Are prefabricated wood components fire-resistant?

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Prefabricated structural wood components are now standard in most construction projects, in large part because of the time they save and the precision they provide. However, roof trusses, panel walls and prefabricated wood truss systems also have the unexpected advantage of protecting a building and its occupants from flames.

Find out how.

Prefabricated wood structures reduce the risk of fire on a worksite

There are many factors that can increase the likelihood of a fire on a construction site. Prefabricated structural components can eliminate some of these factors.

For example, integrating machined structural components into a project reduces workers’ time on site, reduces the use of power tools and produces significantly less waste that can catch fire.

In addition, prefabricated panel walls and roof trusses enable builders to close the building envelope much more quickly. This limits the risk of break-ins and therefore the risk of a malicious individual setting fire to the building under construction.

Wood: a combustible and fire-resistant material

The use of prefabricated structural wood components can also help protect occupants in the event of a fire once the building is completed. Although wood is a combustible material, it is also fire-resistant. In the event of a fire, wood burns uniformly at a rate of about 1 mm per minute, which makes it possible to accurately predict its load resistance and risk of collapse in the event of a fire. This of course facilitates the work of the rescue services.

With prefabricated wood structures, combustion braking times of 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes are relatively easy to achieve. These can be achieved by adding a protective structural coating, usually plasterboard, as well as by giving wood structures added dimensions as a carbonization reserve. This ensures that in the event of a fire, the moisture absorbed in a plasterboard evaporates, keeping the temperature of the panel low on the side opposite the fire and preventing the wood from catching fire. The cavities in the structure can be filled with a non-flammable insulating material, which protects the wooden structures and slows down their carbonization.

In terms of fire safety, wood compares well with other materials

Even though materials such as steel and concrete are more resistant to fire than wood, using them does not guarantee the safety of a structure.

For example, reinforced concrete can chip when exposed to extreme temperatures. This can expose its frame and weaken its structural elements. In the case of steel, its breaking point decreases considerably as its temperature increases, which threatens the stability of a steel structure in the event of a fire.

In short, a fireproof building simply does not exist.

UsiHome’s prefabricated structural wood components are a safe choice

In conclusion, a building with a structure made of prefabricated wood components is undoubtedly less vulnerable to fire than you might have thought! In addition to limiting the risk of a fire on a construction site, machined wood structures can even contribute to the safety of occupants in the event of a fire.

The UsiHome team specializes in the manufacture of structural wood products and can help you carry out your construction projects. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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