The costs of mass timber may be higher, but the added premium on their prices make them economically feasible. Beyond the economics, mass timber structures present a unique opportunity to develop and test the resiliency of the owner organization and its capacity to innovate. A collective effort to strengthen the supply chain in Ontario (especially the manufacturing stage) is one of the key tools to reduce costs. Having a dedicated fire consulting firm and the early engagement of regulatory bodies and consecrators are some of the key means to control risks in this domain. Earlier projects relied on covering/insulating mass timber sections to achieve the required fire requirements. Increasingly, charring is becoming an acceptable means for fire protection. Using Integrated Project Delivery system (IPD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) can provide the contractual and technical platforms to boost coordination and promote collaborative design and construction.
Project contact is Christian Dagenais at Université Laval
The use of materials in a building is traditionally determined from its combustibility (via ULC S114 or ULC S135) and by its flame propagation index (via ULC S102). The ULC S102 Flame Spread Test, developed in 1943, has historically reduced risk through its method of classifying materials. However, this test does not provide quantitative information on the combustion properties of materials, such as heat flow. The latter is one of the most important variables in the development of a fire. Thus, a new approach would be preferable in order to review the classification of materials according to ULC S102 and ULC S135 (cone calorimeter). The objective of this project is to develop a new approach to classifying materials based on cone calorimeter test results. These results can subsequently be used in numerical modeling as part of a fire safety engineering design. A significant amount of cone calorimeter (ULC S135) testing of materials currently evaluated according to ULC S102 will be required.
The objective of the current project is to develop a performance-based design process for wood-based design systems that would meet the objectives and functional statements set forth in the National Building Code of Canada. More specifically, this report discusses the fire and seismic performance of buildings, as identified as a priority in a previous FPInnovations report (Dagenais, C. (2016). Development of Performance Criteria for Wood-Based Building Systems).
This report 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. Three- and four-storey schools and larger floor areas in wood construction require an Alternative Solution.
The report identifies key fire safety features offered by combustible construction materials including tested and currently widely available engineered mass timber products, such as glued-laminated timber and cross-laminated timber. A risk analysis identifies the risk areas defined by the objectives of the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC 2018) and evaluates the level of performance of the Building Code solutions for assembly occupancies vis-à-vis the level of performance offered by the proposed schools up to four storeys in building 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 report is closely related to the study Design Options for Three-and Four-Storey Wood School Buildings in British Columbia, which illustrates the range of possible timber construction approaches for school buildings that are up to four storeys in height.
This project assesses the fire resistance of laminated timber structural systems as wall and floor assemblies. Full-scale tests were conducted to assess structural fire resistance and charring behaviour. This research could be used to expand current fire design provisions and support inclusion of these types of assemblies into Annex B of CSA O86.