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A lack of test evidence and performance data creates challenges for specifiers having to achieve precise safety and performance requirements. Steve Thompson Managing Director for light steel frame specialists, EOS Framing – discusses reducing the fire load of residential buildings.
A key advantage of light steel frame is fire performance. The amount of combustible material in a light steel framed building is much lower, therefore the risk of fire during construction and when occupied is vastly reduced. Steel is non-combustible and does not add to the fire load of a building – reducing the ‘fuel for the fire’ and limiting risk of damage and injury.
Making the Building Process Inherently Safer
EOS as part of Etex are continually looking at ways to make the building process not only inherently safer but also to offer performance assurances to architects, housebuilders and specifiers to ensure they can provide sufficient levels of protection to occupants.
Fire protection for light steel framing is typically provided by the use of non-combustible boards for internal linings and fire protection systems such as those manufactured by our Etex Group partners –Promat and FSi. These passive fire protection specialists develop and manufacture a full range of built-in fire systems to safeguard both infrastructure and assets.
Rigorously Tested and Certified
Developed together with our Etex Group partners, Siniat, a leading expert in plasterboard and drylining systems, together with Promat and FSi – our loadbearing and non-loadbearing walling and flooring systems combine the technical and manufacturing expertise of the group to provide a comprehensive range of tested and certified solutions for light steel frame construction – all from one supplier.
With 60 – 120-minute fire resistance options, this approach mitigates risk because these integrated systems have been tested and assessed for compliance with the latest regulations and standards, to ensure robust and reliable performance. Design performance is achieved using combinations of boarding and insulation and only tested configurations are available for selection.
We are committed to technical competence and as part of Etex, we have some of the best fire experts in the UK on our team. They work closely with certification bodies to jointly develop and design technical solutions.
By eliminating uncertainty through rigorous testing regimes, EOS deliver light steel framing systems with certified and predictable performance. Recently presented with Best External Product trophy at the Housebuilder Product Awards, Thrubuild® is an all-in-one non-combustible certified system exploiting the latest products, technical know-how and manufacturing excellence of the combined Etex team. Providing crucial safety, time and cost benefits, the Thrubuild® range has multiple loadbearing applications for low and medium rise developments and can be used for external or internal walls together with internal and separating floors.
In addition to the Thrubuild® loadbearing range, we have researched and developed Thruwall® – fully engineered custom-designed non-loadbearing infill systems manufactured offsite and supplied as a certified kit of parts that can be used with concrete and steel main frames.
Following the outstanding success of Thruwall® – EOS has taken factory prefabrication and preassembly to another level. Developed and rigorously tested, Pre-Assembled Frames (PAF) are an evolution of Thruwall® which is delivered to site as a unitised non-loadbearing infill system encapsulating light steel framing and external sheathing. Both Thruwall® and PAF systems are suitable for buildings with a height of more than 18 metres.
All components and products in the Thrubuild®,Thruwall®and Pre-Assembled Framessystem range have been rigorously tested together for fire, acoustic, weathering, airtightness, durability and mechanical performance. Fire resistance periods of 60, 90 and 120 minutes are predictably achievable.
A fragmented supply chain will result in components being offered by a multitude of manufacturers, therefore warranties are complex, for very limited timescales or simply non-existent. This uncertainty also extends to the costs involved, the speed of build and the quality of the final outcome.
When walling and flooring systems are built with Etex Group components and materials, following a validation process — Etex award a 30-year warranty. Advanced light steel framing systems manufactured offsite in well managed factory environments not only mitigate risk but also enhance the speed and quality of the build process. Robust testing regimes backed by comprehensive warranties offer assurances to developers and no doubt help specifying teams sleep at night safe in the knowledge that they have safeguarded building owners and occupants.