CLT manufacturer first in U.S. to pass fire safety requirements

D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations, the nation’s first certified U.S. manufacturer of Cross-Laminated Timber, has become the first North American CLT manufacturer to achieve significant fire safety requirements under tests designed to gauge flame spread and fire resistance.  No other manufacturer of CLT has been certified under the new APA/ANSI manufacturing standard and has subjected its panels to such rigorous tests.

“We’re proud of our team and the quality of the CLT panels they’re manufacturing,” said Valerie Johnson, President of D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations.  “Our panels are manufactured to the highest possible standards and perform safely under tough conditions.  These tests prove you don’t sacrifice safety when you build with CLT.”

The flame spread test was performed by QAI Laboratories in California using the standard flame spread and smoke density classification tests in accordance with ASTM Designation E84-15b, “Standard Method of Test for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials.”  The test identifies the rate of the spread of fire across the building material, and it places the results into three classifications: A, B, and C, with A being the highest rating and C being the lowest.  D.R. Johnson’s CLT panel achieved an A rating, meaning there was minimal spread of fire across the building material over the test’s standard time period.

The fire resistance test was performed by a separate U.S.-based firm using ASTM E119-16, “Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials.”  This test evaluates the duration for which a building material will contain a fire, or retain its structural integrity, during a predetermined fire exposure time.  For D.R. Johnson’s CLT panels it was determined that the underside of the CLT panel would be exposed – other CLT tests encased the panel in drywall – and that the test would last for 2 hours.  Despite being fully exposed, the panels passed the test, meaning it contained the fire and held its structural integrity for the full 2 hours.

“This is the first time in North America that a CLT panel has achieved both of these fire safety requirements, which is excellent,” said David Barber, Principal at Arup and one of the nation’s leading fire protection engineers. “It’s a sign that advanced wood products, when engineered to the highest standards, are a safe alternative to other traditional building materials.”

Both tests were conducted in the United States in the late spring and summer of 2016.

“Any new building material is bound to face questions about its safety and reliability,” said Johnson.  “We are committed to meeting those questions head on and producing the highest-quality CLT panel available.”

About D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations
D.R. Johnson began manufacturing wood products in Riddle, Oregon in 1951.  Its Cross-Laminated Timber manufacturing business, D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations, is the first company in the U.S. to receive APA/ANSI certification to manufacture structural CLT panels.  It has several projects under development, making it the only certified U.S. manufacturer of CLT panels currently serving the domestic market.  For more information, please visit www.oregonclt.com.

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