NBC 2015 Commentary L

Date: November 30, 2017

Presenter: Andy Metten, P.Eng., Struct.Eng. (Bush Bohlman & Partners)

Panel discussion:
Andy Metten, P.Eng., Struct.Eng. (Bush Bohlman & Partners)
Ron DeVall, PhD, P.Eng. (Read Jones Christoffersen)
John Sherstobitoff, P.Eng. (Ausenco)

Vancouver has many heritage buildings dating back to the early 1900’s. These buildings form an important part of the fabric of the city but are woefully inadequate from many standpoints including seismic resistance. Commentary L is the only part of the National Building Code that does not specifically pertain only to new buildings, and a refinement of the seismic provisions in that Commentary was done for the development of NBC 2015 such that there could be model guidelines on the appropriate level of seismic upgrading of existing buildings of various vintages and deficiency levels.

A recent initiative to upgrade thirteen Single Room Occupancy hotels (SRO Hotels) on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside resulted in putting into practice the upgrading techniques for multistory unreinforced masonry buildings with soft stories, weak diaphragms and unreinforced load bearing masonry. The project also exposed several issues with the present Code requirements for the upgrading of heritage and other existing buildings that are being renovated or expanded.

This talk presented the repair and seismic upgrading of several heritage buildings in Vancouver over the past five years along with the need for and the development of guidelines for doing this type of work. The position of present Canadian building codes on heritage upgrading and the development of NBC 2015 Commentary L were discussed with examples.

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