General Contractor’s Guide to Fire Retardant Wood & Fire Rated Plywood
When it comes to building safety and the responsibility you as a contractor feel, learning about fire-resistant wood is undoubtedly high on your list.
In this guide, we’ll share with you the latest information found about fire retardant treated wood. Please refer to city, state, and USA safety building codes and guidelines before tackling your project.
In this overview article (more to come on fire retardant wood), we’ll introduce you to the best information to help you take the following steps in sourcing fire-treated wood for your construction project.
Is there such a thing as fire-resistant or fireproof wood?
Before we dig into other aspects of fire-retardant wood, the most crucial question to address first is, “Is there such a thing as fireproof wood?” In the fire and construction industries, it is widely recognized there are no fireproof buildings.
Building construction and life safety codes are concerned with the types of materials used in buildings. In his white paper “NFPA Code Provisions and Fire-Retardant-Treated Wood,” David G. Bueche of Hoover Treated Wood & Wood Products writes, “Fires can occur in any type of structure. However, a fire’s severity is contingent on a structure’s fortitude to confine the fire, limit its effect on the supporting structure, and control the spread of smoke and gasses. Their concern is rooted in the risk posed by fire to the structure and persons using it. Both aim to reduce property loss and protect life safety.”
Buechel’s paper further examines the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes and their referenced standards, including how fire-retardant-treated wood (FRTW) can be used in building construction. Additionally, he reviews a few case histories demonstrating the use of FRTW instead of non-combustible building elements.
When Should Fire-Retardant Wood & Plywood Be Used?
The structures being built today, specifically those multi-family and commercial buildings, are purpose-built using application-specific building materials, engineering to meet safety codes, and a myriad of other safety-centric elements. Fire tops the list of safety concerns threatening our multi-residential and commercial structures today.
As such, many architects, engineers, contractors, and building materials manufacturers commit to using safe designs, engineering practices, and materials at once up-to-code and have taken many steps beyond.
FlameRetardantFacts.com states, “Fire safety codes and standards are typically managed by independent, third-party organizations using processes that reflect principles of openness and transparency. Codes and standards are updated regularly, drawing upon subject matter experts from government, industry, academia, and public health and safety organizations.”
The IBC, the most recognized authority, classifies buildings into five types of construction. Type III allows a mix of non-combustible and combustible materials, while construction Types IV and V can have combustible building materials. Building codes make using fire-retardant wood and plywood a strict requirement on multi-story construction of Type III and Type V (Note, Type IV multi-stories are becoming more widely used.
The contents contained within the body of this article are based upon the latest online research and documents we found available at the time. However, we stress again to do your research, starting with the sources we found below. Be diligent in checking your local, state, and U.S. laws and building codes based on the type of construction you are doing.
Contact Liberty Panel for Your Lumber Needs
We suggest contacting our Liberty Panel team if you work within Brooklyn, NY, or the tri-state area for further information about the fire retardant treated wood and plywood products.
While our website is undergoing renovation, our team is ready to assist you by phone: (718) 647-2763. If you’d like to drop by our store at 1009 Liberty Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11208, we are happy to help you in person!