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GSBN:Official fire test
From Denmark I'm glad (and a bit nervous ?!) to announce, that on April 5th
the Danish Fire Technical Institute will undertake two tests, as described
As one of the persons who has build the samples, and a member of the
National Ecological Building Association, I am also happy to be able to tell
you, that the institute undertaking the test (the Danish Fire Technical
Institute), and the institute leading the entire testing programme (the
National Building & Research Institute) have approached the project with
curiousity and openness.
They have also both agreed on inviting selected people to see the fire test
Included herein will be a crew from the National Broadcasting station, who
will also video-stream, thereby making the whole test available as a
video-sequence on www.dr.dk/halmhuset
A BD30 test on a non-loadbearing sb-wall with clay-plaster (3cm) on each
This will test, whether the construction is statically sound after 30 mins.
Ideally we wanted to make a test to failure-test, but being able to include
the two elements mentioned below, made us agree to this solution.
In the wall there are two different loadbearing wooden constructions.
Two ladders consisting of 25x100 mm "legs" are placed at a distance of 2
bales' length. They are minimum 5 cm from the front of the straw bale, on
either side. This is a system we think might be easily adaptable by
"conventional" carpenter-house bilders, soon to take over sb-building in
Two 100x100mm posts are placed in line with the exposed plaster face,
also placed at a distance of 2 bales' length, though shifted one bale-length
horizontally from the "ladders" in the wall.
We did not plaster behind the posts, neither did we use any conventional
detailing to prevent the plaster from shrinking away from the posts, thus
giving the fire access to the then exposed straw.
The reasoning behind this is, that the present law in Denmark considers
illegal any burnable insulation clad with a non-class-A cladding. Eg wood.
Performing this tests gives us at least two useable informations:
a) as the wood is only (hopefully also most of the time during the test)
exposed on one side, it will be possible to suggest, how to calculate the
dimensioning of wooden posts for this construction type. Thereby maybe
starting a discussion about whether it should be legal or not.
b) this is the system used by most self-builders in Denmark, and the test
reflects a "worst-case"-scenario, not having detailed against the expectable
As the value of a) disappears if the wood is gone, we have settled for the
Test 2 -
The second test is a "Cover-test" or "Cladding-test", testing whether the
cladding at hand can be considered a Class A cladding.
This is - as far as I know - only a required test in Scandinavia. The test
sample is to be placed horizontally, with the exposed side downwards,
measuring 2,44x2,44 meters.
The ever increasing temperature reaches 600oC when the test ends after 10
The cladding fails if 1) it cracks all the way through, or 2) any of the
insulation material has turned black.
Let alone the fact that the whole test-sample has to be moved from vertical
to horizontal by a big, not-so-gentle crane, makes this test rather
Another factor is the uncountable variables within "clay-plaster", making
this a sort of odd representative.
7280 Sdr. Felding
+45 2024 0505
From: the black range blackrange@...
Subject: Re: [strawbale] test-result
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2001 13:09:00 -0700
At 03:58 PM 3/1/01 +0100, you wrote:
and specially Denmark & Austria
If I remember well you have done officicial testing. I need fire-
resistance test results to negociate with the firebrigade. Are they
ready and how can I obtain them?? How much do they cost and
could I receive them on short term??
I wonder if you have the New Mexico fire test results, of a successful
2-hour SB test to ASTM standards... I could fax you the 5 or 7 pages if
you need them right away.
Also, a relatively new SB "Flame spread and Smoked developed fire test" was
done last year and the results are very good. These have just been posted
to the DCAT (Development Center for Appropriate Technology) website at:
www.dcat.net so you can download them if needed.
I don't know if the U.S. tests will be as good as some done in Europe, but
they may help.
Catherine Wanek, Editor
The Last Straw
The International Journal of Straw Bale & Natural Building
HC66, Box 119
Hillsboro, NM 88042
(505) 895-5400 /fax (505) 895-3326
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