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Building Code Requirements for Wood-Based Structural Panels in Canada

When building with plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), or waferboard, the panels must meet the requirements of the building code(s) enforced in your jurisdiction (city, province, etc.).

In Canada, the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) lists a variety of standards that apply to wood-based panels that are suitable for use as subflooring, roof sheathing, and wall sheathing.1 Three Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards apply to exterior bond, all-veneer plywood that can meet the requirements for subfloor, and roof and wall sheathing:

  • CSA O121,Douglas fir plywood
  • CSA O151,Canadian softwood plywood
  • CSA O153, Poplar plywood

One standard applies to certain types of plywood, but also OSB and waferboard:

  • CAN/CSA O325, Construction Sheathing

Panels that are certified by an accredited certification body like PFS TECO to one of these standards must be marked to include information that identifies the manufacturer, the certification body, and other panel-specific information like grade and thickness. Examples of gradestamps that are used in Canada are explained in other TECH TIPs on the PFS TECO website.

Architects, engineers and designers are advised to specify panels by grade or span rating in accordance with one of the above listed standards. Specifying panels to be certified by a particular third-party agency only serves to limit the buying options of builders and other users.

A copy of our accreditation certificate as a recognized certification body in Canada can be downloaded from the Directory of Accredited Bodies page of the Standards Council of Canada’s website.

1 See NBCC Part 9: Housing and Small Buildings, Section 9.23: Wood-Frame Construction


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