Construction Innovation

Volume 17, Number 4, December 2012

Focus on Fire Safety

This is a special issue of Construction Innovation, highlighting the fire safety facilities and projects of NRC Construction. The research projects are reported in a series of articles in this issue. An outline of the Fire Safety facilities is included below.

NRC Fire Research Facilities

The National Research Council houses world-class facilities for construction research. Among them are small-, medium-, and full-scale fire research facilities designed to help industry advance technologies for improving the fire safety of buildings and transportation systems, enhance fire detection and suppression systems, and reduce the risks and costs of fire in Canada.

NRC fire researchers making strides in mid-rise wood research project

Fire researchers at NRC Construction are progressing on a comprehensive project designed to develop fire-safety performance data to facilitate the use of wood-based structural products in mid-rise buildings. With mid-rise buildings currently required to be of non-combustible construction, alternative fire safety solutions are needed.

Full-scale fire resistance tests on cross-laminated timber

Full-scale tests carried out by NRC Construction researchers have demonstrated that cross-laminated timber (CLT) assemblies can achieve good levels of fire resistance, even when unprotected under full loading conditions. The tests are part of a study to develop a methodology that will foster the design of fire-safe CLT or hybrid buildings in North America.

Fires in multi-suite residential dwellings

NRC Fire researchers have completed a six-year study that provides a better understanding of how fires develop and spread in multi-suite residential buildings of lightweight frame construction. The results show that fire development and severity varies within a residential building owing to differences in fuel load characteristics, ventilation and geometric dimensions of various living spaces within a dwelling.

Fighting fires with compressed air foam

After proving the technology effective in fighting fires in aircraft hangers and large liquid storage facilities, NRC Construction researchers have shown that compressed air foam can also protect power transformers and residential buildings in Northern communities, areas known to pose challenges for fire suppression.

NRC’s upgraded column furnace a unique research facility

Designers and manufacturers of columns and protection systems are benefitting from recent upgrades to NRC’s column furnace. Researchers can now employ the unique research facility to test and advance cost-effective technologies for enhancing the safety of buildings and infrastructure.

Protecting Canada’s transportation infrastructure from fire

Fire researchers at NRC Construction are helping owners and managers of Canada’s infrastructure systems to provide safe and secure transportation networks that contribute to economic growth and societal development, while protecting the public against natural or accidental hazards and terrorist threats.

Building Regulations

Proposed Code changes to address airborne sound transmission supported by NRC research

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) has created a task group to consider the use of a new rating to address airborne sound transmission between dwelling units and a calculation tool as an additional performance-based option to determine compliance with the National Building Code (NBC).

Building Regulations

Changes to allow six-storey wood construction under consideration for national codes

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) is taking a closer look at requirements in the 2010 National Building and Fire Codes of Canada that currently limit the height of wood buildings to no more than four storeys. Doing so would move the National Model Construction Codes towards harmonization with various code development initiatives and market access policies being established in jurisdictions across the country.

Building Regulations

First Revisions and Errata to the National Model Construction Codes 2010 now available

Revisions and Errata are now available to Code users who purchased the printed and electronic versions of the 2010 National Construction Codes. Revisions are issued between code cycles to promptly address health- or safety-related matters, among others, and are approved by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes. Errata are corrections that facilitate the use of code documents.

Building Regulations

Revisions to the Quebec Construction Code and National Building Code of Canada 2005 (amended) now available

Publication of the first series of revisions and errata to the Quebec Construction Code (QCC), Chapter I – Building, and National Building Code of Canada 2005 (amended) are now available. These amendments incorporate energy efficiency requirements in the QCC with the addition of Part 11, Energy Efficiency.

Intelligent Building Operations

Heat / Energy Recovery Ventilators protocol for better IAQ in residential buildings

Researchers at NRC Construction have developed a new protocol designed to help manufacturers of Heat Recovery Ventilators and Energy Recovery Ventilators to evaluate their products more thoroughly by addressing three key elements associated with indoor air quality.

Intelligent Building Operations

Residential energy-efficient moisture control through ERV

The National Building Code of Canada requires Canadian homes to be ventilated mechanically. Heat Recovery Ventilator/Energy Recovery Ventilator (HRV/ERV) technology provides a mechanism to meet these ventilation requirements in an energy-efficient manner.

Intelligent Building Operations

Displacement Ventilation in Canada – what’s next?

Research by NRC Construction has shown that displacement ventilation systems can potentially work well in the heating season when the supply air temperature is lower than room temperature (set point) coupled with controlled supplemental perimeter heating systems to offset effects of perimeter heat losses (through the skin of the building).