Conference refuted common beliefs about fire-safety of timber buildings
28. January 2014

Presentation of technical guideline „Fire safety in timber buildings. Version 3“ recently translated to Estonian took place on Monday, 27th January in Tallinn University of Technology. The guideline summarizes the requirements for fire safety in the design and construction of wooden houses in Nordic and Baltic countries. The event was organized in cooperation with Tallinn University of Technology, Estonian Building Centre, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Estonian Woodhouse Association, Estonian Forest and Wood Industries Association and Estonian Wooden Houses Cluster.

Birgit Östman, author of the handbook and leading researcher at Swedish Technical Research Institute, said in her speech that due to its environmental advantages and development of technology the use of wood in construction has significantly increased in Scandinavia over the past few decades. "Modern timber buildings are usually very fire safe if the control during design and construction phases are respected and checked very carefully,” she noted.

Rait Pukk, head of fire safety supervision department of Estonian Rescue Board said that in case of fire the safety of human lives depends primarily on how fast the fire is detected, the time needed for evacuation and the fire-resistance of load-bearing structures. Hence it is important that buildings are equipped with fire alarm and active fire protection means (e g sprinkler systems). „For my part I encourage the cooperation of professional schools and –associations with Rescue Board to raise awareness of the potential uses of wood in construction“ said Pukk.

The guideline is intended for architects, engineers, educators, regulatory authorities and building industry. It includes information about wooden structures and requirements for fire resistance of wood construction, providing an overview of the progress made in the last decade in harmonization of Europe’s construction products standards and their compliance verification methods. This is a third, fully updated version designed to provide practical advice and recommendations for fire calculations on timber structures and -products in order to make them compatible with the existing fire safety requirements in Nordic and Baltic countries.

Birgit Östman giving speech

The conference was supported by European Regional Development Fund through cluster development program of Enterprise Estonia in the frames of "Estonian Wooden Houses Exporters Cluster Project".