Canadian Building Code Evaluations|Spray Foam Insulation


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Canadian Code Requirements for Commercial Building Designs

Canadian commercial building designs that include spray foam insulation should take into consideration the applicable insulation and energy requirements for the province/territory of the project.

These requirements may be based entirely, or with modifications, of the following model codes and/or industry standards:

  • National Building Code of Canada (NBC-2010)
  • National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB–2011)
  • ASHRAE 90.1 – Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings

There may also be codes related to the specific application in which Icynene can work with your firm to address the Canadian code requirements. To determine national model code adoption in your Province-Territory, you can visit the resources hosted by the Canadian Codes Centre.

Thermal Barrier and Vapour Barrier Requirements

In general, with some specific exceptions, foamed plastic insulation must be protected from adjacent space in the building, by a thermal barrier. This could be 12.7 mm standard gypsum board, lath and plaster, masonry, concrete, or any thermal barrier that meets the requirements of Classification “B”, when tested to CAN/ULC S124.  Icynene’s Engineering and Building Science experts are able to work with you on your commercial building design to determine the requirements for and to advise on a suitable thermal barrier.

In terms of a vapour barrier, a low-permeance vapour barrier is generally required to minimize moisture transfer by diffusion. Its’ type and position should be a consideration in the design of the building. Designers should verify that the authority having jurisdiction recognizes the integral vapour barrier characteristic of particular grades of Icynene spray foam.

Determining RSI-Value Requirements

RSI-Value requirements will depend on the requirements of the local building code, for the type of building, and the Climate Zone in which it is located. Energy performance-based compliance (modeling) paths within the codes may permit Icynene spray foam insulation to be installed with less than the prescriptive minimum RSI-value and still meet the intent of the code. Energy model calculations account for air leakage through the building envelope and Icynene spray foam products can contribute to a reduction in the air leakage rate for the building.