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Researchers conducting largest ever mass timber fire tests in Ottawa

May 13, 2022  By Canadian Wood Council

The Canadian Wood Council has partnered with federal and provincial governments to conduct a series of five separate fire research burns on a full-scale mass timber structure in Ottawa. The largest burn, happening on a two-storey, 3700 ft structure, will take place at the end of June, with the following four burns happening over the summer of 2022. The purpose of the project is to support market acceptance of tall and large mass timber buildings in Canada.

With the most certified sustainable forests in the world, Canada is a champion of sustainable forest management and in a position to solidify our global leadership in the bioeconomy and forest sector by advancing mass timber adoption. Mass timber is revolutionizing the building industry as a renewable, nature-based construction material. Recognizing mass timber’s vital role in achieving a low carbon, built environment, the Canadian Wood Council and its partners are dedicated to advancing its adoption.

By designing and executing a series of demonstration fire research burns on a full-scale mass timber structure, and collecting data from these burns, our objectives are to:

  • Showcase, through fire demonstration tests, that mass timber construction is a safe and viable alternative to other more conventional construction systems (steel and concrete) for constructing large or tall buildings;
  • Support the implementation and adoption of the 2020 edition of the National Building Code of Canada;
  • Support the transition to performance-based codes and future code change proposals to extend the use of mass timber to other building types, heights, and sizes and increase the amount of exposed timber permitted.


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