A recent letter, “Do more testing,” from the Carolina Ready Mixed Concrete Association calls for fire tests of mass-timber construction panels, which have already been completed. In addition to years of testing that have taken place in Canada and overseas, five additional fire tests were completed on cross-laminated timber (CLT). Interestingly, representatives from the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association were present and witnessed the promising results.
In conjunction with the International Code Council, American Wood Council and U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory, the five tests were completed on a full-scale, multi-story mass timber apartment building in May and June of this year. The tests ranged from unsprinklered to sprinklered, exposed CLT and CLT covered with gypsum wallboard. The results of each test showed CLT, even when exposed, maintained fire resistance.
The Mount Pleasant hotel is an innovative design that incorporates CLT and meets the South Carolina building codes. Not only is mass timber safe, it is the only renewable structural building material. Wood is sustainable, easy to build with and provides hundreds of thousands of American jobs.
Mass timber structural systems represent the first significant challenge to concrete and steel in more than a century, so perhaps it’s no surprise to see the letter from a competing industry. However, spreading misinformation about fire safety is dangerous and does not serve the public interest.
Dr. Patricia A. Layton
Director, Wood Utilization + Design Institute
Harris Smith Building