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Challenges Faced in the Application of Fire and Life Safety Design in the Canadian Building Code


The current version of NBCC is an objective-based building code which allow code users to substitute prescribed building designs with a solution achieving the same level of performance defined by intent statements. These intent statements provide rationale behind prescriptive solution including some degree of baseline as well as factors of safety for building design. However, due to its structure and for practical reasons, it does not and cannot envision every single design possibility in practice. In addition, its slow update cycle cannot keep up with technology advancements currently driven by concerns around energy efficiency, sustainability and development of new materials, and construction methods and climate change. These contribute to some of the challenges that may be faced in application of the NBCC which are investigated through the following five parameters: ‘History and Scientific Background’, ‘Reliability’, ‘Economic Impact’, ‘Design Practicality’ and ‘Guidance for Compliance’. This presentation will identify and assess potential issues through three case studies involving “Atrium Design”, “ Spatial Separation of Buildings” and “Exposed Mass Timber Elements”.

Presenter Bio:

Claire Yuan is a professional engineer at GHL Consultants who has recently graduated with a Master of Applied Science from University of Waterloo in Mechanical Engineering – Fire Safety Program. Specialized in fire risk and performance-based fire engineering analysis, Claire develops and successfully negotiates alternative solutions to Building Code compliance for various types of projects including institutional buildings, commercial complexes, and industrial applications. With her knowledge and passion in fire science, Claire is also in active collaboration with various research and development programs specific to forefront engineering of mass timber, including the Encapsulation Mass Timber Construction Char Rate study and Mass Timber Demonstration Fire Test Program.


Start date: 
Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 12:00

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