Building Code Terms - Elite Agri Solutions

Building Code Terms

Jon Jon|Mar 27, 2023

Elite Agri Solutions strives to provide background information on topics which are hard to research. In cases where no reputable print resources were available for us to reference, we interviewed industry experts, so it is inevitable that the contents of this document will contain inaccuracies and bias. Use this as a resource to help you ask the right questions, not as a source of definitive answers. Elite Agri Solutions and its employee will not be responsible for the consequences of any decision made based on this guide. Where text or data has been copied directly, the sources have been noted, otherwise it can be assumed that all the information in this guide has only been curated by Elite Agri Solutions and is not our original property.

These definitions have been taken from OMAFRA “Construction Guide for Farm Buildings” which references CFBC 1990 OBC1990 NBC1990.

This is a list of definitions which are useful while trying to understand the building code, engineered drawings and throughout the building process.

Allowable bearing pressure (as applying to foundations)

The maximum pressure that may be safely applied to a soil or rock by the foundation unit considered in design under expected loading and subsurface conditions.


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.

Attic or Roof Space

The space between the roof and the ceiling of the top storey or between a dwarf (aka. knee) wall and a sloping roof.

Building Area

The greatest horizontal area of a building above grade within the outside surface of the exterior walls or within the outside surface of exterior walls and the centre line of firewalls.

Building Height (in storeys)

The number of storeys contained between the roof and the floor of the first storey.


The material fails to meet the acceptance criteria of CAN4s114 “Standard Method of test for determination of Non-combustibility in Building Materials”

Combustible Construction

The type of construction that does not meet the requirements for non-combustible construction.

Dead load

The weight of all permanent structural and nonstructural components of a building.

Deep Bin

A bin for storing dry grains, bulk vegetables or fruits having a depth greater than 0.75 times the width.


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.

Exposing Building Face

The part of the exterior wall of a building which 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 which faces one direction.

Exterior Cladding

Components of a building which are exposed to the outdoor environment and are intended to provide protection against wind, water or vapour

Farm Building

A building or part thereof which does not contain a residential occupancy and which is associated with and located on land devoted to the practice of farming and used essentially for the housing of equipment or livestock, or production, storage or processing of agricultural and horticultural produce or feeds.

Fire Compartment

An enclosed space in a building that is separated from all other parts of the building by enclosing construction providing a fire separation that may be required to have a fire-resistance rating.

Fire-protection Rating

The time in hours or fraction thereof 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 the OBC 1990.

Fire Separation

A construction assembly that acts as a barrier against the spread of fire (a fire separation may or may not have a fire-resistance rating).

 Fire-resistance rating

The time in hours or fraction thereof 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.

Floor Area

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.


A system or arrangement of foundation units through which the loads from a building are transferred to supporting soil or rock.

Graded Lumber

Lumber which has been graded and stamped to indicate its grade as determined by the NLGA “Standard Grading Rules for Canadian Lumber”

High Human Occupancy (as applying to farm buildings)

An occupancy having an occupant load of more than one person per 40m2 of floor area during normal use.

Live Load

The load other than dead load to be assumed in the design of the structural members of a building. It includes loads resulting from snow, rain, wind, earthquake and those due to occupancy.

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.

Load Sharing System

Means a construction composed of 3 or more essentially parallel wood members, spaced at 610mm centres or less, so arranged or connected that they mutually support the load.

Low Human Occupancy

“(as applying to farm buildings) means an occupancy having an occupant load of not more than one person per 40m2of floor area during normal use.” (National Farm Building Code


A material meets the acceptance criteria of CAN4-S114


The use or intended use of a building or part thereof for the shelter or support of persons animals or property.

Occupant Load

The number of persons for which a building or part thereof is designed.


An interior wall 1 storey or part-storey in height that is not loadbearing.

Service Space

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

A device for heating water for plumbing services.

Shallow Bin

A bin for storing dry grains, bulk vegetables or fruits having a depth not greater than 0.75 times the width.

Space-heating Appliance

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.


The portion of a building which 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.

Supply Duct

A duct for conveying air from a heating, ventilating or air-conditioning appliance to a space to be heated, ventilated or air conditioned.

Ungraded Lumber

Lumber which has not been grade stamped to indicate its grade as determined by the NGLA “Standard Grading Rules for Canadian Lumber” but which meets the following visual attributes:

  1. Sawn to full nominal size,
  2. Has no evidence of decay,
  3. Has no knots which exceed 25 per cent of the cross section and spaced closer than 600 mm on centres
  4. Has the slope of grain not exceeding 1 (vertical) in 4 (horizontal)
  5. Is free of excess warp.

Unsafe Conditions

Any condition that could be hazardous to the health or safety of persons in the normal use of the building, persons outside the building or persons whose access to the building has not been reasonably prevented.

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