M-Fire Holdings Is Out To Lower Risk On Tall Wood Structures From Fire

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M-Fire Holdings Is Out To Lower Risk On Tall Wood Structures From Fire

June 28, 2020 by Steve Conboy

Now, more than ever, additional fire protection is a new concern that showed up one month ago with all the political unrest now threatening to burn things down. Our job is to help the insurance companies lower their risk and investors risk by adding real applied fire science to the movements E119 raw lumber fire defense.

We have finally found fire officials see the same risk we do on mass timber high rise, where buildings under construction before drywall and sprinklers can add additional support in a fire. M-Fire Holdings President has been involved in mass timber since before the tall student housing structure was built. He tried to convince the builder to add additional fire protection when the first tall structure prototype was built at a wall panel plant he was working with. We have set out to defend the workers ever since the two workers died in a suspicious fire set midday in Denver. We also think the mass timber movement should consider defending the carbon stored in wood to support a REAL renewable sustainable approach to meet the demands for housing with wood.

Thank you Chief Adrian for your Thesis.

Thesis Advisor: Second Reader:
Carolyn Halladay Lauren Wollman
Adrian Bernard Sheppard, December 2017
Approved for public release.
Sustainability and Fire Mitigation

One example of a trend in high-rise construction with the potential to make high-rises more safe or less safe, depending on how it is approached, is the use of novel, more sustainable materials. The use of timber for high-rise construction is growing more popular and will likely continue to do so. This usage is obviously a cause for some concern, as wood is known for being a very combustible construction material. However, it is not necessarily the case that timber construction of high-rise buildings will make those buildings less fire-resistant.

In the case of timber supports for high-rises, a useful analogy can be drawn concerning the aforementioned insulated panels discussed previously. For high-rise buildings, partial or complete encapsulation of combustible building elements has long been recommended. The goal of encapsulation is to prevent any combustible elements from being exposed to oxygen and heat, which allows them to burn and contribute to the fire’s spread. In the case of insulated panels, this encapsulation takes the form of a very thin metal lamination. Recent research suggests that some laminated timber supports may be self-encapsulating, and that heavy timber frames may be sufficiently fire-resistant to be usable without other encapsulation.108

*Sufficiently thick laminated timber frames, when exposed to fire, will develop a thick layer of char that does not easily flake off the remaining wood. This layer of char prevents the remaining unburnt timber from being exposed to oxygen; moreover, the char is an excellent insulator that prevents the core of the timber frame from being exposed to sufficient heat to cause warping or a loss of structural integrity.

*Such timber frames are disanalogous to insulated panels in a key way; since the timber frames are inherently self-encapsulating, they are not as vulnerable to sabotage as insulated panels and other combustible materials that must be manually encapsulated to prevent them from contributing to building fires. An arsonist seeking to sabotage the previously described insulated panels could puncture the metal laminate covering them. An arsonist seeking to sabotage timber supports does not have the same option. This finding serves as an excellent example of one principle that the author draws from his review of the literature on regulatory mitigation of pyro-terrorism, sabotage resistance. Consideration of a design’s ordinary characteristics is insufficient to establish whether it is vulnerable to pyro-terrorism. An adequate analysis considers not just the level of vulnerability under optimal conditions but also the level of vulnerability when the attacker has had some level of prior access to the structure and has been able to sabotage it.

*However, timber frames may be vulnerable to arson in another way. When fires of a sufficiently high intensity are set, laminated timber can act to intensify rather than retard its spread.109 When the laminate that holds layers of timber together fails as a result of high heat, these layers fall apart, which prevents the encapsulation of lower layers and adds to the available fuel. This is not to say, necessarily, that laminated timber is unsuitable for buildings at high risk of arson or pyro-terrorism; rather, it is intended to highlight the importance of considering the worst possible scenarios for a given structure, component, or material to have a complete picture of a building’s fire-resistance.


Even more so than when evaluating a structure’s resistance to ordinary fires, a key consideration for mitigating the risk of arson, and especially pyro-terrorism, is structural robustness. Due to the extraordinary harms of high-rise collapse discussed previously, a natural goal of pyro-terrorists targeting tall buildings is to induce partial or total collapse. They will often be able to produce the conditions necessary for at least a localized structural failure, so structural redundancy and alternate load pathways are necessary to ensure continued structural integrity. It should not be difficult to understand the reason. A hallmark of intentional, as opposed to accidental, fires is that they occur in circumstances more conducive to major damage. For example, an intentional fire generally involves the use of accelerants intended to increase the heat of the fire, which causes some materials that may ordinarily subtract from the available fuel to instead contribute to the fire.

*By way of example, consider the laminated timber discussed earlier, which is in most cases, reasonably fire-retardant. Under ordinary circumstances—that is, when a fire is of an intensity that can reasonably be expected from an accidental fire—laminated timber does not catch fire as supposed. The outer layers of the timber do char but are held to the beam by the lamination, which prevents oxygen from reaching unburnt wood and acting as an insulator. Through the use of accelerants, however, a fire can be set that is hot enough to cause delamination that exposes deeper layers of the timber and causes the timber support to catch fire exactly as can be expected of untreated timber. Similarly, the laminated insulating panels described previously can be sabotaged in one room or one region of a building, which causes them to contribute to the growth of a fire. Since an arsonist is often able to defeat passive countermeasures like lamination, which produced very intense flames, it is impossible to be confident that an arsonist is not able to cause at least a local collapse. What is essential, therefore, is designing structures with sufficient robustness that a local collapse is not likely to progress into a complete collapse.

Under Construction Has More Risk Of Loss And Lives says Steve Conboy
*A related concern also arises of assessing whether special precautions are necessary to protect against pyro-terrorism while a building is under construction, which for several reasons is when they are most vulnerable.113 First, many of the more critical fire countermeasures (smoke alarms, automatic sprinkler systems, and so on) are not installed, or else are not operational, until a very late stage in the life cycle of a construction project. Second, the lower level of traffic in and around a building under construction makes it less likely that an arsonist is observed and intercepted before a fire can be set. Third, many of the more flammable components of a building are directly exposed while it is under construction.

M-Fire Holdings Releases Mass Timber Fire Defense AIA/GBC Approved Course for AEC Community

San Diego, CA — June 29, 2020 —
M-Fire Holdings LLC. announces immediate availability of “Defending Workers and the Carbon Stored in Wood from Fire.” This continuing education course offers important new technical information for the AEC community to assist in the design of taller wood buildings using mass-timber materials, including CLT.

Link to the new AIA/GBCI course:M-Fire Holdings Fire Defense

Providing Worker Safety While Defending Sequestered Carbon using Patented MFRT Treated Lumber for Mass Timber Layups.

Mass timber and CLT can be made both fire and mold proof with M Fire Holdings environmentally safe products. A key benefit of constructing with mass timber is that it effectively sequesters carbon stored in lumber, providing economic and engineering advantages over concrete and steel in a “Balanced Build” approach. This means the construction industry can act to reduce atmospheric Carbon dioxide by supporting reforestation to sequester more CO2. Using M Fire Holdings treated products ensures the carbon captured by wood will not be released back into the environment in the event of a fire because M-Fire Holdings treated lumber will not burn or rot.

A few years ago Mr.Conboy met with one of the main Architects in NYC who is behind this movement and told Conboy he was onto something but he could not be part of it because the movement thinks E119 is enough.

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