Defined Terms
1) The words and terms in italics in this Code have the following meanings:
Access to exit means that part of a means of egress within a floor area that provides access to an exit serving the floor area.
Adfreezing means the adhesion of soil to a foundation unit resulting from the freezing of soil water. (Also referred to as “frost grip.”)
Air barrier system means the assembly installed to provide a continuous barrier to the movement of air.
Air-supported structure means a structure consisting of a pliable membrane which achieves and maintains its shape and support by internal air pressure.
Alarm signal means an audible signal transmitted throughout a zone or zones or throughout a building to advise occupants that a fire emergency exists.
Alert signal means an audible signal to advise designated persons of a fire emergency.
Alteration means a change or extension to any matter or thing or to any occupancy regulated by this Code.
Appliance means a device to convert fuel into energy and includes all components, controls, wiring and piping required to be part of the device by the applicable standard referred to in this Code.
Artesian groundwater means a confined body of water under pressure in the ground.
Assembly occupancy means the occupancy or the use of a building, or part thereof, by a gathering of persons for civic, political, travel, religious, social, educational, recreational or like purposes, or for the consumption of food or drink.
Attic or roof space means the space between the roof and the ceiling of the top storey or between a dwarf wall and a sloping roof.
Authority having jurisdiction means the governmental body responsible for the enforcement of any part of this Code or the official or agency designated by that body to exercise such a function.
Barrier-free means that a building and its facilities can be approached, entered, and used by persons with physical or sensory disabilities.
Basement means a storey or storeys of a building located below the first storey.
Bearing surface means the contact surface between a foundation unit and the soil or rock upon which it bears.
Boiler means an appliance intended to supply hot water or steam for space heating, processing or power purposes.
Braced wall band means an imaginary continuous straight band extending vertically and horizontally through the building or part of the building, within which braced wall panels are constructed.
Braced wall panel means a portion of a wood-frame wall where bracing, sheathing, cladding or interior finish is designed and installed to provide the required resistance to lateral loads due to wind or earthquake.
Breeching means a flue pipe or chamber for receiving flue gases from one or more flue connections and for discharging these gases through a single flue connection.
Building means any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.
Building area means the greatest horizontal area of a building above grade within the outside surface of exterior walls or within the outside surface of exterior walls and the centre line of firewalls.
Building height (in storeys) means the number of storeys contained between the roof and the floor of the first storey.
Business and personal services occupancy means the occupancy or use of a building or part thereof for the transaction of business or the rendering or receiving of professional or personal services.
Caisson (see Pile).
Care means the provision of services other than treatment by or through care facility management to residents who require these services because of cognitive, physical or behavioural limitations.
Care occupancy means the occupancy or use of a building or part thereof where care is provided to residents. (See Appendix A.)
Cavity wall means a construction of masonry units laid with a cavity between the wythes. The wythes are tied together with metal ties or bonding units, and are relied on to act together in resisting lateral loads.
Chimney means a primarily vertical shaft enclosing at least one flue for conducting flue gases to the outdoors.
Chimney liner means a conduit containing a chimney flue used as a lining of a masonry or concrete chimney.
Closure means a device or assembly for closing an opening through a fire separation or an exterior wall, such as a door, a shutter, wired glass or glass block, and includes all components such as hardware, closing devices, frames and anchors.
Combustible means that a material fails to meet the acceptance criteria of CAN/ULC-S114, "Test for Determination of Non-Combustibility in Building Materials."
Combustible construction means that type of construction that does not meet the requirements for noncombustible construction.
Combustible dusts means dusts and particles that are ignitable and liable to produce an explosion.
Combustible fibres means finely divided, combustible vegetable or animal fibres and thin sheets or flakes of such materials which, in a loose, unbaled condition, present a flash fire hazard, including cotton, wool, hemp, sisal, jute, kapok, paper and cloth.
Combustible liquid means a liquid having a flash point at or above 37.8°C and below 93.3°C.
Conditioned space means any space within a building the temperature of which is controlled to limit variation in response to the exterior ambient temperature by the provision, either directly or indirectly, of heating or cooling over substantial portions of the year.
Constructor means a person who contracts with an owner or their authorized agent to undertake a project, and includes an owner who contracts with more than one person for the work on a project or undertakes the work on a project or any part thereof.
Contained use area means a supervised area containing one or more rooms in which occupant movement is restricted to a single room by security measures not under the control of the occupant.
Cooktop means a cooking surface having one or more burners or heating elements.
Dangerous goods means those products or substances that are regulated by the “Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.” (See Table of Division B of the NFC.)
Dead load means the weight of all permanent structural and non-structural components of a building.
Deep foundation means a foundation unit that provides support for a building by transferring loads either by end-bearing to soil or rock at considerable depth below the building, or by adhesion or friction, or both, in the soil or rock in which it is placed. Piles are the most common type of deep foundation.
Designer means the person responsible for the design.
Detention occupancy means the occupancy by persons who are restrained from or are incapable of evacuating to a safe location without the assistance of another person because of security measures not under their control.
Distillery means a process plant where distilled beverage alcohols are produced, concentrated or otherwise processed, and includes facilities on the same site where the concentrated products may be blended, mixed, stored or packaged.
Distilled beverage alcohol means a beverage that is produced by fermentation and contains more than 20% by volume of water-miscible alcohol.
Direct-vented (as applying to a fuel-fired space- or water-heating appliance) means an appliance and its venting system in which all the combustion air is supplied directly from the outdoors and the products of combustion are vented directly to the outdoors via independent, totally enclosed passageways connected directly to the appliance.
Dwelling unit means a suite operated as a housekeeping unit, used or intended to be used by one or more persons and usually containing cooking, eating, living, sleeping and sanitary facilities.
Excavation means the space created by the removal of soil, rock or fill for the purposes of construction.
Exhaust duct means a duct through which air is conveyed from a room or space to the outdoors.
Exit means that part of a means of egress, including doorways, that leads from the floor area it serves to a separate building, an open public thoroughfare, or an exterior open space protected from fire exposure from the building and having access to an open public thoroughfare. (See Appendix A.)
Exit level means the level of an exit stairway at which an exterior exit door or exit passageway leads to the exterior.
Exit storey (as applying to Subsection 3.2.6. of Division B) means a storey having an exterior exit door.
Exposing building face means that part of the exterior wall of a building that faces one direction and is located between ground level and the ceiling of its top storey or, where a building is divided into fire compartments, the exterior wall of a fire compartment that faces one direction.
Factory-built chimney means a chimney consisting entirely of factory-made parts, each designed to be assembled with the other without requiring fabrication on site.
Farm building means a building or part thereof that does not contain a residential occupancy and that is associated with and located on land devoted to the practice of farming, and used essentially for the housing of equipment or livestock, or the production, storage or processing of agricultural and horticultural produce or feeds. (See Appendix A.)
Fill means soil, rock, rubble, industrial waste such as slag, organic material or a combination of these that is transported and placed on the natural surface of soil or rock or organic terrain. It may or may not be compacted.
Fire block means a material, component or system that restricts the spread of fire within a concealed space or from a concealed space to an adjacent space.
Fire compartment means an enclosed space in a building that is separated from all other parts of the building by enclosing construction providing a fire separation having a required fire-resistance rating.
Fire damper means a closure consisting of a damper that is installed in an air distribution system or a wall or floor assembly and that is normally held open but designed to close automatically in the event of a fire in order to maintain the integrity of the fire separation.
Fire detector means a device that detects a fire condition and automatically initiates an electrical signal to actuate an alert signal or alarm signal and includes heat detectors and smoke detectors.
Fire load (as applying to an occupancy) means the combustible contents of a room or floor area expressed in terms of the average weight of combustible materials per unit area, from which the potential heat liberation may be calculated based on the calorific value of the materials, and includes the furnishings, finished floor, wall and ceiling finishes, trim and temporary and movable partitions.
Fire-protection rating means the time in minutes or hours that a closure will withstand the passage of flame when exposed to fire under specified conditions of test and performance criteria, or as otherwise prescribed in this Code.
Fire-resistance rating means the time in minutes or hours that a material or assembly of materials will withstand the passage of flame and the transmission of heat when exposed to fire under specified conditions of test and performance criteria, or as determined by extension or interpretation of information derived therefrom as prescribed in this Code. (See Appendix Note D-1.2.1.(2) of Division B.)
Fire-retardant-treated wood means wood or a wood product that has had its surface-burning characteristics, such as flame spread, rate of fuel contribution and density of smoke developed, reduced by impregnation with fire-retardant chemicals.
Fire separation means a construction assembly that acts as a barrier against the spread of fire. (See Appendix A.)
Fire stop means a system consisting of a material, component and means of support used to fill gaps between fire separations or between fire separations and other assemblies, or used around items that wholly or partially penetrate a fire separation.
Fire stop flap means a device intended for use in horizontal assemblies required to have a fire-resistance rating and incorporating protective ceiling membranes, which operates to close off a duct opening through the membrane in the event of a fire.
Firewall means a type of fire separation of noncombustible construction that subdivides a building or separates adjoining buildings to resist the spread of fire and that has a fire-resistance rating as prescribed in this Code and has structural stability to remain intact under fire conditions for the required fire-rated time.
First storey means the uppermost storey having its floor level not more than 2 m above grade.
Flame-spread rating means an index or classification indicating the extent of spread-of-flame on the surface of a material or an assembly of materials as determined in a standard fire test as prescribed in this Code.
Flammable liquid means a liquid having a flash point below 37.8°C and having a vapour pressure not more than 275.8 kPa (absolute) at  37.8°C as determined by
Flash point means the minimum temperature at which a liquid within a container gives off vapour in sufficient concentration to form an ignitable mixture with air near the surface of the liquid.
Floor area means the space on any storey of a building between exterior walls and required firewalls, including the space occupied by interior walls and partitions, but not including exits, vertical service spaces, and their enclosing assemblies.
Flue means an enclosed passageway for conveying flue gases.
Flue collar means the portion of a fuel-fired appliance designed for the attachment of the flue pipe or breeching.
Flue pipe means the pipe connecting the flue collar of an appliance to a chimney.
Forced-air furnace means a furnace equipped with a fan that provides the primary means for the circulation of air.
Foundation means a system or arrangement of foundation units through which the loads from a building are transferred to supporting soil or rock.
Foundation unit means one of the structural members of the foundation of a building such as a footing, raft or pile.
Frost action means the phenomenon that occurs when water in soil is subjected to freezing which, because of the water/ice phase change or ice lens growth, results in a total volume increase or the build-up of expansive forces under confined conditions or both, and the subsequent thawing that leads to loss of soil strength and increased compressibility.
Furnace means a space-heating appliance using warm air as the heating medium and usually having provision for the attachment of ducts.
Gas vent means that portion of a venting system designed to convey vent gases to the outdoors from the vent connector of a gas-fired appliance or directly from the appliance when a vent connector is not used.
Grade means the lowest of the average levels of finished ground adjoining each exterior wall of a building, except that localized depressions need not be considered in the determination of average levels of finished ground. (See First storey and Appendix A.)
Groundwater means a free standing body of water in the ground.
Groundwater level (groundwater table) means the top surface of a free standing body of water in the ground.
Guard means a protective barrier around openings in floors or at the open sides of stairs, landings, balconies, mezzanines, galleries, raised walkways or other locations to prevent accidental falls from one level to another. Such a barrier may or may not have openings through it.
Heat detector means a fire detector designed to operate at a predetermined temperature or rate of temperature rise.
Heavy timber construction means that type of combustible construction in which a degree of fire safety is attained by placing limitations on the sizes of wood structural members and on the thickness and composition of wood floors and roofs and by the avoidance of concealed spaces under floors and roofs.
High-hazard industrial occupancy (Group F, Division 1) means an industrial occupancy containing sufficient quantities of highly combustible and flammable or explosive materials which, because of their inherent characteristics, constitute a special fire hazard.
Horizontal exit means an exit from one building to another by means of a doorway, vestibule, walkway, bridge or balcony.
Horizontal service space means a space such as an attic, duct, ceiling, roof or crawl space oriented essentially in a horizontal plane, concealed and generally inaccessible, through which building service facilities such as pipes, ducts and wiring may pass.
Impeded egress zone means a supervised area in which occupants have free movement but require the release, by security personnel, of security doors at the boundary before they are able to leave the area, but does not include a contained use area.
Indirect service water heater means a service water heater that derives its heat from a heating medium such as warm air, steam or hot water.
Industrial occupancy means the occupancy or use of a building or part thereof for the assembling, fabricating, manufacturing, processing, repairing or storing of goods and materials.
Interconnected floor space means superimposed floor areas or parts of floor areas in which floor assemblies that are required to be fire separations are penetrated by openings that are not provided with closures.
Limiting distance means the distance from an exposing building face to a property line, the centre line of a street, lane or public thoroughfare, or to an imaginary line between 2 buildings or fire compartments on the same property, measured at right angles to the exposing building face.
Live load means a variable load due to the intended use and occupancy that is to be assumed in the design of the structural members of a building. It includes loads due to cranes and the pressure of liquids in containers.
Loadbearing (as applying to a building element) means subjected to or designed to carry loads in addition to its own dead load, excepting a wall element subjected only to wind or earthquake loads in addition to its own dead load.
Low-hazard industrial occupancy (Group F, Division 3) means an industrial occupancy in which the combustible content is not more than 50 kg/m 2 or 1 200 MJ/m 2 of floor area.
Major occupancy means the principal occupancy for which a building or part thereof is used or intended to be used, and shall be deemed to include the subsidiary occupancies that are an integral part of the principal occupancy. The major occupancy classifications used in this Code are as follows:
Assembly occupancies intended for the production and viewing of the performing arts
Assembly occupancies not elsewhere classified in Group A
Assembly occupancies of the arena type
Assembly occupancies in which the occupants are gathered in the open air
Detention occupancies in which persons are under restraint or are incapable of self-preservation because of security measures not under their control
Treatment occupancies
Care occupancies
Residential occupancies
Business and personal services occupancies
Mercantile occupancies
High-hazard industrial occupancies
Medium-hazard industrial occupancies
Low-hazard industrial occupancies
Masonry or concrete chimney means a chimney of brick, stone, concrete or masonry units constructed on site.
Means of egress means a continuous path of travel provided for the escape of persons from any point in a building or contained open space to a separate building, an open public thoroughfare, or an exterior open space protected from fire exposure from the building and having access to an open public thoroughfare. Means of egress includes exits and access to exits.
Mechanically vented (as applying to a fuel-fired space- or water-heating appliance) means an appliance and its combustion venting system in which the products of combustion are entirely exhausted to the outdoors by a mechanical device, such as a fan, blower or aspirator, upstream or downstream from the combustion zone of the appliance, and the portion of the combustion venting system that is downstream of the fan, blower or aspirator is sealed and does not include draft hoods or draft control devices. (See Appendix A.)
Medium-hazard industrial occupancy (Group F, Division 2) means an industrial occupancy in which the combustible content is more than 50 kg/m 2 or 1 200 MJ/m  2 of floor area and not classified as a high-hazard industrial occupancy.
Mercantile occupancy means the occupancy or use of a building or part thereof for the displaying or selling of retail goods, wares or merchandise.
Mezzanine means an intermediate floor assembly between the floor and ceiling of any room or storey and includes an interior balcony.
Noncombustible means that a material meets the acceptance criteria of
Noncombustible construction means that type of construction in which a degree of fire safety is attained by the use of noncombustible materials for structural members and other building assemblies.
Occupancy means the use or intended use of a building or part thereof for the shelter or support of persons, animals or property.
Occupant load means the number of persons for which a building or part thereof is designed.
Open-air storey means a storey in which at least 25% of the total area of its perimeter walls is open to the outdoors in a manner that will provide cross-ventilation to the entire storey.
Owner means any person, firm or corporation controlling the property under consideration.
Partition means an interior wall 1 storey or part-storey in height that is not loadbearing.
Party wall means a wall jointly owned and jointly used by 2 parties under easement agreement or by right in law, and erected at or upon a line separating 2 parcels of land each of which is, or is capable of being, a separate real-estate entity.
Perched groundwater means a free standing body of water in the ground extending to a limited depth.
Pile means a slender deep foundation unit made of materials such as wood, steel or concrete or a combination thereof, that is either premanufactured and placed by driving, jacking, jetting or screwing, or cast-in-place in a hole formed by driving, excavating or boring. (Cast-in-place bored piles are often referred to as caissons in Canada.)
Plenum means a chamber forming part of an air duct system.
Plumbing system means a drainage system, a venting system and a water system or parts thereof.
Post-disaster building means a building that is essential to the provision of services in the event of a disaster, and includes (See Appendix A.)
Private sewage disposal system means a privately owned plant for the treatment and disposal of sewage (such as a septic tank with an absorption field).
Process plant means an industrial occupancy where materials, including flammable liquids, combustible liquids, or gases, are produced or used in a process. (See Table of Division B of the NFC.)
Protected floor space means that part of a floor area protected from the effects of fire and used as part of a means of egress from an interconnected floor space.
Public corridor means a corridor that provides access to exit from more than one suite. (See Appendix A.)
Public way means a sidewalk, street, highway, square or other open space to which the public has access, as of right or by invitation, expressed or implied.
Repair garage means a building or part thereof where facilities are provided for the repair or servicing of motor vehicles.
Residential occupancy means the occupancy or use of a building or part thereof by persons for whom sleeping accommodation is provided but who are not harboured for the purpose of receiving care or treatment and are not involuntarily detained.
Return duct means a duct for conveying air from a space being heated, ventilated or air-conditioned back to the heating, ventilating or air-conditioning appliance.
Rim joist means the outermost member in floor framing, other than blocking, be it parallel, perpendicular or on an angle to the floor joists. (See Appendix A.)
Rock means that portion of the earth's crust that is consolidated, coherent and relatively hard and is a naturally formed, solidly bonded, mass of mineral matter that cannot readily be broken by hand.
Sanitary drainage system means a drainage system that conducts sewage.
Secondary suite means a self-contained dwelling unit with a prescribed floor area located in a building or portion of a building of only residential occupancy that contains only one other dwelling unit and common spaces, and where both dwelling units constitute a single real estate entity. (See Appendix A and Article of Division B.)
Service room means a room provided in a building to contain equipment associated with building services. (See Appendix A.)
Service space means space provided in a building to facilitate or conceal the installation of building service facilities such as chutes, ducts, pipes, shafts or wires.
Service water heater means a device for heating water for plumbing services.
Shallow foundation means a foundation unit that derives its support from soil or rock located close to the lowest part of the building that it supports.
Smoke alarm means a combined smoke detector and audible alarm device designed to sound an alarm within the room or suite in which it is located upon the detection of smoke within that room or suite.
Smoke detector means a fire detector designed to operate when the concentration of airborne combustion products exceeds a predetermined level.
Soil means that portion of the earth's crust that is fragmentary, or such that some individual particles of a dried sample may be readily separated by agitation in water; it includes boulders, cobbles, gravel, sand, silt, clay and organic matter.
Space heater means a space-heating appliance for heating the room or space within which it is located, without the use of ducts.
Space-heating appliance means an appliance intended for the supplying of heat to a room or space directly, such as a space heater, fireplace or unit heater, or to rooms or spaces of a building through a heating system such as a central furnace or boiler.
Sprinklered (as applying to a building or part thereof) means that the building or part thereof is equipped with a system of automatic sprinklers.
Stage means a space that is designed primarily for theatrical performances with provision for quick change scenery and overhead lighting, including environmental control for a wide range of lighting and sound effects and that is traditionally, but not necessarily, separated from the audience by a proscenium wall and curtain opening.
Storage garage means a building or part thereof intended for the storage or parking of motor vehicles and containing no provision for the repair or servicing of such vehicles. (See Appendix A.)
Storage-type service water heater means a service water heater with an integral hot water storage tank.
Storey means that portion of a building that is situated between the top of any floor and the top of the floor next above it, and if there is no floor above it, that portion between the top of such floor and the ceiling above it.
Stove means an appliance intended for cooking and space heating.
Street means any highway, road, boulevard, square or other improved thoroughfare 9 m or more in width, that has been dedicated or deeded for public use and is accessible to fire department vehicles and equipment.
Subsurface investigation means the appraisal of the general subsurface conditions at a building site by analysis of information gained by such methods as geological surveys, in situ testing, sampling, visual inspection, laboratory testing of samples of the subsurface materials and groundwater observations and measurements.
Suite means a single room or series of rooms of complementary use, operated under a single tenancy, and includes dwelling units, individual guest rooms in motels, hotels, boarding houses, rooming houses and dormitories as well as individual stores and individual or complementary rooms for business and personal services occupancies. (See Appendix A.)
Supply duct means a duct for conveying air from a heating, ventilating or air-conditioning appliance to a space to be heated, ventilated or air-conditioned.
Theatre means a place of public assembly intended for the production and viewing of the performing arts or the screening and viewing of motion pictures, and consisting of an auditorium with permanently fixed seats intended solely for a viewing audience.
Treatment means the provision of medical or other health-related intervention to persons, where the administration or lack of administration of these interventions may render them incapable of evacuating to a safe location without the assistance of another person. (See Appendix A.)
Treatment occupancy means the occupancy or use of a building or part thereof for the provision of treatment, and where overnight accommodation is available to facilitate the treatment. (See Appendix A.)
Unit heater means a suspended space heater with an integral air-circulating fan.
Unprotected opening (as applying to exposing building face) means a doorway, window or opening other than one equipped with a closure having the required fire-protection rating, or any part of a wall forming part of the exposing building face that has a fire-resistance rating less than that required for the exposing building face.
Unsafe condition means any condition that could cause undue hazard to the life, limb or health of any person authorized or expected to be on or about the premises.
Unstable liquid means a liquid, including flammable liquids and combustible liquids, that is chemically reactive to the extent that it will vigorously react or decompose at or near normal temperature and pressure conditions or that is chemically unstable when subjected to impact.
Vapour barrier means the elements installed to control the diffusion of water vapour.
Vent connector (as applying to heating or cooling systems) means the part of a venting system that conducts the flue gases or vent gases from the flue collar of a gas appliance to the chimney or gas vent, and may include a draft control device.
Vertical service space means a shaft oriented essentially vertically that is provided in a building to facilitate the installation of building services including mechanical, electrical and plumbing installations and facilities such as elevators, refuse chutes and linen chutes.
Walkway means a covered or roofed pedestrian thoroughfare used to connect 2 or more buildings.