Project contact is Rokib Hassan at the National Research Council of Canada
Phase two of a four-phased research project, with the overarching goal of developing transparent intumescent coating (TIC) for mass timber construction, which would be technology certified, IP protected and licensed out. The use of TIC would ensure that fire resistance rating requirements are met while reducing the need for encapsulation, resulting in increased overall aesthetics provided by timber. Phase two focuses on demonstrating a proof-of-concept on a small scale and optimizing the TIC formula and coating thickness based on the testing results. Small scale tests will be conducted to measure fire resistance, weatherability and fire toxicity.
The Task Group on Combustible Construction is in the process of evaluating a proposed code change request related to buildings of encapsulated mass timber construction (EMTC). As part of the analysis of the code change request, an impact analysis is required that includes a cost-benefit analysis.
Hanscomb was hired to provide a cost-benefit analysis and to compare the estimated value of the following:
1. The cost of constructing a building of mass timber (unprotected) versus a building constructed of encapsulated mass timber (e.g. mass timber protected with a double layer of Type X gypsum board) versus a traditional concrete and steel building.
2. The time to build a building of mass timber construction (unprotected) versus a building of encapsulated mass timber construction versus a traditional concrete and steel building.
3. The annual maintenance costs of building of mass timber construction versus a building of encapsulated mass timber construction versus a traditional concrete and steel building.
For the purposes of this study two sets of conceptual floor plans and elevations have been created:
1. A 12 storey building with a Group C major occupancy (residential) where each storey is 6,000 m2 in floor area.
2. A 12 storey building with a Group D major occupancy (office) where each storey is 7,200 m2 in floor area.
The purpose of this guide is to provide an introduction to the concept of encapsulated mass timber construction. This guide provides an overview of encapsulation techniques for mass timber construction, and other related fire protection measures, and summarizes some approved encapsulation materials and application methods and identifies additional requirements for safety during construction. This guide is intended to help architects, engineers and designers by reducing uncertainty and allowing for more confidence in design, as well as providing authorities having jurisdiction and inspectors with a reference for simple design review.
Standard fire endurance tests were performed on a full-scale floor assembly and a full-scale wall assembly constructed with cross-laminated timber (CLT) as the main structural element. The full-scale floor assembly consisted of CLT panels encapsulated with fiberglass wool and a single layer of 15.9 mm thick Type X gypsum board on the exposed side and with two layers of 12.7 mm thick cement board on the unexposed side. The full-scale wall assembly was constructed from CLT panels encapsulated with two layers of 15.9 mm thick Type X gypsum board on both faces. Nine thermocouples were installed on the unexposed face of both assemblies to monitor the temperature rise throughout the test and nine deflection gauges were installed on each assembly to monitor deformations. The superimposed load applied on the floor assembly was 9.4 kN/m² and the load imposed on the wall assembly was 449 kN/m. The fire endurance period of the full-scale floor assembly was 128 minutes and that of the full-scale wall assembly 219 minutes. Both the full-scale floor assembly and the full-scale wall assembly failed structurally afterwards under the applied loading. No hose stream tests were carried out on the fullscale floor and wall assemblies.
These Joint Professional Practice Guidelines – Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction Up to 12 Storeys were jointly prepared by the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC) and Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia.
The AIBC and Engineers and Geoscientists BC regulate and govern the professions of architecture, engineering, and geoscience under the Architects Act and the Professional Governance Act. The AIBC and Engineers and Geoscientists BC each have a regulatory mandate to protect the public interest, which is met in part by setting and maintaining appropriate academic, experience, and professional practice standards.
Engineering Professionals are required per Section 7.3.1 of the Bylaws - Professional Governance Act to have regard for applicable standards, policies, plans, and practices established by the government or by Engineers and Geoscientists BC, including professional practice guidelines. For Engineering Professionals, these professional practice guidelines clarify the expectations for professional practice, conduct, and competence when providing engineering services for EMTC buildings. For Architects, these guidelines provide important information and identify issues to be considered when providing architectural services for EMTC buildings. These guidelines deal with the performance of specific activities in a manner such that Architects and Engineering Professionals can meet their professional obligations under the Architects Act and the Professional Governance Act.
These guidelines were developed in response to new classifications of building size and construction relative to occupancy introduced in the 2018 British Columbia Building Code (BCBC), under Division B, Article 184.108.40.206EMTC. Group C, up to 12 storeys, Sprinklered, and Article 220.127.116.11EMTC. Group D, up to 12 storeys, Sprinklered. These new classifications were introduced in Revision 2 of the 2018 BCBC on December 12, 2019 and in Amendment 12715 of the 2019 Vancouver Building By-law (VBBL) on July 1, 2020. Additionally, provisions related to Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction (EMTC) were introduced in Revision 1 of the 2018 British Columbia Fire Code (BCFC) on December 12, 2019.
These guidelines were first published in 2021 to provide guidance on architectural and engineering considerations relating to these significant changes to the 2018 BCBC, the 2019 VBBL, and the 2018 BCFC. For Engineering Professionals, these guidelines are intended to clarify the expectations of professional practice, conduct, and competence when Engineering Professionals are engaged on an EMTC building. For Architects, these guidelines inform and support relevant competency standards of practice to be met when Architects are engaged on an EMTC building.
As with all building and construction types, the EMTC-specific code provisions prescribe minimum requirements that must be met. The majority of EMTC of 7 to 12 storeys are considered High Buildings, and as such are subject to the BCBC, Subsection 3.2.6. Additional Requirements for High Buildings.
The acceptable solutions in Division B of the anticipated 2020 NBCC limit the height of Groups C and D buildings of sprinklered encapsulated mass timber construction (EMTC) to 12 storeys in building height, and a measured building height of 42m. The recently published 2021 IBC contains provisions to permit buildings of mass timber construction under the IBC Type IV construction, surpassing the NBCC provisions by maximum building height, building area, occupancy groups, and interior exposed timber. The IBC mass timber buildings are permitted to have a building height of maximum 18 storeys, depending on the occupancy group. Within Type IV construction, four subdivisions are described to have varying maximum permissible building height, area, fire resistance rating (FRR), and interior exposed timber.
Through a comparison of mass timber provisions of both Codes, relevant research reports, test reports, industry standards, this report documents the consequential and inconsequential differences and developed conclusions on whether the NBCC can adopt the IBC provisions, and with what modifications so that the new provisions may fit the NBCC context.