Building Code – International Standards and Approvals

A Few Words from the Author

“Between 1996 and 2010, the fields of standard development, construction products and fire safety systems approvals and certifications were a major focus of my career. During this period, I worked for a multinational construction products manufacturer and for an organization offering product fire testing, certification and assessments. In addition, I helped establish the baseline for developing product review and approval system of fire protection and safety products in collaboration with the local authorities of a rapidly-developing city. In this second article of the series dedicated to Codes and Standards[1], I will focus on the kaleidoscope of the standardization and approvals world.”

Amal Tamim, M. Sc. FPE
Specialist – Codes and Standards / Fire protection and safety

Financial Investment

Producers, manufacturers and distributors of construction products and fire protection equipment invest huge sums in research and new product development and even more in the development of standards. These standards may be related to fire prevention, passive protection, active protection, and general safety. The main objectives of developing such standards, is not only to ensure their performance and to differentiate their quality, but also to ensure their adoption by national and international standardization agencies[2]. They will also serve to obtain certifications and assessments from organizations such as CSA, UL/ULC, Factory Mutual, Intertek, QAI, ICC-ES, CCMC, CSTB, Efectis, Warringtonfire, Bodycote/Exova, VdS, and IMO.

Some industry trade associations further invest in developing quality assurance standards and certification of production processes, as well as certification of manufacturers, contractors and product or equipment installation inspectors.

Furthermore, academic and scientific laboratory research, supporting the development of standards, and using manufacturers’ products, typically subsidized by private and government bursaries, are also financed by producers associations and manufacturers associations or directly by individual companies.

A Wide Range of Standards

There is a wide range of published Standards: Test Standards and Standards that govern performance, design, installation and maintenance, inspection and audit. Some of the most commonly referenced Standards in Canada, and related to our field or practice, are listed below (by standard type):

Tests_Standards Performance Standards, Design Standards, Installation Standards Inspection Standards, Verification Standards, Commissioning Standards
CAN/ULC-S101 CAN/ULC-S524 NFPA 25
CAN/ULC-S102 CAN/ULC-S531 CAN/ULC-S552
CAN/ULC-S104 CAN/ULC-533 CAN/ULC-S536
CAN/ULC-S106 CAN/ULC-553 CAN/ULC-S537
CAM/ULC-S107 NFPA 10 CAN/ULC-S1001
CAN/ULC-S109 NFPA 11 NFPA 3
CAN/ULC-S112 NFPA 12 NFPA 4
CAN/ULC-S115 NFPA 13
CAN/ULC-S124 NFPA 13R
CAN/ULC-S134 NFPA 14
CAN/ULC-S135 NFPA 20
CAN/ULC-S137 NFPA 30
CAN/ULC-S139 NFPA 55
NFPA 701 NFPA 68
NFPA 705 NFPA 69
ANSI/UL 300 NFPA 72
etc. NFPA 80
NFPA 92
NFPA 96
ASME A17.1/CSA B44
CSA B72
CSA B365
CSA B139
CSA B149
CSA C22 series
CSA 282
etc.

A Myriad of Terminology!

In Canada, Standards are developed by organizations that adopt procedures by consensus and accredited by either The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) or by world-renowned organizations that adopt procedures as per the ISO/IEC 59 guide (Code of good practice for standardization). Similarly, testing laboratories, and organizations offering evaluation, certification and listing services are all subject to accreditation programs based on the relevant ISO standards.

Published Standards are not all incorporated by reference into building and fire codes, certifications, and labelling are not always required by the Code.

Care should be taken, however, not to rely solely on the text of the Code. In Canada, some requirements are indirectly referenced when included in the design, installation or performance Standards incorporated into the Code. These Standards may or may not require that these products or equipment and their components be certified, standardized, labelled or subject to attestation[3].

In addition, the building and fire Codes, contrary to other regulations that govern safety in the fields of transportation and of electrical products, rarely require certification, listing, labelling of fire, passive protection products and equipment, nor any special site inspection and during construction[4].

Based on the Code requirements and applicable Standards were incorporated by reference, submissions may include the following (in ascending order):
– A test report;
– A testing evaluation or conformity evaluation;
– Certification with or without a label on the product or equipment;
– Attestation and certification of factory production process and labelling of products;
– Attestation and certification of installed systems and equipment.

In the next edition of this newsletter and last article of this series, we will present an overview of the services rendered by engineers, consultants, and experts and specialists in fire security, prevention and protection as they guide designers, building owners/managers and manufacturers in deciphering and applying the Codes and Standards requirements. To be continued…

By Amal Tamim, M.Sc.FPE – Specialist – Codes and Standards / Fire protection and safety

[1] You can view my first article on codes and standards by clicking on this link – https://technorm.qc.ca/en/building-code-from-international-experiences-to-local-perspectives/

[2] And, in certain countries, their inclusion in construction regulations via a building code and/or fire code.

[3] Let’s not forget that these requirements may be included in modifications made to Chapter C of the Building Code and in requirements for local authority tenders.

[4] It is worth noting that the IBC Code requires specialized inspections during new construction projects and once they have been completed. The inspection of materials and passive protection installations are required under Chapter 17 of the IBC Code and references AWCI-12-B, ASTM E605/ASTM E-736, ASTM E2174 and ASTM E2393 standards. The inspection of smoke control systems is also required. This kind of inspection must be carried out by qualified inspectors and approved inspection agencies, and inspection reports must be provided to the relevant authorities. In Canada, these standards are usually voluntarily incorporated into quotations provided by manufacturers, designers, architects and entrepreneurs.

Do you want to know more?

Amal Tamim presents several training courses in English about Building Codes and Standards. Have a look at our dedicated website : formation.technorm.qc.ca

By |2019-06-14T16:47:02+00:00February 6th, 2019|News|0 Comments