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Guide to timber frame fire safety

7 December 2011

The UK Timber Frame Association (UKTFA) has launched a guide to building timber frame safely on sites in high-risk and densely populated areas, developed with the backing of the HSE. 
Critically, this Guidance means that timber frame can be built in any location in the UK relative to the fire risk associated with highly populated or inner city areas. It also means that the contractor will have to take responsibility for specifying the correct type of timber frame as set out in the UKTFA Guidance and be able to demonstrate to the HSE that the Guidance has been adopted.  
Called Design guide to separating distances for timber frame buildings during construction, the Guidance is the result of extensive fire testing and expert input from the fire engineering community and has been developed in co-operation with the HSE, the Fire Protection Association (FPA), the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and the Fire Brigade Union (FBU).
The Guidance, which applies to structures over 600m2, aims to help designers to assess the fire risk to neighbouring buildings should a fire occur during construction – a requirement of HSG168 Fire Safety in Construction published by the HSE. This Guidance is available for download:-

Timber frame guidance Part 1 - Background and introduction

Timber frame guidance Part 2 - Standard timber frame and construction process mitigation methods.

Timber frame guidance Part 3 - Timber frame build methods to reduce the separating distances.

UK Timber Frame Associataition (UKTFA) - Risk assessment checklist

How to use the guidance:-

The user should familiarise themselves with Part 1 of the guidance which presents the terminology and background. 

Part 2 provides guidance on the use of standard timber frame. It provides mitigation measures, if required, to remove a risk of high radiant heat potential to buildings outside of the site boundary can be undertaken within the construction process. 

Part 3 provides the user with timber frame supply chain solutions to mitigate risk of high radiant heat. A list of tested and approved products noted in Part 3 will be available on the UKTFA web site under the ‘Approved fire build products’ tab.

Who should use this guidance:-

The document has been written with a focus on timber frame buildings that are typically above 600m2 of floor area, or where the development comprises blocks of timber frame buildings where each block is greater than 300m2 of floor area. 

The guidance is aimed at the commercial construction market where multiple houses, flats or rooms for residential purposes are built. It is not applicable to the one-off house market or small developments. 

It is anticipated that architects, CDM co-ordinators, project managers, timber frame companies, builders, HSE inspectors, insurance inspectors and product suppliers will all find this guidance of use.








































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