Solid timber elements can self-extinguish in the event of a fire

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There is considerable evidence that timber will become an even more important construction material. In recent years, several researchers have been investigating the strength and fire safety properties of cross-laminated timber, and it is hoped that newer versions of solid timber elements will, by and large, be fire-resistant.

Is it possible to use more timber in building constructions? That is an exciting question which preoccupies researchers in timber around the world. Dr. Richard Emberley from California Polytechnic State University in the USA has, for example, carried out research into the self-extinguishing abilities of burning timber, and Danish architect Kristine Sundahl is investigating the role of materials, particularly timber, in architecture for her Business PhD.

– A major problem in the area is that large swathes of the population perceive timber as a flammable material that isn’t safe to live in. However, the type of timber we are working with today is completely different to the lightweight constructions of light timber used previously, says Dr. Richard Emberley.

Construction material of the future
The two researchers agree that there are exciting opportunities in construction elements made from cross-laminated timber, also known as CLT. Cross-laminated timber is a solid timber element comprising a number of different layers placed perpendicularly on top of one another. The weaknesses are evened out in the cross-lamination so that the bearing capacity is distributed. The layers are glued together with solid timber elements that have substantial rigidity and strength as well as being extremely dimensionally stable.

– There is a lightness in timber, and it has many excellent properties which make it suitable for use as a surface. It is rigid and strong and good for covering long expanses, such as horizontal division structures, floors and ceilings. Moreover, timber is more environmentally-friendly to produce than both concrete and iron and it provides an excellent indoor climate, explains Kristine Sundahl.

On top of that, solid timber elements weigh less than concrete, which means that you can make do with a smaller and less expensive foundation. According to Dr. Richard Emberley, the large transversal sections that can be produced from cross-laminated timber make it possible to utilise the timber’s ability to self-extinguish.

Self-extinguishment
Indeed, the ability to self-extinguish is a subject on which Dr. Richard Emberley has carried out research during his PhD project.

– The term self-extinguishment is used when the energy provided by the flames is not sufficient to break down the material and the fire needs an external source of energy in order to keep going and destroy the timber. Thus, you could say that the fire suffocates itself, says Dr. Richard Emberley, who goes on to explain that the solid timber elements are compressed so tightly together that it provides a high degree of fire resistance in both load-bearing and partitioning structures.

CLT solid timber elements provide such good fire safety that it can be compared to non-flammable construction materials. CLT does not burn, rather it carbonizes slowly and at a predictable speed so that its bearing properties are maintained for a long time.

The construction industry awaits
The strength of solid timber elements, combined with the ability to self-extinguish, make it possible to use timber in construction to a far greater degree than previously. And, research is still being carried out into the properties and limitations of solid timber elements in several places around the world, Dr. Richard Emberley informs us.

He has contributed to the research himself by, for example, carrying out a number of both small and large-scale trials whereby different sizes of rooms constructed from timber were ignited. The purpose of the trials was to determine the extent to which timber can ideally be compressed in order to make it fireproof.

However, Kristine Sundahl believes that re-establishing timber as one of the major construction materials will be a long, drawn-out process. She is following research around the world where the focus is on finding the right quantity and composition of glue while, at the same time, experiments are being carried out on joints, moisture and the spread of fire.

– Architects and engineers are, in a way, biding their time with regard to the testing of CLT and are awaiting the results of, for example, research and experiences gleaned from the buildings of solid timber elements that have already been constructed.  However, it takes time to change a tradition in the construction industry, says Kristine Sundahl.

 

Introduction to the Management of Hotel Fire Safety

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Twice a week there is a fire alert in a hotel in Sweden. The main reasons for fires in hotels are technical issues, candles and guests smoking in bed. These fires can cause serious damage and the consequences are sometimes fatal.

You are in charge. This premise is the basis of all legislation concerning fire protection. Every co-worker in the organisation must have proper knowledge about the fire protection program of the hotel. They should also know how to prevent fires from emerging as well as how to take the right actions in case of a fire. A well-functioning fire protection program comprises both technical and organisational solutions, you can build a solid basis for a fire protection program for your hotel with simple measures.

The education meets the qualifications required in the Swedish standard “Norm för Brandskyddat hotell™, which has been produced and revised in  collaboration with Visita (the Swedish sector and employer’s organisation for Hotels).

Objective

After the training, you should have basic knowledge and understanding of what it means to be responsible for a fire protection program at a hotel. You should also be able to take initiatives and take part in creating a fire proof hotel through planning, documentation and follow ups, ensuring you have an adequate fire protection management system in your hotel.

Content

  • Fire development
  • Responsibilities, regulations and laws
  • Fire Protection Management System
  • Fire Risk Assessment
  • Training
  • Fire Protection in Buildings
  • Evacuation

Suitable for

Hotel Managers, Safety Managers, Property Safety Responsible and Safety Managers.

Guida europea CFPA-E Guideline 32:2014-F

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E’ finalmente disponibile la traduzione in italiano della Linea Guida europea CFPA-E Guideline 32:2014-F “Treatment and storage of waste and combustible secondary raw materials”, che contiene utili indicazioni in merito alla sicurezza antincendio degli impianti di riciclaggio dei rifiuti e dei depositi di rifiuti. La linea guida europea può essere un valido punto di partenza per lo studio e l’applicazione di misure di sicurezza antincendio in questi impianti che, in Italia come anche in altri paesi, negli ultimi tempi stanno vedendo un sensibile incremento nel numero di incendi.

La versione originale della Guideline, in inglese, è disponibile come sempre al sito www.cfpa-e.eu; la versione in italiano verrà pubblicata a breve sul medesimo sito.

Si prevede nel prossimo futuro di rendere disponibili nelle varie lingue nazionali anche altre linee guida CFPA-E. Per restare aggiornati sulle novità europee in materia di prevenzione incendi è possibile iscriversi alla newsletter gratuita CFPA-E: le istruzioni si trovano sulla main page del sito www.cfpa-e.eu.

 

 

The CFPA-E Guideline 32:2014-F “Treatment and storage of waste and combustible secondary raw materials”, which contains useful indications about fire safety for this plants, is now available in Italian. The Guideline can be a valid tool for the study and implementation of fire safety measures in this sites where many fires occurred in the last times, in Italy and in other countries.

The Italian version will be published soon on the CFPA-E website www.cfpa-e.eu, together with the original English version.

In the near future, many CFPA-E Guidelines are going to be available in the various national languages. To receive updated news, it’s possible to subscribe to the CFPA-E newsletter: the instructions are on the main page of the www.cfpa-e.eu website.

The importance of cyber-security in the digitalization age

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Meeting with AIAS – Vodafone, Unione Confcommercio – Communication Police

The evolution of media and social networks, the distributed information and the internet are a concrete help for business, but can represent a menace for confidential information and for the internal data concerning customers.
The risk leakage of uncontrolled leakage of information that can be confidential or even strategic for the business development, due to cybercrime actions made with traditional or new and sophisticated systems, can be fatal for the business survival. Companies hit by cybercrime have to compete on the market in unfavorable conditions, as their competitors already know which are their intentions and their customers profile. So, unexpected failures arise, and apparently inexplicable copies of products and/or ideas migrate to the competitors.
The aptitude to undervalue the risk, the behavior to consider security as a cost and not an investment and the distrust towards the technologic approach can give aid to the attack to the immaterial patrimony of little and medium size companies.

The meeting took place on April 18, in Milan.

VdS_Web-Quick-Check

Clarity for GDPR compliance in 20 minutes: With the free VdS-Quick-Check

On May 25th, every company and every authority in the EU must have implemented the extensive “General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)”. VdS now supports those institutions with a free Web-Quick-Check for the fast determination of their GDPR compliance level – including, where necessary, practical implementation assistance.

Despite its far-reaching requirements, the EU´s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must be fully implemented until May 25th by every company processing personal data and every public authority in the EU member states (and, at current negotiation status, also the UK).
Therefore VdS has now supplemented its range of data protection services for the practical management of these EU requirements with a free Internet-Quick-Check. On the basis of 26 questions, specifically small and medium-sized businesses as well as smaller authorities can quickly determine their individual level of GDPR compliance. The convenient VdS-traffic-light-system immediately shows any need for action. Included in the evaluation is also precise assistance for any subsequent improvements that may be necessary.
Markus Edel, head of VdS Cyber-Security, explains: “In the new Web-Quick-Check, we have compressed our core support functions for the necessary GDPR implementation – allowing a fast self-analysis of the compliance level in all relevant fields of action.”
The new tool is provided free of charge on vds-quick-check.de/en.

Cause of multistorey carpark fire in Liverpool still unclear

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Never before have 1,400 cars been engulfed by flames in a multistorey carpark. But this is what happened in Liverpool in December 2017. The question now is, what was the reason for the violent fire spread and what effect will the fire have on parking facilities in a number of European countries?

On 31 December, fire broke out in a car in a multistorey carpark in Liverpool. The carpark was a concrete building open on all sides – very much like the ones we know in Denmark. What is totally unfamiliar is the way in which the fire developed. Despite a prompt alarm call, a call-out time of eight minutes and 21 emergency response vehicles during the time of the action, the firefighting forces were unable to prevent the fire from spreading between cars and the storey deck, causing the write-off of all 1,400 cars plus the building. Questions are now being raised as to how this could happen.

– We know of similar fires in multistorey carparks in various locations abroad, but at the worst this has meant five or six destroyed cars and in a few cases more extensive fires, but nothing comparable to the fire in Liverpool. This is an unprecedented case and ought not to be possible, says Ib Bertelsen, Customer & Relations Director at DBI, the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology.

Explanations sought
In particular, the rapid fire spread is a matter of surprise.

– Naturally, sprinklers would have retarded fire development, but this was presumably a fully legal building of conventional construction. However, it is possible that difficulties in response tactics played a role, Bertelsen says, with the following explanation:

– When a car fire is reported, a reduced response team is sent out in the first instance, because it is ‘just’ a car fire. And it may be hard for the fire crew to access the scene of the fire.

Another possibility is that petrol and other flammable liquids leaked from the damaged cars and contributed to the rapid and violent fire spread. The local fire force estimates that the temperature was up to 1,000 degrees.

– That’s a lot, and we don’t yet know the specific circumstances, but even so, it is surprising that the situation could go so badly wrong in a properly constructed building. It will be very interesting to hear a likely explanation of why things developed as they did, Bertelsen says.

May change dimensioning
Once the explanation has been determined, the next question is whether this will have consequences in other countries.

– If there is no reasonable explanation, then, to the extent we have similar buildings in Denmark, we ought to be thinking about how we dimension our buildings and what scenarios we are dimensioning them for, Bertelsen says.

And maybe not just multistorey carparks will be subject to change – depending on the explanation from Britain.

– To a certain extent, you can compare them with large open-air carparks. Obviously, conditions are completely different in a building, but the cars are just as tightly spaced in an open carpark.

[NEW GUIDELINE] Photovoltaic systems: Recommendations on loss prevention

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PV modules mounted on buildings are on the one hand exposed to the weather, such as wind, snow, hail and temperature fluctuations, and on the other hand joined with adjacent building constructions, which may be thereby affected with regard to their protective functions, e. g rain or fire protection.

This guideline does a run-through the main system hazards and makes some recommendations on prevention measures to be considered during the phases of design, installation and operation.

This guideline is available for free download here

[NEW GUIDELINE] Demountable / Mobile flood protection systems

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According to loss experience losses caused by flooding can be significantly limited by preventive measures. In this context especially stationary protective measures have proved successful. Mobile protection systems can complement or replace stationary protection systems because of operational or areal constraints.

To establish appropriate protection measures the existing hazards must be identified and analyzed as well as the associated risks assessed. The relevant objectives, e. g. the height of protecting wall, are to be defined object-related and depending on the legal requirements and risk assessment.

The guideline “Demountable / Mobile flood protection systems” shows the available systems in the market and their features, and does a run-through the functional characteristics to be considered when choosing a system for mobile flood protection. Some advice for the selection of the type of system is given, based on previous operational experiences. Quality assurance measures required to the systems are also included in the guideline.

This guideline is available for free download here

 

CFPA Europe at SICUR

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President Tore Eriksson from CTIF and Donald Bliss from NFPA is here visiting CFPA E’s exhibition corner. To the right Mirna Rodriguez and Tommy Arvidsson.

SICUR 2018 was held 20 – 23 February in Madrid. SICUR is the International Security, Safety and Fire Exhibition and it was organised by IFEMA. Cepreven, who is the Spanish member of CFPA Europe, had a big showcase and in one part of that booth also CFPA E could inform about our activities and work. There was also a conference and the Director for CFPA E Tommy Arvidsson and the Chair of our Marketing and Information Commission Mirna Rodriguez had a presentation with the title “Fire Prevention in Europe”.

This year version of the exhibition exceeded SICUR 2016 and the exhibition area was 24% bigger and it was much more visitors. “We got many visitors to our corner, and some people stopped for half an hour because they were very interested and impressed about the work that we are doing in CFPA Europe”, said Tommy Arvidsson as a reflection after the days in Madrid.

Both progress and challenges have appeared during the drafting of a European facade test

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It is not perfect, but it is a big improvement. A draft proposal has been put forward for a common European standard for testing building facade systems, and even though it has some flaws, there are grounds for optimism.

The discussion surrounding a common standard for the fire testing of facade systems in Europe is not new. And recent events have fuelled the debate. This is both due to the fire in Grenfell Tower in London and also a draft proposal for a common standard that RISE (Research Institute in Sweden) has developed in collaboration with a consortium. The draft proposal has been ordered by the European Parliament, among other reasons, due to industries wanting to simplify access to the European markets by having a common standard for testing and classification.

– It is a difficult process, and it took ten years to develop the SBI test. But fires involving facades in one way or another increase the pressure on the political system to take action, says Anders Dragsted, who is a fire safety consultant at the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology.

That pressure has so far resulted in a draft proposal for a common testing method and interpretation of the test results for facade systems. It is based on the British BS 8414 and the German DIN 4102-20 facade system tests, and it also investigates factors such as falling material and smouldering fires. The first draft came out in August, and representatives from all member states were asked to provide comments on it.

– There are several positive elements. For one thing, the scope of application is widespread. The draft covers all types of facade systems except curtain wall systems, which have their own standard. This makes it easier, since then you don’t have to develop several different tests for different types of facade systems. It is an advantage for the manufacturers and for the buyers of facade systems since they only need to familiarise themselves with a single system. The same applies to the testing institutes, who only need to use one type of equipment and one method to test the facade systems, Anders Dragsted explains.

More tests than necessary
The draft proposal suggests two test variants: one with a ‘medium’ fire impact and one with a ‘large’ fire impact. Additionally, the draft covers tests with and without open windows in the facade system, which gives a total of four different test variants. Based on the spread of the fire and whether there is a smouldering fire or falling materials and on the variety of the test, a tested facade system is given one or more classifications. However, it is not all test variants that allow for unlimited access to the market in all EU member states.

– The various countries will have their own requirements on what classification is needed. This means that the manufacturers must find out in advance what classification a country requires and make sure that the tests are conducted with the correct configurations. At least two tests will need to be conducted in order to obtain all the classifications that the draft proposal contains, says Anders Dragsted and continues:

– The ideal solution would instead have been if the draft proposal suggested using a single test configuration with a single type of fire impact. The facade system could then be assigned an appropriate classification, depending on the results of the test. That would mean that a single test would have been sufficient, he says.

Outdoors testing is less than satisfactory
The draft proposal also suggests that the test is conducted outdoors. This may lead to problems for countries with strict requirements for companies’ environmental impact, as their testing labs presumably will not be allowed to make outdoors tests after taking into account neighbours and the environment. This means that the environmental regulations of the various countries will lead to unfair competition between the test institutes across the EU.

– Furthermore, the draft proposal requires that there is virtually no wind, which is extremely rare in Denmark. The temperature must be between minus 10 and plus 40 degrees Celsius at the time of the test. Tests on either end of that temperature scale will be different. If there is direct sunlight, this will impact the test, and so will the moisture of the material. And if you cannot document that the facade systems are exposed to the same impact each time, this is not satisfactory, Anders Dragsted notes, and adds:

– Even though there are flaws and parts that might be improved in the draft proposal, it will, however, still be a big step in the right direction.