CIVIL | STRUCTURAL | MECHANICAL | ELECTRICAL | INDUSTRIAL
Call Us: 1-877-334-8846

Industrial Building F2 or F3 Classifications, What Makes the Difference?

posted on 11/16/2015
by Ryan Fidler, P.Eng., Structural Engineer
A few weeks ago as part of Manitoba Building Officials Association (MBOA) fall seminar series, we gave a presentation about how to classify industrial buildings. One of the takeaways was that different code and construction requirements can apply to the same building depending on if the building is classified as a F2 or F3 major occupancy.

Code classifications often have overlapping characteristics, which will affect your project’s budget. It is advisable to discuss these issues with the Authority Having Jurisdiction or get help navigating the Code from a trusted building code consultant.

Highlights of the presentation may be helpful.
Industrial Building Classifications
The occupancy or use of a building or part there of for the assembling, fabricating, manufacturing, processing, repairing or storing of goods and materials.
High Hazard, Group F, Division 1 (F1)
Industrial occupancy containing sufficient quantities of highly combustible and flammable or explosive materials to constitute a special fire hazard because of their inherent characteristics.
Medium Hazard, Group F Division 2 (F2)
Industrial occupancy in which the combustible content is more than 50kg/m2 or 1200 MJ/m2 of floor area and not classified as a high hazard industrial occupancy.
Low Hazard, Group F Division 3 (F3)
Industrial occupancy in which the combustible content is not more than 50 kg/m2 of floor area.
Different Requirements for F2 and F3 Classifications
Varying code and construction requirements can apply to the same building depending on if the building is classified as a F2 or F3 major occupancy.
  • F2 and F3 Building Code conformance articles will determine if the following are required:
    • sprinkler system
    • fire rated assemblies such as roof, mezzanine
    • fire rated loadbearing structural elements
  • Construction type and fire ratings of exterior walls for spatial separations and limiting distances.
  • Exiting requirements from mezzanine areas
Defining Industrial Occupancy Classifications
  • Principal Use
  • Occupant Load
  • Public Safety
  • Owner’s Requirements
  • Combustible Content
    • Low Hazard Industrial Occupancy F3 combustible Content < 50kg/m2 or 1200 MJ/m2
    • Medium Hazard Industrial Occupancy F2 combustible content > 50kg/m2 or 1200 MJ/m2

Combustible Content (NBCC 2010) combustible means that a material fails to meet the acceptance criteria of CAN/ULC-S114, “Test for Determination of Non-Combustibility in Building Materials”

Remember, when you want to build or upgrade your facilities and need building code consulting, you can call DGH Engineering. We are here to help!