CONNECT JUNE 2020 ISSUE 6
News, Views and Information from the STA Welcome to ‘Timber Connect’ – the STA’s newsletter designed to keep construction professionals up to date with the latest industry news, initiatives, services and technical information available from the UK’s leading organisation representing the structural timber sector.
inside this issue... 2
Cavity Barrier & Fire Stopping Guide
TIMBER FRAME FIRE SAFETY IN USE GUIDANCE With an objective to enhance quality and building performance, the STA as part of our continual development programme, has been collaborating with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), the University of Edinburgh and BRE to produce fire safety in use guidance for timber frame buildings. Fire safety in use affects all forms of construction. All buildings must be designed to comply with the functional protocols of Building Regulations for fire safety requirements, as a minimum standard. The STA has invested in this industry leading research project to test and prove commonly used timber frame wall, floor and roof build-ups used in the UK marketplace. The output of this research is a pattern book of EN tested systems, the first of its kind in the UK timber frame sector. The EN tested systems and best practice recommendations provide a comprehensive package of information for the design, specification and construction of timber frame buildings. Supported by Swedish Wood and Scottish Forestry and peer reviewed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).
The pattern book of EN tested systems now forms part of the STA’s best practice guidance and is free to download from the STA’s library by visiting:
A Potential Barrier in the Road to Reaching Net Zero Targets
Insurance Implications of the New Fire Safety In Use Research
CLT Pioneers Invest in Compliance
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Building Magazine Roundtable
Structural Timber Association
Keep up with our latest news - www.structuraltimber.co.uk
Mark Farmer Visits Timber Frame Facility
SAFETY PERFORMANCE: STA LAUNCH FIRE STOPPING AND CAVITY BARRIER GUIDANCE
In addition to our extensive fire in use research of timber frame systems, it has been identified by the STA that the installation of fire stops and cavity barriers are of equal importance when it comes to building safety – an issue which prevails regardless of the building methodology. The STA have responded by developing a new guidance document on cavity barriers to complement the existing information within our technical library. The STA’s objective in developing this guidance is to provide solutions for cavity barrier installations and a clear understanding of who is responsible for design, installation and checking. Consideration has been given to industry good practice and the best-in-class solutions are included within this guidance, with recommendations for increased fire resilience for low to medium-rise structural timber buildings. This research, which has been supported by Swedish Wood and the Scottish Forestry, has been endorsed by several industry and government stakeholders. The STA’s new guidance complements our highly successful STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme.
The STA leads the way in industry guidance and this open source document and can be downloaded from: www.structuraltimber.co.uk/links/research-documents
STA Online Technical Document Library The STA strive to provide our members and construction industry professionals with the most up-to-date information and technical guidance. We have recently made some improvements to our website navigation to provide ease of access. With over 140 documents available in our online technical library, a series of filters will now help members and visitors locate product papers, advice notes and technical guidance with ease. This library contains a wealth of information on Building Regulations and best practice principles and is a valuable resource which can assist architects, engineers and clients who are considering specifying structural timber for projects or provide technical support during installation on site.
For more information, go to: www.structuraltimber.co.uk/library
A POTENTIAL BARRIER IN THE ROAD TO REACHING NET ZERO TARGETS
The Government’s recent consultation on extending the ban on combustible materials to more building types and lowering the height restriction in England from 18m to 11m closed on 25 May. Andrew Orriss, Director of the STA discusses how this ruling, if adopted, will severely inhibit our ability to decarbonise the UK construction industry. In late May Roger Harrabin reported on BBC News that the Government is planning to reduce the maximum height of timber framed buildings from six storeys to four to reduce fire risk. Harrabin rightly pointed out that this action would contradict other advice to increase timber construction because trees lock up climate-heating carbon emissions. It is clear that the UK is out of step with the approach being taken by leading economies in Europe as evidenced by the actions of President Macron; he has ruled that all new publicly funded buildings in France should be delivered from at least 50% timber or other natural materials by 2022. A study from the Germany’s Potsdam Institute (PIK), found that a global boom in wood buildings could lock in up to 700 million tons of carbon a year. The STA and other timber trade bodies believe the Government in England has misunderstood the science behind timber construction. A blanket ban that is not based on building physics, test evidence or scientific facts is seen as a quick fix and as a result, the UK could experience far reaching implications for decades to come. Climate change if not dramatically addressed will be the biggest crisis of our time. This is acknowledged by the Government in setting the net zero carbon target to be met by 2050. With as much as 7% of all global CO2 emissions coming from other less sustainable construction technologies, it is difficult to see how these targets will ever be met if these restrictions come into force. The lack of clarity as to what the ban applies to is creating confusion and the STA and our members firmly believe that any extension to the current 18m restriction should focus on the external cladding and not the structural wall itself. We will only advocate this height restriction on the proviso that Building Regulations replicate the Scottish model where 18m is still acceptable when supported by evidence of non-combustible cladding and well-designed fire management systems. These views together with robust test evidence has been reflected in the STA’s response to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) consultation.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you agree that the lack of clarity as to what the ban applies to is creating confusion?
YES OR NO
To read the full BBC report, go to: www.structuraltimber.co.uk/links/bbc
INSURANCE IMPLICATIONS OF THE NEW TIMBER MMC CHAMPION VISITS TIMBER FRAME FACILITY FRAME FIRE SAFETY IN USE RESEARCH
Marcus Saunders, Client Service Executive for construction at leading insurance broker and risk management expert Gallagher, considers what the new STA research into fire safety could mean for insuring timber framed properties during construction. I have kept an even closer eye than usual on recent developments in the timber sector for a number of reasons. Firstly, because of how the increased use of timber can help the construction industry meet the ambitious carbon targets set by the Government, but also because the sector has made huge progress in recent years, which I believe should start to positively impact insurers views. The STA ran multiple full-scale fire tests to EN1365 on different timber frame systems; comprising walls with insulation and plasterboard variability and even penetrations in the walls for sockets. The European standard being chosen as it is seen within the industry as the ‘gold standard’ of fire testing, and more onerous than the BS Standards. The outcome has resulted in a robust comprehensive suite of evidence-based solutions for timber frame systems that will deliver high levels of resilience and quality of fire safety, all comfortably complying with EN Standards. This research has never been more relevant, as its publication has coincided with a noticeable sea change in the attitude towards timber frame amongst real estate owners and developers in the UK. There is clear recognition that the real estate and construction market, one of the largest producers of CO2 in the UK, has a major challenge ahead in order to reach carbon zero by 2050 – and building in timber, due to its embodied carbon, has to play a huge role in reaching that target. So what does this mean for insurers and the insurance industry? In my view this research provides convincing further evidence that the STA and its members are leading the way when it comes to fire protection, regulatory compliance and frankly, all round best practice risk management on a construction site. Gallagher is the approved broker to the STA, and we are constantly looking for new ways to educate insurers. This research will go a long way to helping our cause.
This research now forms part of the STA’s best practice guidance and is free to download from: www.structuraltimber.co.uk/links/research-documents Marcus Saunders MIBSC Cert CII Client Service Executive, Gallagher
To find out more about Gallagher, go to: www.ajg.com/uk
CLT PIONEERS INVEST IN NEW FIRE RESEARCH AND COMPLIANCE FRAMEWORK
Existing buildings and new construction account for nearly 40% of the UKâ€™s carbon dioxide emissions according to a World Green Building Council report published in September 2019. As a robust, fast, clean, sustainable and renewable method of construction, cross laminated timber (CLT) is now widely acknowledged as having a vital role to play in reducing CO2 emissions to mitigate the climate change crisis.
Specialist contractors and manufacturers operating in the CLT sector firmly believe that mass timber technology like CLT provides the solution to many of the challenges the construction industry is facing today. In collaboration, leading CLT manufacturers are investing half a million pounds in developing a new fire safety compliance framework for CLT to meet the amended Building Regulations in England. Over the next 18 months the research supporting the new framework will include a series of compartment fire tests for commercial and multi-family residential type buildings to generate new knowledge in support of a safe design envelope for CLT buildings. The purpose of this ongoing research is to provide scientific data for CLT fire performance that will support designers in the delivery of robust fire safety designs and will ultimately allow the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) to view CLT as a construction material suitable for all buildings including where CLT forms part of the external wall construction irrespective of height. In carrying out this research as an industry, it will also establish benchmark testing for all CLT manufacturers leading to an enhanced and broader understanding of CLT performance in fire. The project is a collaboration of the largest suppliers of CLT in Europe supported by leading fire and structural engineering experts. The project proposals and outputs will be reviewed by an independent industry stakeholder group and it is intended to release data as and when it becomes available during the course of the programme. The CLT industry in the UK, supported by the Structural Timber Association (STA) is also responding to recent statements raising concern about the gaps in knowledge and competency relating to mass timber by providing evidence of the product fire performance and data to support competent professionals in the design of mass timber buildings for fire. This evidence will enhance the understanding of fire performance of CLT, in terms of compartment fire behaviour, the response of structural elements and hazards associated with external fire spread.
Keep up with our latest news - www.structuraltimber.co.uk/news/structural-timber-news
STA MMCROUNDTABLE: CHAMPION VISITS TIMBER FRAME FACILITY PLOTTING THE ROUTE TO NET ZERO CARBON
Delivering quality has always been â€˜up front and centreâ€™ for the construction industry. The emphasis on producing buildings that are well built, using appropriate materials and which are fit for purpose, whether they are commercial premises, offices, schools or housing, is at its very core. But while the industry strives to deliver the highest possible quality product it is also having to work with other demands. It is being called on to carry out its activities in a more environmentally-friendly way, both in terms of the way it works and the materials it uses. The requirement to reduce net carbon emissions to zero within 30 years, for example, is having a huge impact on the sector. There is also the pressure to innovate, since innovation can result in better products, better techniques and, ultimately, better rewards for both the corporate world and society. It was with these themes in mind that a group of industry figures gathered in London before the COVID-19 restrictions, to discuss the implications for the industry. Hosted by the STA in association with Building Magazine, the roundtable discussed the drive towards net zero, what the industry and individual companies were doing and could do to assist in that effort, and how innovation could deliver the improvements which those within the industry and beyond wanted to see.
Attendees: Andrew Carpenter - STA, Lynne Sullivan - Good Homes Alliance, Kevin Riley - Stora Enso, Christiane Lellig - formerly of Wood for Good, Geoff Arnold - Pinewood Structures, Mark Stevenson Kingspan Timber Solutions, Alex Goodfellow - Stewart Milne Group, David Fleming - Walker Timber Group and Francesca Berriman - Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists.
To read a full account of the roundtable discussion go to: www.structuraltimber.co.uk/links/bm2020
MMC CHAMPION VISITS TIMBER FRAME FACILITY
At the end of 2019 Mark Farmer accepted a new role as the independent champion for Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). His mission, to modernise housing delivery, has seen him become a major figure in the offsite sector. Mark Farmer accepted our invitation to come along to Pinewood Structures and take a guided tour of their manufacturing facility. Mark spent time observing the manufacturing process and learning about a new partnering approach. Discussions focused around quality, safety, capacity and sustainability. The structural timber sector has the ability to upscale to help achieve the 300,000 homes per annum requirement and as a natural sustainable resource, decarbonisation of new housing stock can be achieved through the use of offsite manufactured timber systems. The meeting offered Andrew Carpenter and Mark Stevenson from the STA the opportunity to discuss in more detail, the Left to right: Tom Fairlie, Walker Timber; Mark Farmer, Association’s industry leading STA Assure Membership and Andrew Carpenter, STA; Mark Stevenson, STA; Geoff Arnold, Quality Standards Scheme. Focusing on the levels of in-house Pinewood Structures; David Fleming, Walker Timber. quality procedures, management systems and product performance standards – the independently assessed STA Assure Scheme includes a bespoke Site Safe audit and a Timber Frame Competency Award Scheme, which ensures that quality and safety are an end-to-end process throughout the design, manufacture and installation process. Andrew Carpenter said: “We would like to thank Mark Farmer for taking the time out to visit Pinewood Structures and his valuable input. Following the Hackitt Review the direction of travel is shifting and construction is moving towards factory-based systems and processes rather than products and components. Pre-Manufactured Value (PMV) is going to play a vital role in the future. As it currently stands with traditional approaches only 40% of the build process is carried out in well managed factory environments. The use of a closed panel timber frame system can increase this to circa 55% but a volumetrically pre-assembled approach using a timber framed chassis can achieve 75-80%. So it is clear the Government’s ambition to make the housing sector more productive can be achieved through pre-manufactured building systems.” Timber industry bodies such as the STA have a major role to play in connecting the offsite sector supply chain to collectively work to demonstrate safety through robust testing and better exploitation of timber technology to reduce carbon emissions to achieve net zero targets by 2050.
Keep up with our latest news - www.structuraltimber.co.uk/news/structural-timber-news
PROJECT LET US INSPIRE INSPIRATION YOU! - JP I THINK DPS MONTAGE OF MEMBER PR
The Benefits of Offsite Manufactured Timber Systems Speed of Construction The high degree of factory prefabrication enables a rapid build process, which will not be adversely influenced by inclement weather. Cost and Programme Certainty Offsite construction for onsite installation makes scheduling and costing more predictable than with traditional building methods.
Scotframe - Rainings Stairs
Cygnum - Goldsmiths Street, Sterling Prize Winner
Quality Assurance Stringent factory quality control enhances the manufacture of buildings, ensuring a modern, high performance structural envelope for your scheme. Energy usage Thermally efficient, highly airtight structures vastly reduce energy consumption across the life of the building.
SIPCO - Hill Road
KLH - William Perkin Academy
Design flexibility With a wide range of innovative products and cladding solutions, timber systems can meet the aspirations of both architects and developers. Sustainability All Structural Timber Association members use timber from PEFC or FSC certified sources, ensuring responsible management of the worldâ€™s forests. Innovare Systems - Three Rivers Academy
Keep up with our members latest projects - www.structuraltimber.co.uk/gallery
Kingspan Timber Systems - Hanham Hall
Lend Lease / Stora Enso - King Street, Brisbane
Frame Technologies - The Hen House
Oakworth Homes - Bramcote Development
Stewart Milne Timber Systems - Greenwood Manor
B&K Structures - Banyan Wharf
CCG - Commonwealth Games Athletesâ€™ Village
Keep up with our members latest projects - www.structuraltimber.co.uk/gallery
WHY USE AN STA MEMBER?
Representing over 700 competent members supplying quality structural timber systems The STA’s mission is to evidence quality and drive product innovation through technical guidance and research, underpinned by our members’ quality standard assessment – the STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme.
STA Members •
Undergo the independently audited STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme
Operate to the Site Safe scheme to ensure timber construction is both safe and sustainable
Receive regular updates on the latest building regulations and legislation
Have access to dedicated technical support service, advice notes and technical documents
Fully support sustainable construction, quality standards and adhere to our Code of Conduct
Timber Frame Competency Award Scheme The STA now manages the STA Timber Frame Competency Award Scheme requirements with CITB, to improve timber frame erectors’ skill levels and acknowledge the competencies of existing timber frame erectors. The training programme can support the achievement of gaining an SVQ or NVQ in Timber Frame Erection, allowing erector/installer companies to access sites that require CSCS cards. The scheme sets industry-wide standards for erectors and installers of structural timber frames. As part of the STA Assure quality initiative, members are required to complete three workbooks and an online test to examine practical and theory-based knowledge, which will take up to one year to complete.
Site Safe Policy The Offsite Award winning Site Safe Policy applies to all structural timber building system members, including offsite manufacturers, fabricators, contractors and installers who work with principal contractors. Members are audited to ensure they are achieving the functional requirements of the Site Safe Policy. Both the policy and the audit process have been developed over many years to support members and provide professional building system provider services. By following the policy, members can engage with customers and enable the best project outcomes.
As the largest UK trade association within the structural timber sector, there are a host of reasons why construction professionals should choose one of our members, for more information go to: www.structuraltimber.co.uk
Find a Structural Timber Supplier - www.structuraltimber.co.uk/members