Fire protection in timber construction

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Fire protection is a very important issue when planning and building wooden structures. Nowadays, there is a consensus among experts that timber construction methods, when executed correctly, do not pose any disadvantages with regard to occupants' safety in the event of a fire. Nevertheless, there are still many restrictions and additional requirements for timber construction in today's building regulations that must be taken into account.

Wood burns in a calculable manner

Fire protection planning differentiates between the fire behaviour of building materials and the fire resistance time of components. Wood or wood-based materials are generally flammable materials. However, this does not mean that they cannot be used to build structures offering high degrees of fire resistance. When needed, wooden components can be combined with non-flammable materials.

This principle is also applied in timber frame construction. If the load-bearing structure made of wood and wood-based materials is not sufficient to meet fire protection requirements, the following is possible:

  • additional gypsum board cladding to further increase the fire resistance or
  • non-combustible insulation materials can be used in compartments to significantly reduce fire and heat transmission through the construction.

As a rule, it is also possible to size constructions made of wood or wood-based materials via charring rates in case of fire, or the required fire resistance time.

These measures make it possible to obtain timber frame constructions that resist fire for durations of 90 minutes (REI 90, F90-B) and longer. No limitation in the use of wood constructions follows from their fire resistance time. Further information on fire protection can be found in the technical data sheets.