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Certified Professional Services

The Certified Professional program is a program by which certain municipalities, including the City of Vancouver and City of Surrey, authorize a Registered Engineer or Architect to provide a detailed coordinated review of the life safety and fire protection requirements for a project, as prepared by design and consulting teams on an accelerated time line. Further, a Certified Professional is authorized by the municipality to conduct field review of fire and life safety items for the project in lieu of the district building inspector. This program recognizes the significant level of knowledge and understanding of the Building Code in both its theoretical and practical application. As Certified Professionals, we act as a single-point contact between the project consultants and the Authority Having Jurisdiction, and provide many of the services that would otherwise be provided by the City plans examiners and building inspector. Substantial cost savings can be realized through faster permit issuance, responsiveness to site schedule and through constructive issue resolution on site.

Although all municipalities have not adopted the Certified Professional program, the level of review anticipated by the Authority Having Jurisdiction from a third party Building Code consultant has steadily increased over the past decade. Both the project team and the Authority Having Jurisdiction recognize the particular expertise brought to the project, resulting in a level of comfort for the Authority Having Jurisdiction and allowing the design team to meet the goals of the project and recognizing cost savings for the owner.

Building And Fire Code Consulting

In the provision of Building and Fire Code Consulting and Fire Protection Engineering services, CFT Engineering maintains a number of primary objectives:

  • Minimize the impact of Code requirements on design goals of the owner and the architect.
  • Develop an Approach to Building Code Compliance Report based on the needs of the project, applicable Codes and sound Fire Protection Engineering principles.
  • Work with the project team to communicate how life and fire safety considerations affect building and design use.
  • Explore wherever possible, alternative or “equivalent” solutions to Building Code compliance in order to achieve cost efficiencies or to meet the design and functional objectives of the project
  • With respect to alternative solution issues, identifying the most cost effective method of applying the intent of the Building Code which meets the design goals of the project.
  • Discuss approval of design concepts with Building and Fire Officials.

Fire Code Consulting

Building Codes and Fire Codes both contain provisions that deal with the safety of persons in buildings in the event of a fire, and the protection of buildings from the effects of fire. Whereas Building Codes apply to building construction, Fire Codes typically apply to the operation and maintenance of fire related features in buildings. Fire Codes also address the ongoing maintenance and safety requirements for specific hazards.

Where an existing facility, property or site has been deemed by local authorities to not comply with the safety requirements of the Fire Code, or upgrade of existing facilities to comply with the Fire Code is sought, CFT Engineering will work with owners, consultants and the Authority Having Jurisdiction to develop a plan and implementation procedure to address any concerns and comply with the requirements of applicable Codes or By-Laws.

In the provision of Building Code consulting and fire protection engineering services, CFT Engineering maintains a number of primary objectives:

  • With respect to alternative solution issues, identifying the most cost effective method of applying the intent of the Building Code which meets the design goals of the project.
  • Minimize the impact of Code requirements on design goals of the owner and architect.
  • Explore wherever possible, alternative or “equivalent” solutions to Building Code compliance in order to achieve cost efficiencies and the design and functional objectives of the project.
  • Develop a Building Code Compliance Report based on the needs of the project, applicable Codes and sound fire protection engineering principles.
  • Work with the project team to communicate how life and fire safety considerations affect building and design use.
  • Discuss approval of design concepts with Building and Fire officials.

Alternative Solutions To Building Code & By-Law

Where a particular design from the consultant team does not meet the prescriptive requirements identified in the applicable Building Code or Building By-Law, these Codes permit the submission of an alternative solution that meets the life safety and fire protection objectives of the Building Code or Building By-Law. Under previous Codes, these alternative solutions were identified as equivalencies. An alternative solution prepared under provision of the objective based Building Code, permits owners and design consultants to achieve significant new innovation or design, or realize cost savings while meeting the life safety and fire protection requirements of the applicable Codes and Standards. Under the objective based Code system, all provisions of the Building Code are subject to a performance based review and submission of an alternative solution meeting the objective and intent of the Building Code.

Alternative solutions may be prepared to address innovative design configurations, new materials or systems which do not comply with the prescriptive requirements of the Building Code. In the preparation of alternative solutions, CFT Engineering maintains a number of primary objectives:

  • Design configurations identifying the most cost effective method of applying the intent of the Building Code which meets the design goals of the project.
  • Minimize the impact of Code requirements on design goals of the owner and architect.
  • Work with the project team to communicate how life and fire safety considerations affect building and design use.
  • Coordinate and facilitate approval of design concepts with Building and Fire officials.
  • Provide alternates to Building Code compliance to better serve the unique needs of the end user group.

Fire Protection System Review

The engineers of CFT Engineering Inc. are experienced in the detailed review of fire protection engineering systems and requirements. The design and installation of modern sprinkler and fire alarm systems are continually changing as more life safety and fire protection experience is obtained and Codes and Standards are modified accordingly.

Advice is often sought by owners, developers or project consultants with respect to the design configuration and coordination of life safety and fire protection systems. CFT Engineering can provide an independent third party review and coordination of these systems to ensure that the life safety and fire protection requirements of the Building Code are met, and a coordinated design results in a cost effective application and functionality that serves the end user group for the project.

Objective Based Codes, Performance Based Design And Fire Modelling

For the first time the National Building Code of Canada has been written as an objective based Code. The previous prescriptive requirements exist in addition to the new objective based format. All Provincial Codes based on the National Building Code formally permit a performance based design for buildings. In most circumstances, a complete performance based design is not practical as the level of review and analysis would be significant. However, it is common that specific objectives of the Building Code may be met by performance based design and alternative solutions.

In performance based design, a fire protection engineer utilizes the tools of fire science to review and analyse a specific building design material or system to determine whether or not the objectives of the Building Code are met.

Tools utilized by our fire protection engineers include:

  • Computational fluid dynamic modelling (CFD).
  • Exiting and timed egress analysis.
  • Analysis of structural fire protection or other building systems for fire protection.
  • Materials assessment and performance relative to fire behaviour.
  • Material and assembly analysis with respect to heat transfer.
  • Review and assessment of smoke management systems.

Occupant Load

CFT Engineering has completed detailed occupancy analysis for a wide variety of assembly and licensed beverage establishments throughout the lower mainland. CFT Engineering will work with the owner, facility manager and consultants to option the maximum occupant load permitted within the constraints of Codes and local By-Laws. Where appropriate, CFT Engineering will liaise closely with Building and Fire officials to facilitate timely review and approval. Occupant load packages are typically submitted to the Chief of Fire Prevention at the municipal Fire Department for review and acceptance. This accepted occupant load is then typically provided to a liquor license consultant for application to the Provincial Liquor Authority in the case of licensed beverage establishments.
 

Code Compliance Drawings

As local municipalities delegate more and more of the design review to independent third parties or continue to increase their level of standards for building permit application, CFT Engineering is increasing requested to prepare Building Code compliance drawings in support of, and submitted with, building permit applications. In the preparation of Building Code compliance drawings, CFT Engineering works closely with the design team to demonstrate in pictorial format how the major life safety and fire protection features of the Building Code are incorporated into the project.
Most municipalities are requiring Code compliance drawings to be submitted with building permit application, whether or not they have adopted the Certified Professional program. Code compliance drawings would typically show items such as:

  • Fire separations.
  • Travel distances.
  • Smoke management systems.
  • Occupancy types and separations.
  • Highrise requirements.
  • Fire Department response and site access compliance issues.
  • Fire hydrant and key fire protection system components.

Consultant teams, architects, owners and developers are using Code compliance drawings in conjunction with Building Code Compliance Reports to facilitate and expedite the review process by the Authority Having Jurisdiction, as well as ensuring a clear and consistent approach to Building Code compliance for the consultant team throughout the course of construction.
 

Third Party Review

Increasingly, local Authorities are looking to private consultants to provide independent review and advice regarding increasingly complicated and complex projects. CFT Engineering can provide independent concept review services for projects on behalf of the local Authority, providing advice and consultation with respect to compliance with the life safety and fire protection requirements of the Building Code.