Massive Timber

A tool to assist insurers elicit the information they need to ascertain the insurability of high rise massive timber frame (MTF) buildings.

The construction of tall buildings using MTF methods could be considered to be occurring ahead of the necessary research to assure their safety and survivability against fire, and other perils such as escape of water. The key drivers for MTF are reported as being low construction cost and good sustainability credentials. Wood-for-Good, a UK lobbying group for the timber industry, is seeking WoodFirst legislation for all publicly funded new-build and refurbishment projects.

RISCAuthority was asked to consider what contribution it might make to assist its membership in understanding and engaging with this emerging building method. RISCAuthority questionnaires have proved a valuable tool for insurers where a lack of pedigree exists in terms of use experience and supporting standards, and particularly where there is a lack of understanding of the insurer perspective.

IQ6 seeks to discover information that could be useful in engaging with insurers and focusses on the known sensitivities of wood as a structural building material to the insurance perils of fire, and water exposure.

The questionnaire has been developed by insurers through the RISCAuthority scheme. It is important to understand that ‘compliance’ with building codes is the assumed starting point (covering life safety) - the questions herein ask for details of the consideration given to the protection of the building and the business(es) conducted within it, and the mitigations proposed together with supporting evidence. The metrics that insurers will use to consider the responses is also given to assist with interpretation.

You can download the document here.