Fire Safety In Timber Buildings – Response To RISC Report

HomeNewsFire Safety In Timber Buildings – Response To RISC Report

In April 2011 a report was published by RISC Authority highlighting perceived concerns over fires in Timber Frame Buildings, this has been follow up a post on the UK Timber Frame Association website condemning the report and challenging its origins.

Although the Cabinco Machine Profile Log buildings are a very different style of construction to the Timber Frame Construction and unaffected by the report we would like to highlight some facts to any potential clients who are concerned by this issue;

Classification of Fire Protection

Firstly understanding the classifications of fire safety as used by the Building Regulations as Class 1 and Class 0

These are classifications of fire protection for timber within BS 476 Part 6& 7 and measure of the lateral spread of flame along the surface of a timber component. Class 1 conforms to BS 476 Part 7 and is the performance normally required for wall and ceiling linings. Class 0 is a more stringent requirement to BS 476 Parts 6 & 7 and is normally required in higher risk areas of a building, such as escape routes and staircases.

All buildings – whatever their construction type – will have to adhere to the Building Regulations appropriate to their building and any special conditions set out by Building Control.  Class O protection is easily accomplished by timber within buildings when used in conjunction with appropriate fire protection treatment such as Non-Com Exterior or Nullifire Interior protection.

These treatments protect against “surface spread of flame”.

Charring Rates

Timber is a safe material in the event of fire as the slow charring rate of between 15 – 25mm per half hour (depending on the timber species) means that the structural integrity of the building remains stable for longer, especially where thick structural log is used.  Whereas buildings dependant on masonry or steel  conduct heat more readily and this results in cracking/spalling or twisting which quickly undermines the safety of the entire structure.   Timber therefore has a more predictable behaviour in a fire.  Cabincos MPL log are a minimum of 68mm thick.

Site Safety

Greatest concern in the report seems to be around site safety rather than just the buildings performance in a fire so there are other points relating to a Cabinco MPL building you should also note.

Cabinco are members of Considerate Constructors and have signed up to Halving Waste to Landfill.  Both of these schemes encourage sites to minimise site waste which in turn reduces fire hazards.  As our buildings are off-site manufactured, there is very little waste material generated on site in the first place, but Cabinco make it a priority to keep the sites clean and clear at all times.

Our style of off-site construction means that there are no need for combustible materials such as paint, thinners, or any other chemicals on site.  Even windows and doors are factory finished.

Fast Construction.

MPL construction means that many of our sites are completed within 28 days (at least to provide a secure shell), therefore the opportunity for vandals to come onto a site and start a fire is kept as short as possible.


All Cabinco sites are covered by our comprehensive insurance cover and protect all materials site throughout the construction process and right up until formal handover of the building.