10. June 2015

How Structural Thermal Breaks Meet Fire Safety in BC Building Codes

from Alexander Krenczik

Schock Isokorb® structural thermal break’s primary function is improving energy efficiency, yet equally important to building performance is building safety. As the Vancouver construction market continues to strive for new heights in building performance, Schock Isokorb® thermal break installations increase.

A recent installation of structural thermal breaks in Surrey at 3 Civic Plaza  initiated an evaluation of the Division 3 Part B of BC Building Code 2012  by fire code experts GHL Consultants LTD.




The results of the report  by GHL Consultants confirm that Schock Isokorb® structural thermal breaks will meet the BC building code requirements.

The evaluation analyzes how Schock Isokorb® complies with the code requirements in terms of fire rating, smoke development and flame spread.

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You can view the full report here, or in the download section of the Schock website.


Below is a summary of the criteria by which Schock Isokorb® was evaluated:


-Use of Combustible Components: Per the BC building code, certain combustible materials cannot be used in buildings. While others are permitted, they are limited to a certain amount or protection by thermal barriers. Since the BASF Neopor EPS insulation in Schock Isokorb® is design to be covered by at least 25mm of concrete, it complies with this requirement.


-Fire Resistance: Schock Isokorb® is installed to interface between the exterior and interior of a building, but it is not an exterior wall or structural support column or exterior wall. Therefore, Isokorb® is not a floor system and does not need to be held to fire rated floor standards. In short, this standard is not applied to balcony systems. Balconies are not required to be constructed to the required fire resistance rating.


-Flame Spread Rating: The flame spread rating restrictions generally apply to materials that are exposed in the interior of a building. Schock Iskorb® contains BASF Neopur EPS insulation, which is subject to a flame spread rating limit of 500 when contained in an exterior wall configuration. While the Isokorb® has not been evaluated by the Canadian standard, other similar testing has been completed to prove a fire spread rating well below the standards limit of the 500 Canadian requirements.

Vancouver BC Isokorb Solution


In conclusion, the Schöck Isokorb® is installed outside the load bearing building structure and floor systems, therefore fire rating is not applicable. However in order to reduce possible smoke developing, the insulation material of the Isokorb® is protected by 4 sides from either massive concrete or on top and bottom with cement fire boards.



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