Fire Protection Requirements:
City of Edmonton
Update to 10 Minute Fire Response Boundary Map and Construction Practices – Effective January 1, 2022
A revised version of the 10 minute Fire Response Boundary map is effective as of January 1, 2022. To determine if the home that you are building is inside or outside the 10 Minute Response Map, refer to City of Edmonton Maps and select ERD Public Data on the legend.
Effective January 1, 2022, the City will only accept building permit applications for construction projects outside the 10 minute response time boundary that contain plans and/or specifications that reflect applicable Code-compliant wall assemblies per Article 18.104.22.168. of Division B of the Code or a specific variance by alternative solution using the process outlined in Sentence 22.214.171.124.(1) of Division A of the Code. Read more.
In the aftermath of the High Intensity Residential Fires (HIRF) in Alberta in the early 2000’s the Government of Alberta established a committee charged with studying large loss building fires in Alberta. The final HIRF report recommended a number of changes to the 2006 Alberta Building Code and Alberta Fire Code, and changes to these documents were published in 2009.
Some notable changes were:
Alberta Fire Code:
- Protection of Adjacent Buildings (APP)
- Updated requirements for Fire Safety Plans
- Updated requirements for Access for Firefighting
Alberta Building Code:
- Fire department response times (126.96.36.199) were added to the code
- Attached garages were required to have an interior drywall finish such as drywall and walls and ceiling were required to have insulation and vapour barrier
- Changes were made to how distance to the property line was enforced when the distance was less than 1.2m.
As a result of these changes, the following requirements are being enforced by the City of Edmonton Fire Department.
- Adjacent Property Protection - Protecting Adjacent Properties During Construction Single Attached and Detached Homes
- Submission of a fire safety plan/evacuation plan at building permit application for approval by the City of Edmonton. City of Edmonton - Fire Safety Plan requirements
Zero Lot Line Construction
Zero Lot Line Construction: Since the time of the HIRF report publication and the changes to the fire and building codes a new form of housing has been developed in the City of Edmonton - Reduced (Zero) Lot Line Housing. This type of housing reduces the lot line on one side to zero, which requires that the “zero” wall be built to specific requirements in the building code. These requirements would not allow features such as overhangs, windows or doors to be constructed in any of the side walls. The City of Edmonton and CHBA-ER again worked together to introduce a city wide policy about the construction of these types of homes Policy B14-01 Reduced or Zero Lot Line and Policy B14-01G Reduces or Zero Lot Line for Detached Garages
Fire Department Response Times: 10 Minute Fire Response Map
In an effort to ensure compliance with the requirements for fire department response times while still allowing windows in the side yards, CHBA-ER conducted tests to determine the extent of fire spread in the spring of 2011. The Intertek report was shared with the City of Edmonton, and as a result a site specific variance process (Request for Variance Form) was collaboratively created between the City of Edmonton and CHBA-ER. Please note this request for variance form has been updated as of January 1, 2022. This site-specific variance is required for the use of side yard windows on homes that are built outside of the City of Edmonton’s 10 Minute Response Map. The variance process requires that a builder purchases a copy of the Intertek report from CHBA-ER for each permit application, and uses the report for the basis of the variance request.
To determine if the home that you are building is inside or outside the 10 Minute Response Map, refer to City of Edmonton Maps and select ERD Public Data on the legend.
The new practices, as of January 1, 2022, are:
If you are building inside the 10 minute fire response boundary:
- Side yard windows are regulated as per the building code
- Side yard exterior wall sheathing installed per building and fire code. (See Adjacent Property Protection requirements; Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.)
- Soffits will be non-vented per building code.
If you are building outside the 10 minute fire response boundary:
- A variance is required for the installation of windows in the exterior side wall located 1.2 m to 2.4m from the side yard property line. Such windows must be installed per building code except that they must have metal clad wood frames, triple glazing, argon filling and low "E" coating. They are permitted to be openable or fixed, but not of a slider type. The maximum width of the window is limited to 48" with the exception of a basement window 60" x 24". The maximum area of the window is limited to 1920 square inches (e.g., 48" x 40").
- Above Grade Windows: 48x40/ max 1920 sq.in. or another configuration where maximum width of 48" and area of 1920 sq.in. is not exceeded.
- Below Grade Windows: 60x24 or max 1920 sq.in. or another configuration where maximum width of 60" and area of 1920 sq.in. is not exceeded
- Maximum percentage of glazing would be determined by actual distance to property line according to Table 188.8.131.52. For 1.2m, you can have 7% glazed openings.
- The side walls up to 2.4m from the side yard property line must be constructed per building code, including:
- Noncombustible cladding or 12.7mm (1/2 inch) exterior grade gypsum sheathing under vinyl siding.
- Have a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min.
- Soffits must be non-vented per building code.
Contact the City of Edmonton Building Technical Advisors at 780-496-3149 for further information regarding Requests for Variance.
Fire Test Study Results
The Interek Final Text Report is being provided for Information Purposes only. Use of this report for any purpose, requires the express consent of CHBA-ER.
For those companies wishing to purchase multiple Side Wall Fire Protection Testing Licenses, subsequent to a bulk online purchase, the CHBA-ER will issue receipts for each license as subsets of the original receipt number (e.g., for a purchase of 10 bulk licenses under receipt #21, CHBA-ER will forward 10 PDF license receipts numbered 21.1 to 21.10 to the applicant company.
If you are having issues logging in to purchase the Fire Test Study, click "No, this is my first time here." and checkout as a guest.
The City of Edmonton will require Proof Of Payment (copy of receipt) from the CHBA-ER be attached to all Requests For Variance for use of this Report in support of each Request For Variance.