TIMBER FRAME FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT
Timber frame construction is the most popular method of building in the developed world. It’s currently used in over 25% of all new houses in the UK and is becoming more widespread in the commercial sector too. It’s versatility and flexibility is seeing timber frame increasing being used in educational facilities, retail units of all sizes, healthcare and office blocks - in fact, any project where speed, economy without compromise and a lower carbon footprint are desirable.
With typical timber frame construction, as the name suggests, the load-bearing structure of a building is made of engineered timber panels, instead of a steel frame or concrete block work. The panels comprise horizontal and vertical timber studs, together with a timber-based sheathing, to form a strong, rigid structural frame that transmits loads to the building’s foundations. Overall, it’s a faster, more cost effective and considerably more sustainable building method. As the environmental challenges of 21st century building become apparent, more and more builders, architects and developers in all sectors are turning to the unique advantages of timber frame.
It is widely accepted that fires in timber frame buildings are more extensive than fires in buildings constructed of traditional materials, such as brick or concrete. Fires during the construction phase can be particularly devastating as the timber is often unprotected and there is little to prevent the involvement of the whole building.
Centurion have worked exclusively with a number of UK timber framed construction firms ensuring that there sites have received the essential fire risk assessment of the timber framed site during construction phases. A fire starting on a timber framed construction project will rapidly spread to involve the building structure itself leading to inevitable structural collapse, spread to surrounding structures and properties and a conflagration that the fire service are unable to tackle. It may not be until later in the project that the building has a degree of fire resistance, once cladding and compartmentation (mostly in the form of plasterboard and fire doors) have been put into place. For this reason, customs and practices that may be appropriate in a traditional construction environment must be avoided or modified when working with timber frame. Inevitably, there are crucial areas where a lack of understanding can lead to increased risk of fires starting or spreading once they take hold.
Our expert team will carry out an onsite inspection and take into account not only the size and scale of your project but the neighbouring buildings and your construction practices. UK TRADA recommends that construction companies employ the services of a professional team to assess your risk. Centurion have combined professional knowledge in both fire safety and fire engineering practices with the understanding of TRADA and the UKTFA and developed our own bespoke, site-specific report designed so that cost benefit analysis can be carried out to protect your risk.