There is an increasing demand for eco-friendly materials to be used wherever they can due to the current climate crises. Is this actually what’s good for your construction though?
The requirements of fire protection materials
First of all, there are many requirements that need to be met when using eco-friendly materials. Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to fire protection, so companies have a responsibility to make sure that the materials that they are using to build with are safe to use and will remain safe throughout the building’s life cycle.
In any building structure, compartmentalising can make the building much safer in the event of a fire and compartmentalising buildings should be the standard practice whenever building any structure. This method can be useful as it can restrict the spread of a fire.
In order to make a wood building fire resistant, internal cladding and linings should be used in the compartments. Also, cavity barriers should be positioned in the external cavity walls of a timber frame structure as this can also prevent a fire spreading through the concealed cavities of a building. You can read more on this here.
Using wood for fire-protection
Surprisingly, wood can actually be a good fire retardant material because its properties are well-known, and it is known how wood typically reacts in a fire. The charring properties of wood can prevent a structure from collapsing. It has been known that wood chars evenly at a rate of about 1 millimetre per minute. Being able to predict how a material will react in the event of a fire can be invaluable. This allows the emergency services to be able to formulate a plan to combat the fire as they know what’s going to happen and the speed at which the fire is likely to spread.
There is actually an 18-storey timber-frame building in Norway that is the tallest timber frame building in the world!
Eco-friendly materials can have different descriptions based on personal opinion and personal passion. In general terms, eco-friendly refers to being good or bad for the environment, but it can have complex discussions surrounding the issue.
Wood, when being used to build with, requires treatments to make it fire-retardant. A lot of these treatments can be toxic, which is not good for the environment, or good for human health. However, there has been a lot of research conducted more recently on toxic and non-toxic treatments for wood.
Treatments for wood protection have been used ever since timber was first used by man. Some conventional timber treatments would include oil or wax, such as linseed, beeswax and tung oil. These are regarded as eco-friendly materials. In more modern times though, wood treatments have been more reliant on harsh substances and chemicals. Creosote (made from coal tar), for example, used to be a popular wood sealant. It was later found out that Creosote is carcinogenic, so as of 2003, it has been banned in Great Britain to the general public. A lot of these harsher methods for wood treatment have now been banned.