Australia’s first 120 minute Fire Resistance Test (FRT) and Fire Resistance Level (FRL) has been successfully completed on exposed glue laminated timber members manufactured in Victoria by Australian Sustainable Hardwoods Pty Ltd (ASH). The members, not encapsulated with a fire resistant board, are intended for ‘seen structural’ applications and manufactured under the brand name MASSLAM.
A number of different MASSLAM members were made using various species of plantation and regrowth hardwoods, which are designed for use as columns and beams in commercial buildings – up to and beyond 9 storeys in height. Some of the tested members offer a 40% reduction in size when compared to imported mass-timber products. MASSLAM columns and beams can be manufactured up to 1300mm wide, 450mm and 12m long without block laminating.
The test followed FRT and FRL requirements as listed in the Australian Standards ‘1530.4 : 2014 – Methods for fire tests on building materials, components and structures Fire-resistance tests for elements of construction’. Each MASSLAM member passed 2 hours of fire, reaching above 1,000 degrees Celsius, while still bearing the load expected in a commercial building.
“There are generally two concerns from authorities,” says ASH’s Managing Director, Vince Hurley. “Fire and acoustics. There are sufficient design solutions available to easily overcome both and many use European fire data which, unlike Australia, is only required to meet 60 or 90 minutes. We have questions about whether European tests would be relevant to Australian Standards at 120 minutes. This test not only shows the performance of our MASSLAM systems under prolonged fire, it also proves that timber performs much better than steel”.
ASH is Australia’s largest glulam producer by volume and have been producing glulam products for over 20 years.
“We have invested another $12M in automated mass-timber equipment, advanced adhesive technology and state of the art, robotic CNC equipment,” says National Business Development Manager, Daniel Wright. “This compliments and extends on our existing $20M Glulam facility. ASH’s Wood Engineer can develop shop drawings from 3D building plans and the advanced robotic equipment will prefabricate the members in accordance with the design. Builders will receive MASSLAM with fixings attached and a coating to protect against weather during construction. MASSLAM can then be delivered to site in order of sequence where they will be connected as they go”.
MASSLAM has third party sustainability certification and is ‘The Ultimate Renewable’.
A typical eight-storey building made from MASSLAM can contain 2,000 tonnes of stored carbon and be re-grown in Victorian forests within 19.8 minutes”.
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