CodeCHEK allows a user to determine simply and quickly whether lightweight wood-frame, heavy timber and/or encapsulated mass timber construction can be used under a particular Canadian building code, and if so, what are the applicable construction requirements related to fire safety.
For this quick evaluation, CodeCHEK requires the user to input the following building characteristics:
- applicable building code (i.e., jurisdiction and edition)
- major occupancy classification
- presence of automated sprinklers (yes/no), (and, if the response is no, the number of streets the building is facing)
- building area (in sq m)
- building height (in storeys)
CodeCHEK will also prompt the user to input the percentage area of unprotected openings of up to 4 exposing building faces, if they wish. This is used to evaluate what spatial separation requirements are applicable that may override the construction type permitted based on the other building characteristics.
CodeCHEK contains explanations and discussion of the above-noted project characteristics, which is available via drop-down arrows on each of the input screens.
A list of definitions of important building code terms is also provided.
If the evaluation results show that lightweight wood-frame, heavy timber and/or encapsulated mass timber construction is permitted, the least restrictive requirements and applicable code reference(s) are displayed on the screen. Additional options with more restrictive requirements permitting lightweight wood-frame, heavy timber and/or encapsulated mass timber construction are accessible via the Code Articles button on the evaluation screen.
If the evaluation determines that lightweight wood-frame, heavy timber and/or encapsulated mass timber construction is not permitted, information is provided regarding:
- possible changes that can be made to the project characteristics that may permit the building to be of some form of wood construction
- references that may be of assistance in the development of an alternative solution; and,
- the wood elements permitted in a building required to be of noncombustible construction.
As noted earlier, CodeCHEK is a tool to allow a quick evaluation of whether wood construction can be used. There are many other fire safety requirements that need to be addressed in a building design. Reference must be made to the applicable code articles to ensure compliance with these additional provisions.
CodeCHEK has been developed for information purposes only. Reference should always be made to the Building Code having jurisdiction. This tool should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or design advice, and the user is responsible for how the tool is used or applied.
We appreciate any feedback or questions that you may have regarding CodeCHEK. Please email us via our HelpDesk at cwc.ca.