OFFSITE INNOVATION: Working with SMARTPLY MAX FR B flame retardant OSB
As the demand to build more homes in the UK continues to grow, so does the need for innovations that can help the construction industry build better, safer and more efficiently.
Offsite and modular construction in particular, is seeing a boost. As part of the chancellor’s spring budget earlier this year, funding of £10 million will be made available to accelerate the delivery of MMC homes in the UK.1 This is good news for those in offsite construction, as it means prefabrication and factory-based methods are seen as a solution to building more homes quicker, and more efficiently.
So, what innovations can offsite contractors make use of?
Flame retardant OSB
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to building is fire safety. Fire safety remains a top priority in construction and the government are introducing tougher rules. For example, earlier this year, it had announced that building owners could face unlimited fines if anyone is caught obstructing or impersonating a fire inspector or if they breach fire safety regulations under the Fire Safety Order.2 With new laws and regulations coming into force, it is important to help minimise the risk of fire, especially when it comes to choosing the best timber materials for offsite construction.
There has been a certain degree of hesitancy when it comes to using timber in some building applications because of its reaction to fire. However, recent innovations – such as the development of flame retardant OSB panels – address this issue, and can greatly improve fire safety in buildings where timber is a main material.
Flame retardant treatments are used to improve a material’s ‘reaction to fire,’ which is the measurement of how a material or system will contribute to a fire’s development and spread, particularly in the very early stages of a fire when evacuation is crucial.
A flame retardant panel has a much lower burn temperature after ignition, and crucially a slower char rate, compared to an untreated wood-based panel. This means the panel burns far more predictably and allows occupants more time to leave the building.
The benefits of working with SMARTPLY MAX FR B
When it comes to offsite construction, engineered timber panels can be practical and effective. SMARTPLY MAX FR B is a flame retardant, structural, moisture resistant OSB/3 panel with outstanding and reliable reaction to fire properties. This robust panel is ideal for use where strength, moisture and improved flame retardance are paramount.
It is the first Euroclass B wood panel to be manufactured in the UK and Ireland to be treated with a water-based flame retardant solution during manufacture, allowing the individual wood strands making up the panel to be treated before pressing. This makes its flame retardance integral rather than just surface based. Each panel is CE marked in accordance with EN 13986 at the point of manufacture unlike post-treated alternatives.
As an innovative wood-based panel, SMARTPLY MAX FR B is independently certified for the most demanding structural applications in permanent constructions such as wall sheathing, flooring and roofing, offering a wide range of design possibilities. In addition, it is suitable for general free-standing applications where enhanced reaction to fire performance is required, this includes timber frame construction, light gauge steel and modular construction, and commercial uses such as shop fitting and general joinery.
It is lightweight and easy to cut and fix compared to mineral-based panels, which can crack or shatter, giving you more flexibility to work with. Its high racking strength makes it suitable for structural use. SMARTPLY MAX FR B also complies with the performance requirements in the Structural Timber Associations “Design guide to separating distances during construction” for timber frame buildings. In this instance, the product is referred to as SMARTPLY MAX FR/FR BUILD.
It is manufactured using FSC® certified timber from MEDITE SMARTPLY’s own forests in Ireland, helping towards BREEAM, LEED and WELL Standard sustainability credentials for any project. SMARTPLY MAX FR B also has the added benefit being manufactured with no added formaldehyde or other harmful substances, which makes it safer to work with and contributes to an overall healthier environment in the building.
For more information on SMARTPLY MAX FR B and to request samples CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE FOR Funding boost in offsite construction, pushbudget boost for MMC mid offsite construction
CLICK HERE FOR Unlimited fines for those who breach fire safety regulations