Introduction to the Guideline
Infrastructure in the North commonly depends on permafrost for its foundation material.
Such infrastructure should be designed with full consideration for the potential of climate change, particularly increases in air temperature, to cause permafrost warming and/or thawing and create significantly different foundation environments in the future.
This Guideline is for decision makers with a role in planning, purchasing, developing, or operating community infrastructure in permafrost regions. It will assist people who are not experts in permafrost and/or climate change, by providing:
(i) a better understanding of critical permafrost- and climate change-related issues;
(ii) a means for locating key information sources on these topics; and,
(iii) the ability to ask the right questions of those they hire to ensure appropriate planning, assessment, design, and construction of community infrastructure projects.
The Guideline provides contextual material and guidance on the following:
1. Permafrost as an environmental variable, and its response to climate and other environmental change (Chapters 2 and 3);
2. Foundation types for community infrastructure in permafrost (Chapter 4);
3. Trends in climate and permafrost conditions across northern Canada (Chapters 5 and 6); and
4. A process for ensuring that climate change is incorporated into
(a) the siting, and
(b) the design of foundation systems in permafrost terrain (Chapter 7).
This Guideline is focused on new infrastructure projects rather than on maintenance of existing structures. It addresses how to estimate and account for the effects of future climate on permafrost and on foundations at sites where permafrost may be a factor.
Most information in this Guideline is of relevance to the majority of community infrastructure types.