Report provides fire-rated solutions for mass timber connection assemblies

reThink Wood
August 22, 2017
By reThink Wood
A new report available from reThink Wood supports mass timber as a safe solution that meets, and in some cases exceeds, stringent fire safety standards for U.S. building design and construction.
A new report available from reThink Wood supports mass timber as a safe solution that meets, and in some cases exceeds, stringent fire safety standards for U.S. building design and construction. Image courtesy of Arup
Aug. 22, 2017 - A new report available from reThink Wood demonstrates the fire resistance rating of glulam beam to column connections in Type IV construction. The findings support mass timber as a safe solution that meets, and in some cases exceeds, stringent fire safety standards for U.S. building design and construction.

Arup, D.R. Johnson, MyTiCon and the Softwood Lumber Board partnered to complete three full-scale fire tests for glulam beam to column connectors. The fire tests were loaded to simulate typical building conditions. The testing is a significant milestone for the industry for a few key reasons:
  • All connectors passed and achieved at least a one-hour fire resistance rating (FRR), allowing them to be used in buildings up to 85-feet in height.
  • The findings allow architects, designers and engineers to specify the tested connection assemblies and satisfy the requirements of the International Building Code (IBC).
  • Approval by an authority having jurisdiction will therefore be easier for future building projects using mass timber.
"For the engineering community – and particularly for those interested in expanding the possibilities of mass timber construction in the U.S. – these tests represent a significant step to ensure safety," said David Barber, fire safety engineer and principal at Arup. "With continued interest and investment in mass timber projects, I am confident more solutions will enter the market, making mass timber more viable for a wide range of projects."

"The opportunity to expand off-the-shelf solutions for mass timber connection assemblies provides both safety and economic benefits to U.S. building designers and engineers, and therefore, we are proud to have funded this necessary testing," said Cees de Jager, Chief Marketing Officer of the Softwood Lumber Board.

The three different configurations of glulam beam to column connections were fire tested at a U.S. nonprofit, independent research and development organization with approved fire testing facility. The tests were carried out to meet ASTM E119-16a "Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials," and satisfy requirements of Chapter 7 of the IBC.

The full summary report is available for free download at www.reThinkWood.com. Additional mass timber and wood building resources are also available at reThinkWood.com and the reThink Wood Research Library.


About Arup
The preeminent provider of interdisciplinary engineering, consulting and design services, Arup drives the world's most prominent projects, from city-building to iconic architecture. The firm opened its first U.S. office over 30 years ago and now employs 1,300 people in the Americas. Since its founding in 1946, Arup has pioneered groundbreaking strategies, technical excellence and social purpose. As a responsive and respectful business partner, Arup honorably serves its clients and shapes a better world. Learn more at www.arup.com.

About Softwood Lumber Board
The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) is an industry funded initiative established to promote the benefits and uses of softwood lumber products in outdoor, residential and non-residential construction. Programs and initiatives supported by the SLB focus on increasing the demand for appearance and softwood lumber products in the United States. Learn more at www.softwoodlumberboard.org.

About reThink Wood
reThink Wood represents North America's softwood lumber industry. We share a passion for wood and the forests it comes from. Our goal is to generate awareness and understanding of wood's advantages in the built environment. Join the reThink Wood community to make a difference for the future. Be part of the conversation to "rethink" wood use, address misperceptions and enhance awareness of wood's benefits and choices. Learn more at www.reThinkWood.com.

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