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.
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.