One of the benefits of buying a brand new home is knowing that it is built with the safety of you and your family in mind.
Thanks to the latest codes and standards, modern building practices, advanced technologies and careful selection of products, a new home offers both a very comfortable place to live, and a safe environment.
Canada’s construction codes are “living documents”, that are constantly evolving to reflect new developments in products, technologies and construction practices. As a result, you can be assured that your new home will meet the most up-to-date requirements for safety. Here are a few examples:
- Minimum separations between houses are specified for fire protection, depending on the construction of the facing walls.
- Wall and finishing materials used in the construction of the home must meet flame-spread limits.
- Smoke detectors are installed on each floor of the home, and near bedrooms. They must be interconnected and wired directly into the electrical system.
- Electrical outlets in bathrooms and other “wet” areas, as well as exterior outlets, must have ground-fault circuit interrupters.
- In some jurisdictions, “arc fault” circuit interrupters are required in bedrooms to avoid sparking caused by frayed cords and defective lamps and appliances.
- Walls between the house and the garage are sealed and doors are self-closing to keep exhaust fumes from vehicles from entering the house.
- Carbon monoxide sensors are installed in strategic locations to detect any presence of this odourless, colourless gas that is the byproduct of incomplete combustion in appliances like furnaces and clothes dryers.
- A series of requirements for stairs and handrails minimize the risks of slipping, falling, or otherwise getting hurt—important for family members of all ages and abilities.
- Glass shower stalls and tub enclosures use safety glass that crumbles rather than breaks into sharp fragments upon impact.
- Reinforcement for grab bars in the tub area is mandated in some jurisdictions.
- Hot water tanks are equipped with an anti-scald device.
- Most jurisdictions require a sealed air barrier under the basement or foundation floor to keep radon gases from entering the home.
… and Common Practices
Safety is also a question of common sense. Professional builders routinely incorporate many other features to increase the “livability” of your home, and can offer additional suggestions, depending on your needs and preferences. For instance:
- A sealed combustion, direct-vent heating system to prevent the spillage of toxic combustion gases inside the house.
- A fire protection sprinkler system.
- Non-slip flooring in bathrooms, entranceways, and other areas that may get wet.
- Good task lighting in work areas, particularly in the kitchen area.
- Outdoor lighting with timers or motion sensors to ensure that stairs, porches and entrances are well lit, when needed.
- Security or alarm system—keep in mind that it is far more cost effective to install the wiring at the time of construction, and you can add the system later.
- Securing and childproofing upstairs windows (not required by code for single family homes).
If you have specific safety concerns related to your family, such as mobility and accessibility considerations, be sure to discuss them with your builder. A professional builder will be able to provide answers and suggestions to make your home safe and secure for everyone.