Crumbling concrete cladding and collapsing or cracking façades represent risks for the safety of the public. These risks can be reduced—or even eliminated—with the thorough and consistent preventive maintenance by the owners. This is particularly true of façades of high buildings which are exposed to adverse weather.
This is why the façades of all buildings of 5 storeys and more coming under the Building Chapter of the Safety Code must be subject to verification and maintenance. It is mandatory that they be maintained so as to be free from any defect which could jeopardize safety or contribute to the development of dangerous conditions.
The Explanatory Guide to Façade Maintenance Requirements [Fr] – PDF (1003 KB) is an explanatory guide for the owners of the buildings concerned with the aim of facilitating understanding of façade maintenance obligations. In particular, it indicates the information a register and a verification report must contain.
English version of the guide
An English version of this guide is available. To obtain an electronic copy, send an email request to the RBQ.
Keeping of a register
For the lifetime of the building, the following information or documents must be consigned in a register, kept on the premises:
- the contact details of the owner
- if available, the copy of the as-built drawings of the construction work of the façades, any photography and any other document or information in connection with the alterations performed
- the description of the repair, alteration or maintenance work performed on the façades, and the description of the repairs done repeatedly in order to rectify a single issue
- the verification reports of the façades.
Verification by a professional
The owner must obtain from an architect or an engineer a verification report certifying that the façades of the owner’s building do not show signs of any dangerous condition. An examination of each façade
of the building must be carried out no earlier than 6 months before the date of production of the verification report, which must contain:
- the name, signature and contact details of the professional having carried out the inspection
- a description of the mandate, observation methods used and scope of verification
- the civic address of the building
- the dates of the inspections
- the location and description of the defects and their causes, which can contribute to the development of dangerous conditions (infiltrations, rust, efflorescence, scaling, cracks, etc.) as well as all problems with connectors or ties noted on components attached to any one of the façades
- the description of the work remedial actions called for as well as the schedule recommended for performing these, if applicable
- a summary of the report confirming that the façades of the building do not show signs of any dangerous condition, and if applicable, that recommendations have been issued to the owner in view of rectifying the defects reported
- appendices for the photos, drawings and all other relevant data which may complement the report.
Reporting of dangerous conditions
When the presence of a dangerous condition is noted by the professional, he must advise immediately both the owner and the RBQ about it and make recommendations in this regard. As for the owner, he must:
- set up the emergency measures to ensure the safety of the public
- notify the RBQ immediately. The owner must complete the form entitled Reporting a dangerous condition: façade or parking garage [Fr]
- within 30 days, supply by writing to the RBQ a description prepared by an engineer or architect of the remedial action work to be performed, and for the purpose of approval, a schedule for the completion of this work
- ensure that the work is carried out in accordance with the aforementioned description, planning and schedule
- obtain, at the end of the work, a verification report confirming the safeness of the façades
- forward to the RBQ a letter signed by the engineer or architect, confirming that all of the remedial action work called for has been performed and that there no longer exist dangerous conditions.
Frequency of the verification reports
The owner of a building must obtain a verification report at the latest on the day of the 10th anniversary of its construction.
Thereafter, the owner shall obtain a verification report of the façades every 5 years.
Signs of deterioration
Some signs of the deterioration of façades may be detected by the building owner. Such signs should alert him that a more thorough, in-depth inspection is called for.
Here are a few examples of these:
- rust stains
- signs of physical deterioration at balconies
- signs of a displacement of stone or concrete blocks or bricks
- problems with integrity of joints on the exterior cladding.
Furthermore, any equipment which is installed on a façade must be securely attached to it.