CSA Group’s Basement Flood Prevention Guideline Helps Canadians Adapt to a Changing Climate

As a leading standards development organization committed to addressing emerging challenges for a safer and more sustainable world, CSA Group’s Z800-18 – Guideline on Basement Flood Protection and Risk Reduction provides guidance on making homes safer and more resilient against flood-related events.

“This guideline represents a major step forward in helping Canadians adjust to the effects of a changing climate,” says Dwayne Torrey, Director, Construction and Infrastructure Standards. “As we continue to deal with more frequent and damaging exteme weather events, we believe that standards and guidelines can help make our homes and critical infrastructure more resilient. Our aim with this guideline is to help people feel safer in their homes through flood protection and avoid the high costs associated with repairs.”

Since 2009, annual catastrophic insurable losses have surpassed $1 billion, with more frequent and severe floods being a major contributor, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. After Calgary and Toronto experienced serious flooding in 2013, the average homeowner in both cities spent $42,000 to repair the damage in their basements. In addition to financial risks, basement floods are dangerous; Water can be contaminated and electrocution is a possibility if electrical service has not been disconnected right away.

To help reduce these risks, CSA Z800 outlines measures that can be taken in existing, new, rebuilt and renovated houses in rural and urban settings under the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) Part 9. The guideline also serves as the basis for the curriculum of a new training course for Canada’s 40,000 home inspectors, which will ultimately help buyers make informed decisions and consider implementing flood prevention measures. Flood hazards addressed by the guideline include overland flooding, storm and sanitary sewer backwater, infiltration flooding, plumbing and drainage failures, as well as flooding associated with the improper installation of basement flood risk-reduction technologies.

CSA Z800 is one of seven climate change adaption projects being developed in partnership with the National Research Council (NRC) to incorporate strategies for addressing climate change into existing and new Canadian standards and codes. The projects are expected to be completed before April 2019, as part of the NRC Climate-Resilient Core Public Infrastructure Program.

Developed by consensus with a broad range of stakeholders, and leveraging best practices and leading research, these standards can provide much-needed requirements for safety and resiliency, and offer Canada a more objective option to address one of today’s most pressing issues.

CSA Z800 is available on the CSA Store.