Live stream webinar – the mysteries of fire protection and how to manage them, including for timber

Jack Haber

Fire is a particularly sensitive topic these days. Especially after some high-profile building cladding fires in Australia and overseas. So, when it comes to new building systems such as timber, it’s no surprise that fire risk is pretty well the first thing most people ask about.

According to Jack Haber, an architect, who will host a two-point CPD webinar on this topic on Thursday, 7 May, “the lack of understanding about fire protection is astounding, even among many design professionals.”

Architects for instance, over a full five or six years of training, cover off on fire protection only as a sub-section – a few short hours on the building code, he says.

Familiarity with timber is in the same category. “The fact is that most project managers, structural engineers, quantify surveyors and builders don’t know much about the details around timber construction at all; it’s a new field in Australia.”

Haber, who for several years now has specialised in supplying lightweight engineered floor structural floor systems, says there are some basic processes that if followed correctly, can allow any architect, builder or engineer to feel comfortable with specifying this popular material, that’s increasingly seen a fabulous sustainable solution for the built environment.

“If they haven’t focused on timber fire protection before, they really have to learn from scratch.”

Another major issue is that in Australia, we rely too heavily on international supply chains. “There are some are great products that have been properly tested. However, some are not. You rely on the documentation supplied by the manufacturer. You don’t necessarily know when technical specifications are backed up by comprehensive testing. When they’re not, that’s when disasters can happen”.

Because every building is different and may require specific certification for every system used, there are no hard and fast solutions.

“It’s a design process, not a Meccano set. Every building is unique, and every solution is unique.”

“But if our designers only followed the black letter of the deemed to satisfy rules, you’d never be able to do anything innovative.”

That’s why our codes allow for performance-based solutions. Its also why you need the right advice and cooperation from a few key, experienced professionals, in order to manage the risk.

“Quite frankly”, Haber says, “it’s impossible for any one professional to cover off on all the possible scenarios. The “gatekeeper”, Haber says, is the Building Surveyor.

At the upcoming webinar, hosted in a professional studio environment, Jack will ask three experts to share their knowledge – Darryl Waddingham, a fire engineer from Stantec; Ari Akritidis, building surveyor and Principal of AGBC Building who is also a member of the Building Appeals Board and Robert Sebek, a technical specification manager from Kingspan.

The webinar is recommended for design professionals, students and building practitioners and carries two CPD points.

Click here to book for the webinar

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