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10CE - Building Code History and Alternative Solutions

07 May 2014 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

1.5 ConEd Learning hours

This course is being offered again on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Course Outline

This presentation discusses the historical basis of building code requirements present in today’s building codes. Understanding the technical basis of specific building code requirements allows a designer to develop alternative solutions to address the specific concern that lead to the introduction of a code requirement. The historical basis behind the code requirement can be used in support of alternative solution applications. 

This session will include examining the basis behind building height and area limitations relative to construction type, travel distance and other code requirements. Examples of using the historical basis behind a building code requirement in support of an alternative solution application will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Why was the building code requirement introduced,
  2. What was the concern at the time of introduction (was there a problem prevalent in the construction industry at the time),
  3. Is the original basis of the requirement valid in modern construction practices, and
  4. The building code has evolved with each cycle and may now have other features that mitigate the risk behind the original basis of the code requirement.


Keith Calder, M.Eng. P.Eng
Founding Principal
Keith Calder
 provides leadership with his expertise in building codes, fire safety standards, specialized fire protection systems, and performance-based design. He focuses on assisting clients with alternative solutions for complex and innovative designs. In particular, he specializes in the use of computer fire modelling to assess new construction design with regard to smoke control and people movement. He has led our computer modelling team on our most significant transportation projects, including the Canada Line project in Vancouver, LRT and Airport expansion projects in Calgary, and Sentosa Tunnel and International Cruise Ship Terminal projects in Singapore.

Mr. Calder has developed a vast knowledge of the application of current and historical building codes, which assists with conducting complicated design audits, specifically, where the design and construction of a facility or group of integrated structures spans several decades and editions of the applicable codes.

Complementing his design expertise, Keith has a wide background in forensic fire investigation. He has investigated and analyzed many fire and explosion incidents, and has conducted forensic audits of building design and construction. An active researcher, he continues to coordinate and assist with our ongoing live burn research program.