Five full-scale fire experiments were conducted to observe the performance of a two-level apartment-style structure constructed of mass timber. Each level consisted of a one bedroom apartment, an L-shaped corridor, and a stairwell connecting the two levels. One of the primary variables considered in this test series was the amount and location of exposed mass timber. The amount of mass timber surface area protected by gypsum wallboard ranged from 100% to no protection. For each experiment, the fuel load was identical and the fire was initiated in a base cabinet in the kitchen. In the first three experiments, the fire reached flashover conditions, and subsequently underwent a cooling phase as the fuel load from combustible contents was consumed. The first three experiments were carried out for a duration of up to 4 h. In the fourth experiment, automatic fire sprinklers were installed. Sprinklers suppressed the fire automatically. In the fifth experiment, the activation of the automatic fire sprinklers was delayed by approximately 20 minutes beyond the sprinkler activation time in the fourth experiment to simulate responding fire service charging a failed sprinkler water system. A variety of instrumentation was used during the experiments, including thermocouples, bidirectional probes, optical density meters, heat flux transducers, directional flame thermometers, gas analyzers, a fire products collector, and residential smoke alarms. In addition, the experiments were documented with digital still photography, video cameras, and a thermal imaging camera. The experiments were conducted in the large burn room of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Fire Research Laboratory located in Beltsville, Maryland, USA. This report provides details on how each experiment was set up, how the experiments were conducted, and the instrumentation used to collect the data. A brief summary of the test results is also included. Detailed results and full data for each test are included in separate appendices.
Vertical gypsum fire separation walls that have fire-resistive ratings evaluated in accordance with a recognized standard are permitted for use in building construction. When approved doors are inserted in such walls, the details must be presented for consideration as an “alternative solution”.
This guide is based on observations of two CAN/ULC S101 (ULC, 2007) tests on gypsum fire separation walls with S104 (ULC, 2010) approved closure penetrations. The guidance is intended to direct the designer’s attention to potential issues that might impact the performance of a closure penetration in a gypsum separation wall that use a thick wood-based sheathing (i.e. combustible) for carrying the weight of the fire door assembly. General guidance is provided on sizing the sheathing and the need for protecting the sheathing from fire, yet permitting the assembly to accommodate building movements in-service.
The purpose of this guide is to recommend considerations when designing the interface between a fire door (closure penetration) in proprietary gypsum separation walls. These considerations form only part of the alternative solution that will need to be presented to the AHJ for approval.
Although details are provided in Appendix VI to illustrate a possible solution, it is the responsibility of the designer to understand how the design is expected to perform. The guide discusses three scenarios to assist the designer in formulating an appropriate solution. These are performance under an extreme fire; performance under a limited fire; and performance under normal (non-fire) service conditions that may include high wind or high seismic event.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) manufactured in North America must meet stringent product standards and be certified to the ANSI/APA PRG 320 Standard for Performance-Rated Cross-Laminated Timber. This publication from APA - The Engineered Wood Association explains the key characteristics that are evaluated in certification process. When comparing North Amarican CLT to products manufactured elsewhere, it is important to recognize that products manufactured outside of North Amarica may not meet the performance expections defined in the ANSI standard.
The current interest and growth of cross laminated timber (CLT) products has spurred interest in the manufacture of CLTs in the United States. The purpose of this paper is to explore the development of CLT materials from southern pine lumber commonly available in Virginia. A 5-layer CLT panel has been constructed using No. 2 southern pine lumber. Evaluation of mechanical properties, fire performance and acoustical performance were conducted. Results of these evaluations can guide the development and acceptance of CLT products in the International Building Code.
Thirteen Southern pine cross-laminated timber panels were tested in the intermediate scale horizontal furnace at the Forest Products Laboratory to determine the effects different adhesives and ply configuration had on fire performance. Four different adhesives were tested: melamine formaldehyde (MF), phenol resorcinol formaldehyde (PRF), polyurethane reactive (PUR), and emulsion polymer isocyanate (EPI). There were two ply configurations: Long-Cross-Long (LCL) or Long-Long-Cross (LLC) where “long” indicates the wood was parallel to the longer edge of the panel. The MF and the PRF prevented delamination and associated problems while the LLC configuration resulted in uneven charring patterns.
Building elements are required to provide sufficient fire resistance based on requirements set forth in the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC). Annex B of the Canadian standard for wood engineering design (CSA O86-19) provides a design methodology to calculate the structural fire-resistance of large cross-section timber elements. However, it lacks at providing design provisions for connections. The objectives of this study are to understand the fire performance of modern mass timber fasteners such as self-tapping screws, namely to evaluate their thermo-mechanical behavior and to predict their structural fire-resistance for standard fire exposure up to two hours, as would be required for tall buildings in Canada. The results present the great fire performance of using self-tapping screws under a long time exposure on connections in mass timber construction. The smaller heated area of the exposed surface has limited thermal conduction along the fastener’s shanks and maintained their temperature profiles relatively low for two hours of exposure. Based on the heat-affected area, the study presents new design principles to determine the residual length of penetration that would provide adequate load-capacity of the fastener under fire conditions. It also allows determining safe fire-resistance values for unprotected fasteners in mass timber construction exposed up to two hours of standard fire exposure.
This project evaluates the National Building Codes of Canada (NBCC) clauses relevant to fire performance and performance requirements of non-load-bearing wood-frame in-fill walls in concrete/steel hybrid buildings. Related clauses in NBCC are reviewed regarding the use of wood components and non-load bearing wall systems in non-combustible buildings. The highlights of this review are:
§ An exterior non-loadbearing wall assembly with combustible components is allowed in non-combustible construction if:
a) Building height is not more than 3 storeys or has a sprinkler system throughout ;
b) The interior surfaces of the wall assembly are protected by a thermal barrier ; and
c) The wall assembly satisfied the testing criteria for CAN/ULC S134 ;
§ Combustible interior wall finishes, other than foamed plastics, are allowed in non-combustible construction if the thickness is not greater than 25 mm and their flame spread rating (FSR) is not more than 150 ;
§ Combustible insulation, other than foamed plastics, is allowed in non-combustible construction if the flame-spread rating not more than 25 ;
§ Combustible insulation with a FSR not less than 25 and not more than 500 is allowed in exterior and interior walls of non-combustible construction if the building is non-sprinklered and not more than 18 m or sprinklered and protected by a thermal barrier ;
§ There are no obstacles for using wood-frame in-fill wall systems for interior partition walls in hybrid buildings:
a) For non-sprinklered buildings not greater than 3 storeys or a floor area not greater than 600 m2 ;
b) For sprinklered buildings.
§ Non-combustible construction allows combustible elements in partition walls in the following instances:
a) Solid lumber partitions located in a fire compartment area are permitted in a non-sprinklered floor area not greater than 600 m2 with restrictions ;
b) Solid lumber partitions not less than 38 mm thick and partitions that contain wood framing are permitted with restrictions.
§ Combustible cladding can be used under the following circumstances:
a) When a wall assembly with exposing building face is between 10 to 25% tested by CAN/ULC-S134 and complies with Article 126.96.36.199 ;
b) When a wall assembly with exposing building face is between 25 to 50%, is sprinklered throughout, installed on a gypsum board sheathing, and has a FSR not more than 25 (with restrictions) ;
c) When a wall assembly with exposing building face is between 50 to 100%, cladding can be combustible for group A, B, C, D, E, F.
§ When a building is required to be of non-combustible construction, combustible elements are limited to the requirements in Subsection 3.1.5 on non-combustible construction ;
§ When comparing the NBCC with the International Building Code (IBC), the IBC is more in favour of using FRT wood frame in-fill walls with one more storey.