[GSBN] Strawbale Classroom in Cork Ireland (Fire Resistance) (+SB code)
oasis at oasisdesign.net
Thu Mar 15 17:26:50 CDT 2012
Thanks, Martin---that is very helpful for letting us know where we
The estimate as to where we stand reality-wise is also appreciated. I
could not, however find "Type V-A" or "Type V, 1hr" in my Rosetta
Stone---might you be able to equate it with one of the rows in that table?
Do you have any specs on your piercing CO2 nozzle device? For this
project it might make sense to have one on hand as part of the fire
Hats off, Derek...I will incorporate these straw-bale specific
considerations in the overall fire safety plan.
On 3/15/12 3:12 PM, Derek Roff wrote:
> While it isn't a direct answer to your questions, Art and Tom, there
> are three factors that make strawbale buildings a little different
> than most structures, in the case of fire. 1) While plastered
> strawbale walls are quite fire resistant, they comprise a
> super-insultated envelope that, in the case of a significant fire
> inside the building, can result in much higher internal temperatures
> than would occur in a similar fire within a less-well insulated and
> less robust building, such as a stick-framed or steel-framed
> residence. 2) Due to the insulative properties, and the dense, thick,
> low-oxygen interior of the walls, smoldering hot spots can be created
> inside a strawbale wall exposed to a significant fire. These hot
> spots can last for a long time after the initial fire is extinguished.
> They may be hard to locate, and if not dealt with, could possibly be
> the source for ignition of subsequent fires. 3) Few firefighters have
> any experience with putting out a fire in a strawbale building. This
> may lead to using techniques which are less effective for strawbale
> structures, unnecessary destruction of the walls, the possibility of
> turning the fire-resistant plastered walls into an additional fuel
> source, by breaching the walls and breaking them up, scattering and
> decompressing the straw bales.
> A few years ago, Martin was working with a person very experienced in
> fire fighting techniques and technology. This led, among other
> things, to a prototype device that could be carried by firefighters,
> which used a piercing nozzle to make small holes in the plaster, and
> then inject liquid carbon dioxide into the wall at strategic locations
> to suppress fire and extinguish hot spots within strawbale walls.
> Perhaps Martin can update us on what advances he is aware of,
> relating to firefighting in SB structures.
> Derek Roff
> derek at unm.edu <mailto:derek at unm.edu>
> On Mar 15, 2012, at 2:50 PM, Oasis Design wrote:
> Hi Art,
> In the recently proposed SB code, I use the following language:
> *2407.4 Type of construction. *Buildings or portions thereof
> utilizing strawbale walls in accordance with this chapter shall be
> classified as Type V-B construction.* *Strawbale walls constructed in
> compliance with Section 2407.1.1 or 2407.1.2 shall be permitted
> wherever combustible walls of the same fire-resistance are allowed by
> Chapter 6 of the /International Buildlng Code/. Strawbale walls with
> any finish allowed by this chapter shall be permitted wherever
> non-rated combustible walls are allowed by the /International Building
> Sections 2407.1.1 and .2 refer to tested assemblies that have
> fire-resistance ratings of 1-hour and 2-hour. There currently is no
> stated type of construction for strawbale in any code** that I'm aware
> of. What I'm proposing, and what I believe any building official
> would say until a code says otherwise, is that SB construction is Type
> V-B (i.e., Type V, unrated).
> **However, in California, the current HS18944 Guidelines for
> Straw-Bale Structures says "(a) Straw-bale walls, when covered with
> plaster, drywall, or stucco, shall be deemed to have the equivalent
> fire resistive rating as wood-frame construction with the same
> wall-finishing system."
> Wood frame constructino covered with those materials (depending on
> specifications) is Type V-A (i.e., Type V, 1hr.). What HS18944 says
> is not the same as saying strawbale is Type V-A , but if you accept
> what it does say, it's not a big leap to get there.
> The safe thing for your purposes is to say strawbale construction is
> Type V-B. But I believe plastered strawbale walls and buildings
> actually perform more than well enough to be considered Type V-A. In
> the long run that's where I think it will land, but I'm taking it
> incrementally, calling it unrated for now except for the assemblies
> that were tested. For the vast majority of strawbale applications,
> there is no need for a type of construction that is 1-hour. If needed
> a case could be made for a specific project and jurisdiction.
> I hope this helps.
>> I'm working on the hydrant water supply as part of the integrated
>> design for a project with at least two straw bale buildings. The
>> required hydrant flow in this jurisdiction is determined by the
>> Insurance Service Office procedure for needed fire flow
>> Can anyone help me figure out the Construction Class number for earth
>> plastered straw bale for purposes of this calculation?
>> Here's a table from the document linked above that is sort of a
>> Rosetta Stone for translating amongst the various standards that you
>> all might be familiar with:
>> <Picture 23.png>
>> This calculation is non-critical; we can get it to work with ISO
>> class 1 (the worst) but I feel like we'd have more credibility if we
>> had an idea what actual class the building fit in...
>> On 3/15/12 1:24 PM, martin hammer wrote:
>>> Tom -
>>> First a note re: the second EBNet link Derek listed. This is the
>>> repository page for all supporting documentation for the proposed
>>> Strawbale Construction chapter of the International Building Code.
>>> It includes the 2006 ASTM fire tests reports and the fire test
>>> video. It also includes the other documents that support the
>>> proposed SB code, as well as the proposed chapter and appendix as
>>> published by ICC on March 13. (note, ICC did not include a few
>>> final revisions I requested, for example potentially allowing baled
>>> materials other than the 5 cereal straws. But I will pursue
>>> including them in the longer review process.)
>>> In addition to the excellent 2006 fire tests conducted by D.
>>> Eisenberg, B. King, and B. Obregon of this list, there is the
>>> excellent 2004 German fire test by FASBA and Dirk Scharmer (of this
>>> list). Here is a summary of this test by Dietmar Lorenz (of Dan
>>> Smith's office) from the Fall 2006 Last Straw:
>>> "A major step toward Code recognition was accomplished in February
>>> 2006 with the General Approval ("Allgemeine bauaufsichtliche
>>> Zulassung" or AbZ) of "Construction Straw Bales" as insulating
>>> infill within certain wall assemblies. As part of the application
>>> the Fachverband Strohballenbau had to show compliance with the
>>> following criteria:
>>> 1. Flammability:
>>> In a standardized test straw passed as "Normalentflammbar B2", i.e.
>>> it is not considered an easily flammable material, but of normal or
>>> regular risk regarding combustion and flame spread.
>>> 2. Fire Resistance:
>>> An unplastered 18" wide bale wall was tested to achieve 30-minute
>>> fire resistance (F-30), and 90-minute fire resistance (F-90) with 3
>>> cm of earth plaster on each side. A minimum of F-30 is required,
>>> except in single-family residences with at least 5m of separation
>>> from adjacent structures. Fire resistance is technically not part of
>>> the AbZ, but included as a general prerequisite."
>>> You can go to www.fasba.de (click on English) and you can find a
>>> link to the fire test (in German) and see a poster on SB Fire
>>> Resistance that gives a good summary.
>>> On 3/15/12 10:33 AM, "Derek Roff" <derek at unm.edu
>>> <x-msg://email@example.com>> wrote:
>>> Seeing the videos of fire tests may be useful in convincing the
>>> council, in appealing to the "seeing is believing" tendency of
>>> our brains. Catherine Wanek documented the New Mexico fire test
>>> in the 90's, and could probably send you a copy of the video.
>>> Bruce King has a 10-minute video on his website of the fire
>>> test done a few years ago in Texas.
>>> There are many other useful documents on Bruce's site, including
>>> PDFs of the ASTM testing reports for the one-hour and two-hour
>>> fire tests. Scroll down to Fire Resistance on this page:
>>> Good luck,
>>> Derek Roff
>>> derek at unm.edu <x-msg://firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>> On Mar 13, 2012, at 4:03 AM, Tom Woolley wrote:
>>> Dear friends
>>> here is the old chestnut about strawbale and fire!
>>> I would be most grateful if anyone willing to help with this
>>> could email Alan Wiseman directly
>>> I am sure that Alan is aware that properly plastered
>>> strawbale walls are not a fire risk,
>>> however he needs some official looking documents to give to
>>> his local authority to convince them to issue a fire certificate
>>> The situation in Ireland is different from the UK ...
>>> we were able to convince building control in Northern
>>> Ireland that we complied with one of the US Building Codes
>>> and that was sufficient to get approval!
>>> Irish Regs
>>> many thanks to anyone who can assist
>>> Tom Woolley
>>> Begin forwarded message:
>>> *From: *alan wiseman <wisemandesigns at gmail.com
>>> *Date: *13 March 2012 09:46:47 GMT
>>> *To: *<tom.woolley at btconnect.com
>>> *Subject: Strawbale Classroom
>>> Dear Tom,
>>> I have received planning permission for a strawbale
>>> classroom .This is located in a built up area, next to a
>>> large block creche on one side and 2m away from a
>>> dwelling on the other side, a couples of miles from Cork
>>> city. But now comes the awkward part. As it is a
>>> commercial building we need to get a Fire Certificate
>>> This will be difficult as there is no precedent here in
>>> Ireland for this (there are plenty of structures, mainly
>>> dwellings, as you are aware, but none commercial that
>>> needed a Fire Safety Certificate).
>>> I am aware of commercial structures in the UK that have
>>> been built with strawbales.I would like to find out how
>>> they managed to persuade the fire department. I have
>>> test results from North America but precedents in
>>> Europe, particularly in the UK would better strengthen
>>> our case. I am hoping you might have some insight or
>>> indeed contact on this. Any help is greatly appreciated.
>>> Thanking you.
>>> Kind regards,
>>> 13 Amberley Lawn
>>> Tel: 021 489 99 79
>>> Mob: 086 877 6564
>>> www.wisemandesigns.net <http://www.wisemandesigns.net/>
>>> Tom Woolley
>>> Rachel Bevan Architects
>>> 80 Church Road
>>> BT30 9HR
>>> tom.woolley at btconnect.com
>>> 028 44 830988
>>> www.bevanarchitects.com <http://www.bevanarchitects.com/>
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