It has been a prevailing issue over the last few years that the UK has not built enough homes to meet demand. This, combined with a shortage of skilled workers, accelerated fears of a no-deal Brexit and the lingering economic setbacks caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, has meant that the construction industry is having to adapt as quickly as possible.
Although the Prime Minister has allowed construction sites to remain open during the most recent lockdown, there are naturally still concerns for the safety of construction workers onsite. This has led to an increasing interest in offsite construction, which requires fewer workers to be onsite at once.
Offsite construction has been able to offer reliability in these challenging times. As well as bringing a certain level of cost certainty, components being factory produced from materials certified long in advance means there is practically no room for human error or component defects. This is a winning feature, especially when it comes to components for some of the most structurally demanding applications or where special properties are required, such as flame retardance.
SMARTPLY MAX FR B from MEDITE SMARTPLY has been developed to bring greater peace of mind to those specifying and designing components for offsite construction. It is the first Euroclass B OSB/3 manufactured in the UK and Ireland to feature wood flakes treated with flame retardant solution before pressing.
The significance of pre-treating flame retardant OSB during manufacture
Often, the surface application of flame retardants to OSB is made on site using a brush or spray. Alternatively, a distributor will send the material to a third party for post-manufacture flame retardant treatment. In the first instance, this does not guarantee how effective the application is. In the second, the product will then require a new Declaration of Performance (DoP), a legal requirement, to declare the improved reaction to fire classification as well as any change in the non-fire [e.g. structural] properties that may have occurred through the process of treatment, which is a possibility.
In the case of SMARTPLY MAX FR B, the flame retardant solution is added to wood panels in the factory during the manufacturing process, which means the panels are subject to factory production control – accredited by a notified body – for structural and reaction to fire performance. This means that the product will already carry a valid CE mark for its enhanced fire performance, giving specifiers greater piece of mind.
Catering further to the offsite industry, SMARTPLY MAX FR B is available in largescale formats of up to 2.8m wide by 7.5m long, making it ideal for offsite manufacturing, alongside traditional building.
SMARTPLY MAX FR B meets with the requirements of European Standards EN 300 and EN 13986, and the European reaction to fire classes B-s2,d0 and Bfl-s1. This robust panel also complies with the Structural Timber Association's (STA) FR Build performance requirements in accordance with their "Design Guide to Separating Distances During Construction" for timber frame buildings. In this application, the panel is referred to as SMARTPLY MAX FR/FR BUILD.
In addition to this, SMARTPLY MAX FR B is sustainably manufactured using advanced resin technology that results in a higher performance, with zero added formaldehyde, which makes it safer for contractors and fabricators to work with, and allows them – and specifying architects – to the create safer, healthier environments.
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