The benefits of flame retardant engineered wood-based panels for construction projects

MEDITE SMARTPLY's range of SMARTPLY OSB leads the way with "world firsts" in innovation.

OSB is a sustainable, highly engineered alternative to structural plywood for use in applications in buildings. It utilises small diameter logs from forests, in this case owned by MEDITE SMARTPLY, to make strands of wood that are oriented in cross directions to ensure a panel that is engineered to meet and exceed strength ratings. Each one is then pressed under heat to form high quality, uniform structural panels.

When flame retardant technology is added to these panels, there's potential for truly innovative products to be created: flame retardant, or "FR" engineered wood-based panels, such as SMARTPLY MAX FR B, have opened new possibilities for construction projects.

But how does this technology work and what benefits do FR engineered wood-based panels bring to construction projects?

Flame-retardant engineered wood-based panels are available as both structural and non-structural products, depending on the Service Class and end-use application. OSB is a structural panel typically used in permanent construction applications, such as flooring, roofing and wall sheathing. SMARTPLY MAX FR B OSB is able to add crucial reaction to fire benefits to areas that require a high fire performance, such as floors and ceilings in between apartments, hallways and walkways, and fire escape routes to name a few.

In the case of a fire in a building, once the fire has spread and reaches flashover point (where it has taken over an enclosed space), containment becomes top priority. At this stage of a fire compartmentalisation is most important, and this relies on the fire resistance ratings of the structures and materials in place.

An untreated wood-based panel in this flash over situation would fuel a much hotter fire, unpredictable fire. A flame-retardant panel however has a much lower burn temperature after ignition, and crucially a slower char rate, meaning the panel burns far more predictably and importantly gives occupants more time to evacuate from a building.

This means that flame retardant panels take longer to reach flash point due to the FR treatment which has enhanced the panels reaction to fire.

In these situations, seconds, quite literally, save lives.

SMARTPLY MAX FR B achieves a Reaction to Fire Classification of B-s2, d0, and Bfl-s1 (flooring) in accordance with EN13501-1, which is the maximum rating for reaction to fire that a wood-based panel can achieve.

It is independently certified for the most demanding structural applications in permanent constructions (wall sheathing, flooring and roofing), as well as general free-standing applications where enhanced reaction to fire performance is required. These include timber frame construction, light gauge steel and modular construction systems and fire protection during construction, amongst others. SMARTPLY MAX FR B also complies with the performance requirements in the Structural Timber Associations "Design guide to separating distances during construction" for timber frame buildings. In this case, we refer to the product as SMARTPLY MAX FR/FR BUILD.

Additionally, SMARTPLY was the first manufacturer to convert to a no added formaldehyde resin system for all its OSB products, and as a result meet the world's most stringent standards for both formaldehyde and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). SMARTPLY OSB panels can contribute to sustainable building standards such as LEED, BREEAM, The WELL Standard and HPI—Ireland's Home Performance Index, which provides a label for quality sustainable residential development, complementing existing schemes used in the commercial sector such as BREEAM and LEED.

Find out more about SMARTPLY MAX FR B here:

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