January 2019 in the middle of a “Polar Vortex” I attended an event that was worth braving the cold for.
I wish I could take you back to the event so you could sit in the room and hear the presentations. The speakers were fantastic and the presentations were PACKED with information. I want to thank Underwriters Laboratories, Fire Department City of New York and International Association of Fire Fighters for sponsoring such a great event and I hope to be able to attend the next one. I learned not only from the presentations but from conversations with others in attendance who were all eager to learn and share. Can you tell I was in fire geek heaven for two days?
I can’t wait to share all of this with you. UL has generously allowed me to share the slides. Here is what they covered int he two days
There were several discussions about Tall Timber construction. they were presented by architects and fire officials. You likely know that the 2021 code will allow Tall Timber, or cross laminate timber up to 18 stories. Many people think, “WOOD BURNS that is a horrible idea!” Well, wood does burn, that is a fact. Lets look at a few there facts.
- ICC has reviewed extensive fire test data provided by the industry and approved it.
- These buildings are going up all over the world. A quick google search will give you an idea of where and how tall.
- Steel is strong, but according to this article in Fire Engineers it will lose its structural stability at 1100F. The time temperature curve used by US fire tests will require the temperature to be 1000F at the five minute mark and 1300F at the ten minute mark. Without properly applied protection, steel is very weak in a fire.
- Wood burns, yes. As it burns that char that is created insulates the inner layer of wood and the structural stability of wood is lost in stages rather than all together upon hitting a critical temperature.
Before you dismiss this idea of tall timber buildings as crazy, I encourage you to learn more about it. If you are curious about my personal opinion (or even if you aren’t, you are about to get it) I like what I have seen in the fire data that has been presented. It is impressive, but not yet extensive. I am still on the fence, but I am eager to be involved with a CLT project so I can learn more. One thing I have learned is that QA/QC will be CRITICAL. Not that it is unimportant in concrete buildings or wood framed buildings, but it could prove a greater liability to those contractors who are not completely educated or worse willing to cut corners. If you work on a CLT project you can NOT have someone with the “we have always done it this way” mentality, because this is all new. If you are working on a CLT project and want help with the QA/QC please call me.
The second discussion was on battery storage inside buildings. I did not attend this segment because of other obligations. I was able to return in time for the discussions on exterior facades and high rise fire fighting challenges.
I will share all the slides and I may share some of my thoughts along the way.
I want to again thank all of those involved in this event, the sponsors, the speakers, the organizers and the attendees. I was honored to be among you all and grateful for all you shared with everyone. I hope to be able to attend any future events you have.