With the last large-scale, industry-wide testing carried out over 20 years ago, a new fire-in-use research project was vital for the sector experiencing a watershed in fire safety.
After the fire at Grenfell tower in 2017, UK Government called for a review of regulations, documents, and handbooks for fire performance—specifically construction’s testing of materials and systems.
The reviews focused on the testing of materials and systems used in construction, so developers and technicians are more informed, and our built environment is more fireproof.
Having an £850m market value in 2020, timber frame is an accelerating sector that is outperforming other kinds of housebuilding. 270,000 timber frame homes built every year could triple the carbon captured by homes in the UK, says the Climate Change Committee, so quality, in-depth testing is essential for this innovative and sustainable system.
This exemplary project produced go-to guidance on timber frame systems and fire safety for developers and installers’ reference, undertaking in-depth research, full scale testing, fire assessments and fire design protocols. The level of testing was unprecedented and aimed to increase confidence and knowledge of timber frame systems and fire-in-use.
The industry-critical project was led by the Structural Timber Association with funding and support provided through partners Swedish Wood, Scottish Forestry and BE-ST. The project value totalled over £288,000. BE-ST funding supported the research team at the University of Edinburgh to conduct testing and produce the final guidance reports, which were peer-reviewed by BRE. All research and guidance documents can be found in the STA's library on timber frame fire guidance.