TRADA’s response to the Government’s proposed ban which has implications for CLT
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other forms of structural timber construction are not only here to stay but are actually set to increase in popularity. After all, CLT attracts architects, contractors, clients and more for a multitude of distinct reasons. Some are aesthetic, others include cost reduction and programme savings – and, for those concerned about climate change, CLT sequesters carbon and stores it for the life of the building.
For these reasons TRADA believes that, whilst its understanding of the Government’s conclusion to the consultation suggests that CLT will therefore be prevented from being used in certain situations, this does not have to be of detriment to the structural timber market. The vast majority of CLT projects delivered in the UK to date are six-storeys and under – which will not be impacted upon by these restrictions. Important markets currently utilising the material, such as schools, will therefore remain unaffected.
What this proposed ban does mean, however, is a necessity for creativity if we are to continue making the best use of timber as a structural material. We must, as an industry, determine methods by which we can build above six-storeys using structural timber – but not on the outer walls. Glulam post and beam is already one potential solution to this challenge.
The Government’s report remains fairly vague as to the use of BS 8414 as a method of proving compliance. TRADA will therefore seek to establish the exact situation with regards to this.
In general, TRADA believes that the consultation was ambiguously worded, particularly in regards to whether the consultation questions related to cladding only or to the entire wall assembly. Due to this, we found it very difficult to know how to answer many of the questions – and we believe this ambiguity will have caused difficulty for others too.
Read the document Government Response to the Consultation on Banning the Use of Combustible Materials in the External Walls of High-Rise Residential Buildings here.