Timber is an inherently sustainable material which is important for future construction in the
UK. In recent years many developments have been made in relation to timber technology and
construction products. As the industry continues to look to construct more efficient, cost
effective and sustainable buildings a number of new engineered timber products have
emerged which are principally manufactured off-site. In terms of light timber frame, products
such as structural insulated panels (SIPs) and engineered floor joists have emerged. For heavy
timber construction, systems such as glulam and cross laminated timber (CLT) are now
Despite many of the obvious benefits of using wood as a construction material a number of
concerns still exist relating to behaviour in fire. Current fire design procedures are still reliant
upon fire resistance testing and ‘deemed to satisfy’ rules of thumb. Understanding of ‘true’
fire performance and thus rational design for fire resistance requires experience of real fires.
Such experience, either gathered from real fire events or large fire tests, is increasingly used
to provide the knowledge required to undertake ‘performance based designs’ which consider
both fire behaviour and holistic structural response. At present performance based structural
fire design is largely limited to steel structures and less frequently concrete buildings. Many
of the designs undertaken are in accordance with relevant Eurocodes which give guidance on
the structural fire design for different materials. For the same approaches to be adopted for
timber buildings a number of barriers need to be overcome.
Engineered timber products, such as SIPs and engineered joists, are innovative technologies.
However, their uptake in the UK construction market is increasing year on year. Little is
known about how such systems behave in real fires. As a result the development of design
rules for fire is a difficult task as failure modes are not well understood. To overcome this...
A dissertation thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree Doctor of Engineering (EngD), at Loughborough University