Fire Protection in Wooden Constructions
Foto: Fabian Vogl/TUM
At the beginning of 2021, several large-scale fire tests on the university campus in Garching near Munich drew attention to what is literally a hot topic: How safe are multi-storey wooden buildings in the event of a fire? Although the demand for the construction method is increasing, in Germany there is no detailed set of rules for the fire-safe realisation of such buildings. Researchers from the Technical University (TU) of Munich are now working on the establishment of comprehensive regulations together with colleagues from the TU Braunschweig, the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences and the Institute for Fire and Civil Protection Heyrothsberge as part of the ongoing TIMpuls project. Using real large-scale fire tests, they attempted to validate the theory that multi-storey wooden buildings are just as safe in the event of fire as, for example, buildings made of reinforced concrete or masonry.
For the experiment, the scientists built 1:1-scale fire rooms filled with wood so as to simulate the real fire load of furnished apartments. Various wood construction methods and fire protection measures were examined and the increasingly sought-after extension type with visible wooden elements was also simulated.
The results confirmed that tall wooden buildings can safely withstand even a full fire in individual apartments if certain construction methods are adhered to. By showing the general conditions under which it is possible to build safely with wood, a basis for the regulations is now to be provided. However, actual implementation of any updated building code remains a task for politicians. “Our goal is to enable regulated construction up to the high-rise boundary, i.e. up to 22 m, throughout Germany,” explained Thomas Engel from the Chair of Timber Construction and Structural Design at the Technical University of Munich on the occasion of the experiment series.
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