Fire Design of Tall Timber Buildings - Build 180(2020)
- Fire Design of Tall Timber Buildings
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- BRANZ Limited
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- BUILD article
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Timber is an attractive material choice for use in tall buildings, and its use is growing. However, as it is a combustible material, there are concerns around fire safety and specific fire design is required.
The momentum and demand to build taller buildings using timber continues to increase in New Zealand as well as around the world, largely driven by a desire to build energy-efficient, sustainable and low-carbon buildings. Innovative timber structures potentially allow for reduced construction time and cost. They also provide architecturally attractive solutions where the timber can be exposed to view.
Engineered mass timber beams and columns, including glue-laminated timber (glulam) or laminated veneer lumber (LVL) as well as panellised construction such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), are increasingly viewed as a viable alternative to traditional concrete and steel structures.
This article includes:
- Examples of tall timber buildings
- Concerns about fire performance
- Traditional fire design based on standard fire resistance tests may be unsuitable
- Some engineered wood may delaminate in a fire
- Risk of external vertical fire spread increases
- Acceptable Solution requirements for tall buildings fire resistance may be inadequate
- Developing international guidelines