National Building Code of Canada Update

Expanding Window Options

Changes outlined in National Building Code 2020 Update

While fiberglass windows have been successfully used in projects across Europe and North America for decades, older sections of Canadian codes have limited their domestic use.

That's why in 2017, a group of 10 window manufacturers partnered with the National Research Council of Canada to study combustible windows, with the aim of demonstrating they were safe to use in non-combustible construction. The subsequent findings of several S134 tests showed fiberglass, composite and vinyl windows met test standards, and became the basis for updates in the National Building Code pertaining to windows in non-combustible construction.


Previous Language in the NBC - 

5) Combustible window sashes and frames are permitted in a building required to be of noncombustible construction provided

  • a) each window in an exterior wall face is an individual unit separated by noncombustible wall construction from every other opening in the wall,
  • b) windows in exterior walls in contiguous storeys are separated by not less than 1m of noncombustible construction, and
  • c) the aggregate area of openings in an exterior wall face of a fire compartment is not more than 40% of the area of the wall face.


New Language in NBC 2020 Update- 

5) Combustible window sashes and frames are permitted in a building required to be of noncombustible construction, provided they are vertically non-contiguous between storeys.

Download the National Building Code 2020
More options. Better Buildings.

What does this mean for buildings?

Now that the 2020 update has been officially published by the federal government, provinces will soon incorporate the updates into their building codes and announce the formal transition dates.

This means Canadian architects can confidently include high-performance fiberglass windows and window wall in new mid and high-rise construction projects, without triggering an alternate solution.

Retrofit and rehab projects could still require an alternate solution based on specifics of the building, but for the vast majority of projects will have streamlined access to expanded fenestration options.

Download Universal Series™ 3-Part Spec
Future of Performance

The Benefits of Fiberglass Windows

Offering comparable strength and durability to traditional aluminum windows—but boasting 100% – 250% improved thermal performance—fiberglass windows can significantly improve a building’s overall energy performance. That's why Cascadia has used a proprietary, high glass-fiber-to-resin formula for more than a decade.

Beyond its high strength and thermal efficiency, Cascadia's pultruded, thermoset fiberglass frames contain roughly 58% recycled content, low VOC's and represents less embodied energy compared to vinyl or aluminum.™

Notable Fiberglass Window Projects in Canada:

Pacific Point II Retrofit

UVIC Student Residence

825 Pacific Street Passive House

Ken Soble Tower EnerPHit

Universal Series™ Windows
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