U.K. timber frame industry's guidance, compliance system, for minimizing fire risk at timber frame construction sites wins backing of Chief Fire Officers Assn., health and safety watchdog

Wendy Lisney

Wendy Lisney

Dec 6, 2011 – Industry Intelligence

LOS ANGELES , December 5, 2011 () – A report on minimizing the risk of fires on timber frame construction sites published by the U.K. Timber Frame Assn. (UKTFA), has won the backing of the country's Chief Fire Officers Assn. and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The guidance has been designed to help architects and contractors specify the appropriate timber frame system for densely populated areas, U.K. timber industry magazine TTJ reported on Dec. 5. It also provides information on allowing the correct distances from surrounding properties and managing sites to reduce the risk of fire.

The UKTFA has formulated the guidance in response to a number of serious timber frame construction site fires, and says it means timber frame can be built in any U.K. location "relative to the fire risk associated with highly populated or inner city areas.”

According to the UKTFA, the guidance requires the contractor to take responsibility for specifying the correct type of timber frame and to demonstrate to the HSE that the guidance has been followed.

Dave Curry, director of the Chief Fire Officers Assn., commended the UKTFA's work and said other construction trade associations should "sit up and take note”.

Testing carried out by the UKTFA has led to the creation of three timber frame categories with increased resistance to fire spread, and which emit less heat to surrounding properties. The categories are: standard open panel construction, fire retardant treatment of open panel timber frame and sheathing, and closed panel treated frame and sheathing with pre-installed insulation.

The association has also developed a test and approval system for compliant timber frame systems and products.

A number of timber frame companies contributed to the guidance, including Intelligent Wood Systems, Stewart Milne Timber Systems, Kingspan Potton, Walker Timber Group, Muir Timber Systems, Prestoplan, Scotframe, Gang Nail and Wolf.

The primary source of this article is TTJ, the Timber Industry Magazine, Sidcup, U.K., on Dec. 5, 2011.

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