Sustainable, safe, durable, cost-effective and efficient; wood is used across Canada in occupancy classes such as business, residential, commercial and assembly. In the United States, many mixed-use buildings have been designed as “podium” buildings; a wood structure bearing on a podium of noncombustible construction. The International Building Code includes provisions that allow wood buildings, often housing residential or business occupancies, to be constructed over a podium of noncombustible construction accommodating mercantile or assembly occupancies.
The concept of a horizontal fire separation, acting to a certain degree as a “horizontal firewall”, was introduced in the International Building Code in the mid-2000s, allowing the podium to be considered a separate and distinct building from the wood structure that sits overtop. Since podium structures are becoming increasingly “à la mode” in the construction industry, integrating the horizontal fire separation concept into the National Building Code of Canada would allow the industry to benefit from the advantages of wood construction in mixed-use buildings
At the request of FPInnovations, this technical report has been prepared as a guideline for the implementation of design provisions for wood podium buildings into the National Building Code of Canada. Various strategies, special considerations, and possible risks for fire safety in this type of building are explored.