International Timber advocates for certified fire retardant treated wood

International Timber is stressing the importance of correctly specifying fire retardant wood and panel products, backed by independent certification, head of this year’s Fire Door Safety Week campaign on 25-29 September.

Specification errors, installation issues and poor maintenance of fire safety products can have devastating consequences. To facilitate change within the building industry and to help meet building codes, fire safety awareness initiatives like Fire Door Safety Week from the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) are vitally important.

With awareness comes education when it comes to specifying the correct products to help reduce insurance costs and save lives in case of a fire. This is why we are seeing more and more contractors are increasing their use of fire retardant wood for projects.

Timber treated with flame retardant chemical treatments work by reducing its ignitability, slowing down the surface spread of flame and reducing the heat released, which allows more time for escape. Many fire retardant wood products are also tested for durability in high moisture and heat, as well as corrosivity and toxicity.

A great source of information and advice is ‘Flame Retardant Treatments for Timber – An Overview‘, issued by the Wood Protection Association (WPA) earlier this year. This document explains how wood products have a ‘reaction to fire’ classification, with an associated Euroclass performance rating.

Untreated wood-based materials typically have Euroclass ratings of D or E, where flame retardant treatment can improve that to Euroclass B or C as required by the particular specification and end use.

Where fire retardant wood-based panel products are used in a building, it is vital that they provide long-term, predictable fire protection backed by independent certification. A checklist summarising all the essential factors of an effective and accurate specification is also available from the WPA.