Module: Fire resistance and timber buildings Unit: Concepts and considerations

Module: Fire resistance and timber buildings Unit: Concepts and considerations

Date Published

16 August 2022

Document Type

Category

Author

TRADA
Summary

As timber burns at a predictable speed, it is possible to anticipate and plan for its behaviour in a fire. High thermal conductivity materials, such as steel, heat up readily and uniformly giving rise to problems of expansion and loss of strength over a whole section. In contrast, the thermal insulation properties of timber ensure that the timber just a few millimetres inside the burning zone remains only warm and therefore more structurally stable over a longer time period.

Key Information

As timber burns at a predictable speed, it is possible to anticipate and plan for its behaviour in a fire.

“Reaction to fire” refers to a material’s behaviour when exposed to fire; “fire resistance”
describes the ability of a building, or an element of a building, to provide its “structural” or “compartmentation” function in the event of a fire.

Active fire fighting strategies are activated only in the event of a fire, whereas passive fire fighting techniques are built into the fabric of the building.

Case studies

Streatham & Clapham High School, a successful independent day school for girls, has been transformed and upgraded by Cottrell and Vermeulen Architecture.

Reconfiguring and extending a studio flat at the rear of a converted Edwardian house, this project by Christian Brailey Architects is a celebration of the characteristics and craftsmanship of timber.