy efficiency is measured using the R or RSI factor, which is the material’s resistance factor. The higher the insulation factor, the more efficient it is in terms of preventing cold and heat from penetrating. With the adoption of this new regulation, a multitude of products have been launched in order to meet the new energy requirements with respect to the insulation level of concrete slabs, foundation walls, above-ground walls and roofs. These new products meet a crucial need by adapting to existing work methods without disrupting the installations carried out by other construction workers.


One of the requirements of the new construction code is improved insulation for “thermal bridges”, or in other words, the conductivity created by contact with a material that is exposed to exterior weather conditions.


The new regulation also requires new doors and windows to be EnergyStar certified. In addition, the proportion of doors and windows is now limited to 30% of the surface area of exterior walls. Please note that an air exchanger with a heat recovery option is now required. All professionals are required to comply with the law. In terms of monitoring, Qualité Habitation and Abritat are responsible for new constructions and the RBQ is responsible for owner-builders. In general, the greatest energy losses are caused by lace of airtightness, so it is crucial that your building’s envelope is impeccable. For more information, come and visit us in store.


Please do not hesitate to contact the experts at Matériaux Pont-Masson for a multitude of advice concerning the new code and the new products that are available.

Owner-builders

At this time of year, many people who are planning to build a new home would like to build it by themselves, either completely or partially, considering it to be a personal challenge or perhaps simply trying to save as much money as possible. The first goal is admirable, but the second may be quite deceptive. That is why it is crucial to take great care in planning your project, because improvising as you go can be very costly.


By definition, owner-builders are individuals who take responsibility for the construction by hiring various tradespeople, doing some of the work themselves, and most importantly, planning the project themselves from start to finish.


Where to begin in planning the project? First and foremost, the project begins with the cornerstone: the budget. As you flesh out the various steps in the construction and identify wants as opposed to needs with respect to the selection of materials and the professionals to be hired, your budget will determine what the completed project will look like, and how much it will cost. Last-minute changes and “as long as you’re at it” decisions will quickly cause you to exceed your budget. That is why it is also important to find out in advance about any permits you need, along with the various municipal by-laws and building code standards that you must respect.


In order to create a realistic budget, you must also undertake a lengthy process of obtaining quotes from sub-contractors and suppliers and arranging funding from your financial institution. Ask question concerning the quotes that you obtain (e.g.: Which quotes include delivery charges?) and study every detail.


With respect to the various stakeholders, make a list that you can follow in order to properly compare the structure of the various quotes received, and take note of the number of people involved in your project. Don’t hesitate to ask for references, and ask questions of people who have gone through the same experience. Direct references often provide the best and most reassuring information when undertaking an adventure that is filled with unknowns

Book your sub-contractors in advance, and confirm everything with written agreements so that you do not find yourself in a situation where you need to find tradespeople on an emergency basis at the last minute, because your budget will inevitably suffer if you do.


Choose suppliers whose quotes are transparent and who are quick to offer you solid advice. Some aspects of your project require advance planning and ordering in order to avoid delaying the progress of the work.


At Matériaux Pont Masson, we would be happy to guide you through all of the steps and to allow you to benefit from our experience, as if your project was ours.

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