Project contact is Étienne Marceau at Université Laval
The objective of this project is to identify the risk factors taken into account in the pricing of an insurance contract for a construction site. This project aims to synthesize the quantitative approaches used in practice and presented in academic research for the pricing of home insurance and commercial insurance. Then, we aim to identify the preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the impact of different perils in the insurance of a construction site in wood or other.
FPInnovations conducted a research project to study the construction of mid-rise wood exit shafts in Ontario and Québec. The scope of the project included an investigation into the concerns that have been raised in regards to the use of wood exits in mid-rise buildings, an analysis of recent Canadian fire statistics in residential multi-family structures, and a fire demonstration of a mass timber wall and supported light-frame floor. This report describes the fire demonstration completed as part of this project; this report acts as a supplement to the full project report.
Timber building has gained more and more attention worldwide due to it being a generic renewable material and having low environmental impact. It is widely accepted that the use of timber may be able to reduce the embodied energy of a building. However, the development of timber buildings in China is not as rapid as in some other countries. This may be because of the limitations of building regulations and technological development. Several new policies have been or are being implemented in China in order to encourage the use of timber in building construction and this could lead to a revolutionary change in the building industry in China. This paper is the first one to examine the feasibility of using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) as an alternative solution to concrete by means of a cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessment in China. A seven-storey reference concrete building in Xi’an was selected as a case study in comparison with a redesigned CLT building. Two cities in China, in cold and severe cold regions (Xi’an and Harbin), were selected for this research. The assessment includes three different stages of the life span of a building: materialisation, operation, and end-of-life. The inventory data used in the materialisation stage was mostly local, in order to ensure that the assessment appropriately reflects the situation in China. Energy consumption in the operation stage was obtained from simulation by commercialised software IESTM, and different scenarios for recycling of timber material in the end-of-life are discussed in this paper. The results from this paper show that using CLT to replace conventional carbon intensive material would reduce energy consumption by more than 30% and reduce CO2 emission by more than 40% in both cities. This paper supports, and has shown the potential of, CLT being used in cold regions with proper detailing to minimise environmental impact.
The 2015 edition of the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) includes significant changes to the acoustic requirements for residential constructions. The 2015 edition defines the acoustic requirements in terms of the Apparent Sound Transmission Class (ASTC) rating which includes contributions from flanking transmission and therefore is a better descriptor of how well the sound insulation of a building will actually protect the inhabitants of the building from unwanted noise than the STC rating which was used in earlier editions of the NBCC. The 2015 NBCC requires an ASTC rating = 47 for constructions between dwelling units.
The ASTC rating that a construction will achieve depends on the design of the building elements including the gypsum board, the framing and the thermal insulation as well as the design of the junctions between the building elements. Changes to the building elements or the junctions will change the ASTC rating.
Fifty five examples of the calculation of the ASTC rating for typical mid-rise wood constructions (single and triple staggered wood stud walls and floors constructed of I-joists) with 15.9 mm (5/8”) SilentFX® QuickCut gypsum board, 15.9 mm CertainTeed Type X gypsum board and CertainTeed Sustainable fiberglass insulation are presented. All of the constructions shown in the examples have an ASTC rating which is greater than 47.
In addition to the examples for mid-rise wood framing, an example using 15.9 mm SilentFX® QuickCut gypsum board as a lining on a cross laminated timber (CLT) construction is also presented.
Sustainable Northwest (SNW) and Hacienda Community Development Group (HCDC), both based in Oregon, have proposed a plan to demonstrate pathways for building affordable housing with regionally sourced mass timber. In response to the region’s housing shortage, the partners’ proposal demonstrates the use of mass timber products while supporting efforts to educate stakeholders on wood product companies and forest restoration. The project outlines a plan to explore financing options, build one or more prototypes, and perform a structural material life cycle analysis.
The anticipated growth and urbanization of the global population over the next several decades will create a vast demand for the construction of new housing, commercial buildings and accompanying infrastructure. The production of cement, steel and other building materials associated with this wave of construction will become a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Might it be possible to transform this potential threat to the global climate system into a powerful means to mitigate climate change? To answer this provocative question, we explore the potential of mid-rise urban buildings designed with engineered timber to provide long-term storage of carbon and to avoid the carbon-intensive production of mineral-based construction materials.
Both the BCBC and the NBCC are objective-based codes whose provisions are deemed to be acceptable solutions. Alternative solutions are permitted; however, they must be demonstrated to provide a level of performance equivalent to that of the acceptable solution they are replacing.
There is interest in Canada in constructing tall wood buildings. To aid in the design and approval of such buildings, FPInnovations oversaw the development of a Technical Guide for the Design and Construction of Tall Wood Buildings in Canada. Chapter 5 of the Guide addresses Fire Safety and Protection in tall buildings. Rather than developing site-specific regulations for tall wood buildings, a more robust approach, recommended in Chapter 5 of the Tall Wood Guide, would be to demonstrate quantitatively that the fire safety provisions proposed for the building yield fire risks that are not greater than the fire risks associated with the acceptable solutions of the code.
Unfortunately BCBC and NBCC do not provide a quantitative method for assessing the level of fire safety (or risk-to-life) inherent in the design of a building. However, CUrisk, the most comprehensive model available for assessing the fire risk in buildings, can assess how fire protection measures work together to ensure life safety by computing the risk-to-life due to fire in the building.
In this project, CUrisk was employed to assess and compare the risk-to-life due to fire in mid-rise and high-rise residential and office buildings of wood construction and of non-combustible construction and to demonstrate how fire protection measures can be tuned to ensure a mid-rise or high-rise building of wood construction is as safe as a similar building of non-combustible construction.
This study compares the life cycle environmental impacts of two multilevel residential buildings built in Melbourne, Australia. The study was commissioned by Australand and funded by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA).
The first building considered, the ‘Study Building’, incorporated an innovative light weight building approach utilising a stick-built timber frame and a ‘cassette floor’ building system. The second building, the ‘Reference Building’ utilised a more typical building approach, incorporating precast concrete panels and suspended concrete slab floors (Table 1).
The primary goal of the study was to compare the potential environmental impacts of the above buildings across their respective life cycles.
The study employed the LCA methodology described by the ISO14044 standard to undertake the comparison of the buildings. The analysis addressed a building life cycle scope which was prescribed by GBCA (GBCA 2014), which in turn based the boundary definition on the EN15978 standard, as shown in Figure 1. Although EN15978 was used to define the scope of the LCA, the study is not intended to be fully compliant with the standard.