The next edition of the National Building Code of Canada will be based on an objective based approach to the design and construction of buildings. Our current codes at both the National and Provincial levels employ what is known as a prescriptive approach, where detailed requirements are specified for a given condition in a building. The new objective or performance based building code will permit alternative designs to be employed on the basis that the designs satisfy certain fire and life safety objectives.
The objective based design offers significant benefits over the prescriptive based codes, including:
- It allows for far more flexibility in the design of innovative building features.
- It can be used to address unique aspects or uses tailored to suit the end users or other stakeholders.
- It provides a basis for the development and selection of alternative methods of structural fire protection (e.g. fire resistance ratings of structural elements) and detection and fire suppression systems.
- It can allow for comparison of the safety levels provided by alternative design options. The comparison of options provides a mechanism for determining what level of fire and life safety, at what cost, is acceptable
- It results in a fire protection strategy in which fire protection and other life safety features are integrated, rather than designed in isolation. This is consistent with current code requirements for the coordinated [design and] testing of fire safety systems
Demonstrating that a design will meet the objectives established by the building codes will require an in depth analysis of the features of the facility. Our team of fire protection and life safety experts can employ the latest sophisticated fire protection analytical tools to develop a fire protection program that will satisfy the code objectives. Part of the service is to secure the acceptance of the fire safety design features by the Authority Having Jurisdiction and the other stakeholders, including the Owners and the end users of the facility.