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College to Get Building Envelope Center

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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WINNIPEG, MANITOBA—A Canadian college plans to establish a building-envelope performance center thanks to a grant of $1.75 million.

Red River College says it will receive the funds over five years to begin the Centre for Building Envelope Performance (CBEP) at their Notre Dame campus in Winnipeg.

The new grant, from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, will help provide enhancements to the college’s ability to serve the province’s construction sector as well as foster innovation in a critical component of building design and construction, according to David Rew, interim president and CEO of Red River College.

Providing Access

The center will provide resources, including facilities, equipment and expertise, to many small- and medium-sized enterprises whose products and services directly impact the building envelope, according to the college.

“Our partners are absolutely thrilled with the news,” said Rob Spewak, who is transitioning from senior research manager to take on management of the new center.

“The industry is facing a seemingly perfect storm of challenges, and it consists almost entirely of small businesses which generally lack comprehensive resources to do research, testing, and training in-house.”

Top Issue in Area

Another driver in the establishment of the center is Manitoba’s extreme temperatures—especially its harsh winter.

Historically, the weather has presented major challenges that have led to notable and costly building failures, the college said.

“As a result, building envelope training and research was identified as the most important issue faced by our stakeholders, who along with Manitoba’s construction industry, include the Province of Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro,” said Spewak.

CBEP will be operated under Red River College’s School of Construction and Engineering Technologies, and will leverage the Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure as well as a previous $2.3-million, five-year grant to conduct applied research on improving the energy performance of commercial buildings.

Red River College also operates a Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing.


Tagged categories: Air barriers; Building envelope; Performance testing; Research; Schools; Waterproofing; Water-resistive barrier

Comment from Wayne Yancey, (7/15/2015, 11:25 AM)

As the Red Rose tea advertisement in Canada used to say: "Only in Canada EH." Makes me proud to be Canadian. It is about time the US Colleges and Universities climbed on this bandwagon. Correctly describing the differences between an air barrier and a vapor barrier should be included in the job interview as condition of employment in an architects office. Wrong answer, do not hire.

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