Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The timber frame fires

Building carries a disturbing report of yet another fire in a half-built multi-storey timber frame apartment block. This one took place in Hatfield on Saturday (11/8/07) and Phil Clark has uncovered a short video showing the event. It follows hard on the heels of similar fires in Newcastle (April 07), Willenhall (Mar 07) and Colindale in North London (July 06). YouTube carries video clips of Colindale, Newcastle and now Hatfield.

I don’t know how many timber frame apartment blocks are under construction at any one time in this country, but it’s still a building technique that is in its infancy so I would be surprised if there are more than a few hundred on the go. The superstructure is often only left exposed for a few days — this is one of the rationales behind using timber frame — yet we’ve just had four burn to the ground in a similar manner. And amazingly, no one has yet been hurt, let alone killed.

Yes, it’s deeply worrying. But it’s also beginning to look a little suspicious.



Blogger Unknown said...

Tens of thousands of timber framed buildings are erected every year in Canada and the US. Of course, it is disturbing to see a building under construction burn down, but once constructed, the materials in the building are far more risky from a fire perspective than the envelope itself.

That said, I see a lot of new apartment buildings in Montreal (where I live) being constructed from concrete and steel - though I suspect this is because higher buildings are possible with this type of construction and the construction time is relatively short.

Paul in Montreal

1:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all new student accomodation seems to be timberframe nowadays

and the same with hospitals

4:54 pm  
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Seems like a great reason to move to ICF - www.rewardwallsystems.co.uk

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