Currently, mass timber building designs commonly incorporate a concrete floor topping. This can improve building accoustics by increasing the mass of the assembly, reduce floor vibration and create a smooth flat surface to install finish flooring on. The installation of concrete requires formwork, pouring and finishing the concrete and time to cure which adds to project schedules. One way to address this is to use mass timber elements that are prefabricated with concrete toppings preinstalled. Replaceing the concrete floor toppings wiht dry alternatives, such as cement board, may also reduce construction timelines, while still ensuring adequate acoustic and vibration performance. Cement board needs only to be screwed in place and can be walked on immediately after installation; this reduction in construction time may reduce overall project costs and help make wood buildings more cost competitive than other types of construction.
The purpose of this guide is to provide an introduction to the concept of encapsulated mass timber construction. This guide provides an overview of encapsulation techniques for mass timber construction, and other related fire protection measures, and summarizes some approved encapsulation materials and application methods and identifies additional requirements for safety during construction. This guide is intended to help architects, engineers and designers by reducing uncertainty and allowing for more confidence in design, as well as providing authorities having jurisdiction and inspectors with a reference for simple design review.
Funded by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry through FPInnovations with Morrison Hershfield Limited
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.
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.
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.
At the request of FPInnovations, this technical report has been prepared as a guideline for the implementation of design provisions for wood podium buildings into the National Building Code of Canada. Various strategies, special considerations, and possible risks for fire safety in this type of building are explored.
The report concludes with the recommendation that it would be useful to run an extensive set of cone calorimeter tests on SCL, glue-laminated timber and CLT products. The fundamental data could be most useful for validating models for predicting flame spread ratings of massive timber products and useful as input to comprehensive computer fire models that predict the course of fire in buildings. It is also argued that the cone calorimeter would be a useful tool in assessing fire performance during product development and for quality control purposes.