FIRE SAFETY / BMBI REPORT
New fire safety guidance issued on trussed rafter
ceiling constructions from Trussed Rafter Association
New ceiling construction guidance
has been published by the
Trussed Rafter Association
(TRA), which show fully tested
solutions for fi re safety in new homes
with trussed rafter roofs.
The TRA guidance provides builders
with design options to meet the fi re
resistance requirements for trussed rafter
ceiling constructions in individual homes.
When followed correctly, these
construction details are shown by test to
provide 30 minutes’ fi re resistance, in line
with European Standards (and therefore,
by default, the less onerous British
Nick Boulton, chief executive of
the TRA, said: “Health and safety, and
fi re safety in particular, is always on our
agenda. Two years ago, TRA members
moved away from older British Standard
design codes and committed to Eurocode
5 (EC5) design solutions for trussed rafter
products and metal web components.
Now with these fi re safety solutions,
we have again decided to test our
products against more rigorous European
requirements and move the industry
forward to a higher and safer standard.
“Obviously, it is up to the building
the TRA’s fi re
designer to decide which evidenced fi re
resistance solution is most appropriate
for the homes they are designing. But fi re
testing has become much more rigorous
since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, so we
decided to offer some additional fully
tested solutions that we know will meet
the current fi re resistance requirements
and boost safety in new homes.
“We are committed to educating the
sector on good practice and will continue
with our programme of testing for all
relevant products, so that we can stay
ahead when it comes to safety.”
Builders’ merchant sales bounce back in May
The latest fi gures from the May
Builders Merchant Building Index
(BMBI) report reveals a sharp rise
in sales as lockdown restrictions
ease and trades return to work.
Total builders’ merchants
value sales to roofers, builders
and contractors in May were
down -39.9% compared with
May 2019, refl ecting the cautious
re-opening of merchant branches
with many still operating a
restricted service. However, the
overall trading fi gures are a
signifi cant improvement on April
2020 sales (-76.3%).
All categories sold less, with
tools (-66.1%) and kitchens and
bathrooms (-62.7%) hit hardest
by the pandemic lockdown.
Heavy building materials, which
is the largest product category,
was down -39.0% year-on-year.
The biggest winner in May was
landscaping, with sales of this
seasonal category down just
-12.5% on May 2019.
With April sales at
unprecedented levels, May’s
partial recovery resulted in some
rafter constructions need to maintain
their structural integrity, load-bearing
capacity, and resistance to the transfer of
excessive heat across the roof structure.
The combination of these factors
determines the fi re resistance of the
fl oor or ceiling. Therefore, a series of fi re
resistance tests were commissioned by
the TRA to cover four design solutions for
trussed rafter ceilings in single occupancy
dwellings. These include options for
homes with more than one storey and
new homes with rooms in the roof.
standards. The construction solutions
proposed in the TRA guidance were
found to meet all the fi re resistance
requirements for the scenarios identifi ed
in the building regulations.
detailed in the TRA Technical Card,
including information on the truss type,
plasterboard, battens, insulation and
additional components. The details of the
fi re test and summary of supporting test
evidence is also provided for each.
highly unusual month-on-month
growth fi gures. Total merchant
value sales were 171.3% above
April 2020, with one less trading
day this month.
Five categories did better, led
by tools (+308%). Landscaping
sold 278.9% more than in April
and kitchens and bathrooms was
up by 210.7%. Heavy building
materials grew more slowly
(+157.6%). Average sales a day in
May across all merchants were
185.6% higher than in April.
Year-to-date sales in the fi rst
fi ve months of 2020 were 29.2%
down on January to May 2019,
with one less trading day this
year. Workwear and safetywear
(-2.7%) did best, boosted by
strong demand for PPE.
May’s BMBI index was 78.7.
With the exception of seasonal
category landscaping (152.5%),
all categories were well down.
Derrick McFarland, managing
director of Keystone Group UK
and BMBI’s expert for Steel
Lintels, said: “COVID-19 caused
unexpected and widespread
In the case of a house fi re, trussed
Fire tests were carried out to EN 1365-2
Four construction solutions are
disruption. While construction
is signifi cantly a£ ected,
government recognition of
the value of our sector to the
economy led to swift action in
April with the introduction of
new measures and guidelines for
safe working. So, from the end
of April we have seen a gradual
reopening of housebuilding sites
and merchant branches.
“The challenge now is survival,
and what the volumes will be this
year with new social distancing
rules. Productivity from
building sites, merchants and
manufacturers will be restricted
as we adopt these stringent
procedures to prevent the spread
of COVID-19 and avoid a spike.
“While the government has
its hands full, building enough
homes of the right quality,
attractiveness and energy
e¥ ciency is still a priority. It
may be di¥ cult to achieve the
same build numbers with social
distancing on-site, but there is
a housing shortage and Britain
needs well-insulated energye
¥ cient homes that look good.”
26 www.rcimag.co.uk August 2020