In collaboration with the Department of National Defence, researchers in IRC’s Fire Risk Management program are investigating the use of a newly developed compressed-air foam (CAF) fire-suppression system in aircraft hangars. Because of CAF’s good fire-suppression capability, low water requirements and easy cleanup, they believe the system has good potential for providing fire protection in these buildings, as well as in other special applications.
Archives – CI
The first objective-based code documents, planned for 1998, would outline the objectives that exist in the 1995 codes, define how these objectives interrelate, and link existing code requirements to these objectives.
A transition to objective-based codes in Canada will likely yield profound benefits to all code users.
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Researchers study characteristics of combustible materials in retail buildings
As part of a major initiative to tackle the costly problem of restoring roads following the servicing or installation of underground utilities, IRC and the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Region Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), will conduct a North America-wide survey of those involved in this activity.
The rehabilitation of existing buildings is outpacing new construction today. Old masonry buildings, in particular, are getting a new lease on life as building owners and developers opt to retrofit rather than demolish them. Retrofitting of older buildings involves upgrading the building shell so that comfortable temperatures and humidities can be maintained. However, older masonry buildings were not designed or built to operate at high humidity levels. Few guidelines exist on retrofitting methods that don’t adversely affect the durability and the way these old masonry walls behave. Recognizing this need for better information, IRC, in collaboration with others in the industry, has launched a three-year project to develop such guidelines.
The Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) has recently been overwhelmed by applications for the evaluation of structural insulated panels (SIPs). The intended use of these panels is primarily as exterior wall and roof panels, although their use as floor panels and foundation walls is also promoted by some. There are two varieties of SIPs that dominate the market today; they include panels with 1) an expanded polystyrene foam core glued to two oriented strand board (OSB) skins, or facers, and 2) a polyurethane or isocyanurate foam core that adheres to the OSB facers in the course of the manufacturing process.
IRC continues to develop a state-of-the-art model, hygIRC, that can compare the moisture and thermal performance of a proposed wall design to that of another wall with a known performance track record (see Construction Innovation, September 2003). And now a 1-D version of this model is available (see below for details on how to purchase).
Rapid technological advancements, coupled with regulatory, industry and stakeholder concerns, have prompted the standing committees responsible for three of the national model codes-the National Building Code (NBC), the National Fire Code (NFC) and the National Plumbing Code (NPC)-to recommend changes to these documents.
The National Research Council has been granted approval by the federal government to create a joint public/private partnership to develop a National Technical Guide for Urban Infrastructure. The Guide will fulfill a need first identified in 1991 and supported by organizations representing public agencies, the three levels of government, professional associations, manufacturers and construction companies nationwide.
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