Following the recent fire at Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris, France), the controversy over the fire resistance of wooden structures has resurfaced and its safety has been questioned again.
The Notre Dame fire was not due to the wooden structure. The problem was an oversight in a restoration work, in which the security protocol was not applied correctly.
Almost all building materials are affected by fire. It is not true that the behavior of wood against fire is worse than that of other materials used in construction.
The organization of “Firefighters Without Borders” explains that dry old wood spreads the flames more easily, but its structures are more resistant to fire and endure a longer fire than those of metal or even concrete, which allows them to better organize and forecast the works of extinction and above all evacuation of people. In the case of Notre Dame, this circumstance allowed to save numerous works of art.
Wood does not burn alone if it is not subjected to temperatures above 400 degrees for a certain period of time. The wood is carbonized but does not collapse. Other more used materials such as iron are deformed to the point of causing the structure to collapse. In addition, the damage caused by fire to the wooden structure can be repaired in most cases without the need to tear down the affected structure.
The houses and buildings constructed with wooden structures guarantee their structural safety by complying with the Technical Building Code (Real Decreto 314/2006, de 17 de marzo, por el que se aprueba el Código Técnico de la Edificación) and the Law of Building Regulation (Ley 38/1999, de 5 de noviembre, de Ordenación de la Edificación) so that houses built with wood get the mandatory 10-year insurance policy that covers any structural damage that may occur in the home or building in the same way that conventional homes do.
In Growing Buildings we fully rely on wood construction systems such as lightweight framework, heavy framework, cross-laminated panel (CLT) and micro-laminated panel to build the passive homes of our customers.
Wood not only guarantees structural safety, but it is one of the most respectful and sustainable materials to build, contributing to reduce the environmental impact and emissions to the atmosphere of the construction sector.
There are more and more projects in height that we can see all over the world built with wooden structures.
Wood will undoubtedly be the constructive material of the 21st century.