FPInnovations initiated this project to demonstrate the ability of wood exit stairs in mid-rise buildings to perform adequately in a fire when NBCC requirements are followed, with the intent of changing perceptions of the fire safety of wood construction. The objective of this research is to investigate further the fire safety afforded by exit stair shafts of combustible construction, with the ultimate objective of better consistency between the provincial and national building codes with respect to fire requirements for exit stair shafts in mid-rise wood-frame construction.
This study illustrates the range of possible wood construction approaches for school buildings that are up to four storeys in height. As land values continue to rise, particularly in higher-density urban environments, schools with smaller footprints will become increasingly more necessary to satisfy enrollment demands. There are currently a number of planned new school projects throughout British Columbia that anticipate requiring either three-or four-storey buildings, and it is forecasted that the demand for school buildings of this size will continue to rise.
This study is closely related to the report Risk Analysis and Alternative Solution for Three- and Four-Storey Schools of Mass Timber and/or Wood-Frame Construction prepared by GHL Consultants, which explores the building code related considerations of wood construction for school buildings that are up to four storeys in height. Though wood construction offers a viable structural material option for these buildings, the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC 2018) currently limits schools comprised of wood construction to a maximum of two storeys, while also imposing limits on the overall floor area. As such, the reader is referred to the GHL report for further information regarding building code compliance (with a particular emphasis on fire protection) for wood school buildings.
This project studied the feasibility and performance of a mass timber wall system based on
Nail Laminated Timber (NLT) for floor/wall applications, in order to quantify the effects
of various design parameters. Thirteen 2.4 m × 2.4 m shear walls were manufactured and
tested in this phase. Together with another five specimens tested before, a total eighteen
shear wall specimens and ten configurations were investigated. The design variables
included fastener type, sheathing thickness, number of sheathings, sheathing material,
nailing pattern, wall opening, and lumber orientation. The NLT walls were made of SprucePine-Fir (SPF) No. 2 2×4 (38 mm × 89 mm) lumber and Oriented Strand Lumber (OSB)
or plywood sheathing. They were tested under monotonic and reverse-cyclic loading
protocols, in accordance with ASTM E564-06 (2018) and ASTM E2126-19, respectively.
Compared to traditional wood stud walls, the best performing NLT based shear wall had
2.5 times the peak load and 2 times the stiffness at 0.5-1.5% drift, while retaining high
ductility. The advantage of these NLT-based wall was even greater under reverse-cyclic
loading due to the internal energy dissipation of NLT.
The wall with ring nails had higher stiffness than the one with smooth nails. But the
performance of ring nails deteriorated drastically under reverse-cyclic loading, leading to
a considerably lower capacity. Changing the sheathing thickness from 11 mm to 15 mm
improved the strength by 6% while having the same initial stiffness. Adding one more face
of sheathing increased the peak load and stiffness by at least 50%. The wall was also very
ductile as the load dropped less than 10% when the lateral displacement exceeded 150 mm.
The difference created by sheathing material was not significant if they were of the same
thickness. Reducing the nailing spacing by half led to a 40% increasing in the peak load
and stiffness. Having an opening of 25% of the area at the center, the lateral capacity and
stiffness reached 75% or more of the full wall.
A simplified method to estimate the lateral resistance of this mass timber wall system was
proposed. The estimate was close to the tested capacity and was on the conservative side.
Recommendations for design and manufacturing the system were also presented.
The objective of this work is to generate fire resistance data for NLT assemblies to address significant gaps in technical knowledge. This research will support designers and builders in the use of mass timber assemblies in larger and taller buildings, as well as provide scientific justification for Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to review and accept this construction method. The intent is to demonstrate that NLT construction can meet or exceed NBCC fire safety requirements for use in buildings of mass timber construction.
The data could be used towards the inclusion of an NLT fire resistance calculation methodology into Annex B of CSA 086 - Engineering Design for Wood, which currently addresses only glue-laminated timber (GLT), structural composite lumber (SCL) and cross-laminated timber (CLT).
The objective of this work is to generate fire performance data for NLT assemblies to address gaps in technical knowledge. This project aims to study how the size of gaps between NLT boards might affect charring of an assembly and its overall fire performance. This research will support designers and builders in the use of mass timber assemblies in larger and taller buildings, by ensuring fire safe designs.
The objective of this project is to establish fundamental fire performance data for the design and specification of NLT assemblies; this project specially addresses determining FSRs for NLT. The goal of this project is to confirm that NLT, when used as a mass timber element, has a lower FSR than standard thickness SPF boards when tested individually and flatwise. The project also considers how the surface profiles, design details, and the direction of an assembly might influence flame spread. This includes the evaluation of typical architectural features, such as a 'fluted' profile.