Barrie, ON – There is a difference between meeting the Building Code which defines minimum construction requirements and building to be tornado resistant which is a standard much higher than specified in the Building Code.
It is unreasonable to expect a roof to resist tornado strength winds and resulting forces when they are not required to be designed for that. Some of the winds were strong enough to lift and move the entire weight of a house, so it is not surprising that roofs were removed in their entirety. Also, once a roof is compromised, the effects of the loading it is subjected to becomes even more damaging.
It is clear a tornado imposes loads much more severe than those specified in the Building Code. The Building industry (including designers, engineers, Building Officials and code researchers and writers) recognize this. There are continuous efforts to update and upgrade the Code. The building industry works with the Province to review and update various aspects of the Code. This is one area that certainly can use some attention. The work like that being done by the Northern Tornadoes Project researchers will certainly be valuable as the Province considers updates to the Code. The City supports sharing these finding with the Province and National Code researchers to facilitate improvements to the Code.
Suggestions that the homes in Barrie affected by Thursday's tornado did not follow Code casts a misleading shadow on the excellent work of our registered building professionals as well as the broader building industry.
We want the people of Barrie to know that we take the safety of all residents seriously and every effort is made to ensure compliance with the Building Code.
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Senior Communications Advisor
The City of Barrie
(705) 739-4220 ext. 4529