Fire safe wooden buildings in the future – a conclusion - Briab - Brand, Risk & Säkerhet


Fire safe wooden buildings in the future – a conclusion

In three articles on fire protection in tall wooden buildings, I have described how the fire development changes and becomes more intensive in wooden buildings, the importance of a careful risk identification and in the latest article, principles that can be used to create a robust fire protection. In this final article I will try to give a concise summary and some advice along the way for future fire-resistant wooden buildings.


The knowledge of how CLT affects the fire development and the behavior of the panels in the event of fire mean that certain precautions need to be taken when using a combustible framework. The fact that a fire self-extinguishes when loose furnishings are burned up is an important prerequisite for the fire development to be predictable. A predictable fire development is created by either ensuring that CLT does not delaminate or by using cladding that protects the wooden construction until the fuel runs out. If the producer cannot show that the glue that is used is temperature resistant, it is recommended that the building element made of CLT is protected with cladding in wooden buildings that have more than eight floors.

Challenges during all the construction phases

Tall wooden constructions involve specific challenges that must be managed during design, production and maintenance. Therefore, accuracy in risk identification is recommended. Pay attention to tackling the difficulties that come up in a tall wooden construction. Moreover, fire protection should be designed based on the deep defense principle where keywords for the choice of system are redundancy, independence and diversification. Check that the chosen fire safety design can manage identified difficulties with sufficient robustness. Overweigh the measures that prevent the rise of fires and ensure that they can be extinguished quickly if they occur, despite everything. Pay attention to details. Connections are a weak link that require due consideration. Establish routines for control of project design that must occur periodically throughout the design phase. During the construction, details need to be designed with great accuracy. Here, an extensive self-inspection or a third-party inspection, with the help of photo documentation be considerably meaningful for parts that cannot be inspected after completion. Fire protection during construction needs to be planned with specific consideration to the construction’s vulnerability. Finally, collaborate with the rescue service on appropriate effort statistics, design a system for repair after damage due to, for instance, water leakage or fire, and establish how restructuring can take place with respect to the different prerequisites of the construction.

Some advice for fire-safe wooden constructions

  • Buildings up to 8 floors should mainly be designed using simplified dimensioning. Ignitability, fire resistance and load-bearing capacity can be verified during testing. In these constructions, the rescue service makes up a valuable resource, which through internal and external extinguishing efforts can limit the spread of fire. Accessibility for external efforts therefore needs to be good around the entire building.
  • For buildings comprising 9 to 16 floors, special care is required, even if these buildings do not make up the so-called Br0 buildings. Since the rescue service no longer is able to provide external extinguishing, we lose a meaningful possibility of limiting the spread of fire and extinguishing the fire. Unpredictable and more intensive fire development becomes difficult to manage, which can be compensated for by protecting the wooden construction with cladding or by using a CLT board where the glue has a verified temperature resistance. I think that sprinklers can also play an important role here.
  • If the building has more than 16 floors, it is placed in the building class Br0, which means that fire protection should be verified by analytical dimensioning. Here there is valuable guidance available in the report that Briab has established along with the fire protection consultants and other industry players with the support of the Swedish Construction Industry’s Development Fund, SBUF.

Download the report here

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