A new report available from reThink Wood demonstrates the fire resistance rating of glulam beam to column connections in Type IV construction. The findings support mass timber as a safe solution that meets, and in some cases exceeds, stringent fire safety standards for U.S. building design and construction.

Arup, D.R. Johnson, MyTiCon and the Softwood Lumber Board partnered to complete three full-scale fire tests for glulam beam to column connectors. The fire tests were loaded to simulate typical building conditions. The testing is a significant milestone for the industry for a few key reasons:

•    All connectors passed and achieved at least a 1-hour fire resistance rating, allowing them to be used in buildings up to 85-feet in height.
•    The findings allow architects, designers and engineers to specify the tested connection assemblies and satisfy the requirements of the International Building Code. 
•    Approval by an authority having jurisdiction will therefore be easier for future building projects using mass timber. 

“For the engineering community – and particularly for those interested in expanding the possibilities of mass timber construction in the U.S. – these tests represent a significant step to ensure safety,” said David Barber, fire safety engineer and principal at Arup. “With continued interest and investment in mass timber projects, I am confident more solutions will enter the market, making mass timber more viable for a wide range of projects.”

“The opportunity to expand off-the-shelf solutions for mass timber connection assemblies provides both safety and economic benefits to U.S. building designers and engineers, and therefore, we are proud to have funded this necessary testing,” said Cees de Jager, Chief Marketing Officer of the Softwood Lumber Board. 

The three different configurations of glulam beam to column connections were fire tested at a U.S. nonprofit, independent research and development organization with approved fire testing facility. The tests were carried out to meet ASTM E119-16a “Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials,” and satisfy requirements of Chapter 7 of the IBC.

The full summary report is available for free download at reThinkWood.com. Additional mass timber and wood building resources are also available at reThinkWood.com and the reThink Wood Research Library.