In recent years, the construction industry has seen a surge in interest in mass timber as an innovative and sustainable building material. To address the need for fire-safe design in larger scale mass timber buildings, Arup has drawn on decades of global fire safety research, including our own large-scale mass timber experimental series, to formulate this risk-based guidance.

This globally applicable guidance sets out recommended design features tailored to three primary building typologies—residential, educational, and commercial occupancies—which demonstrate the greatest potential for mass timber as structural elements. It serves as a pragmatic resource for anyone involved in the design and construction of mass timber buildings, and answers questions such as:

Can mass timber remain exposed or does it require encapsulation?

  • Is automatic suppression system integration necessary?
  • Can mass timber be employed in external wall construction?
  • Is a single-stair building conducive to mass timber construction?

The research underpinning this guide has already informed the fire safety design of several award-winning mass timber buildings, including Haut in Amsterdam, Ascent in Milwaukee, USA and WorkStack in London.

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Fire Safe Design of Mass Timber Buildings