Between 2016 and 2021, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Group developed and published a series of four new standards and guides on adaptation considerations for northern infrastructure and buildings in permafrost: 1) Technical Guide: Infrastructure in permafrost: A guideline for climate change adaptation (CSA PLUS 4011:19); 2) Technical Guide: Design and construction considerations for foundations in permafrost regions (CSA PLUS 4011.1:19); 3) Thermosyphon foundations for buildings in permafrost regions (CSA S500:21); and 4) Moderating the effects of permafrost degradation on existing building foundations (CSA S501:21).
Funding for the development of the Standard came from the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), as part of the Northern Infrastructure Standardization Initiative (NISI) with input from the Northern Advisory Committee (NAC).
The intent of these documents is to provide stakeholders with information on the potential impacts of climate change on infrastructure in Canada’s permafrost regions. It is recognized that climate change might impact permafrost terrain more dramatically than terrain in temperate regions. Those involved in the development, design, procurement, construction, and operations of infrastructure in permafrost terrain would benefit from current knowledge on the potential impacts of a changing climate on those activities.
This case study highlights the CSA S501:21 standard. This Standard has been developed through the collaboration of representatives from territorial governments, the federal government, universities, the private sector, and northern community government organizations.
This Standard was prepared by the Working Group on Permafrost Degradation, under the jurisdiction of the Technical Committee on Northern Built Infrastructure and the Strategic Steering Committee on Construction and Civil Infrastructure and has formally been approved by the Technical Committee. This Standard has been developed in compliance with Standards Council of Canada requirements for National Standards of Canada. It has been published as a National Standard of Canada by CSA Group.