In 2015, the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC)  adopted prescriptive provisions to allow the construction of mid-rise (5- and 6-storey) buildings using combustible construction. These types of buildings were already permitted under the British Columbia Building Code, as of 2009 . In2014 the Province of Ontario filed an amendment to also allow mid-rise wood buildings, however, it required that the exit fire separations be built using noncombustible construction having a fire resistance rating (FRR) of not less than 1.5-hr, which was an increase from the 1-hr requirement in the NBCC. The Québec Construction Code has also filed amendments to allow mid-rise wood construction and also limits exit stairwells to use noncombustible construction.
FPInnovations conducted a research project to study the construction of mid-rise wood exit shafts in Ontario and Québec. The scope of the project included an investigation into the concerns that have been raised in regards to the use of wood exits in mid-rise buildings, an analysis of recent Canadian fire statistics in residential multi-family structures, and a fire demonstration of a mass timber wall and supported light-frame floor. This report describes the fire demonstration completed as part of this project; this report acts as a supplement to the full project report.
FPInnovations carried out a survey with consultants and researchers on the use of analytical models and software packages related to the analysis and design of mass timber buildings. The responses confirmed that a lack of suitable models and related information for material properties of timber connections, in particular under combination of various types of loads and fire, was creating an impediment to the design and construction of this type of buildings. Furthermore, there is currently a lack of computer models for use in performance-based design for wood buildings, in particular, seismic and fire performance-based design.
In this study, a sophisticated constitutive model for wood-based composite material under stress and temperature was developed. This constitutive model was programmed into a user-subroutine and can be added to most general-purpose finite element software. The developed model was used to model the structural performance of a laminated veneer lumber (LVL) beam and a glulam bolted connection under force and/or fire. Compared with the test results, it shows that the developed model was capable of simulating the mechanical behaviour of LVL beam and glulam connection under load and/or fire with fairly good correlation.
With this model, it will allow structural designers to obtain the load-displacement curve of timber connections under force, fire or combination of the two. With this, key design parameters such as capacity, stiffness, displacement and ductility, which are required for seismic or fire design, can be obtained.
It is recommended that further verification and calibration of the model be conducted on various types of wood products, such as CLT, glulam, SCL and NLT, and fasteners, e.g. screw and rivet. Moreover, a database of the thermal and structural properties of the wood members and fasteners that are commonly used in timber constructions need to be developed to support and facilitate the application of the model.
FPInnovations collaborated with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and other research agencies to conduct two experimental fires in mulched fuels under very high fire hazard conditions.
This study documented fire behaviour and compared it to other experimental fires in mulch fuel beds at other independent study sites. Documentation of fire behaviour in this novel fuel type can inform wildfire managers of potential fire behaviour and suppression challenges.