“Fire Resistance” means the ability of a building component to resist a fully developed fire, while still performing its function. Fire resistance in the form of a fire rating, can be applied only to a total building element, a product cannot be fire rated.
- Concrete. Concrete is one of the most common building materials, and also an excellent fire-resistant material. It is non-combustible and has low thermal conductivity, meaning that it takes a long time for fire to affect its structural, load-bearing ability, and it protects from the spread of fire. It’s actually significantly more fire-resistant than steel, and often used to reinforce and protect steel from fire.
- Glass. To protect your house, consider installing fire-resistant windows. One example is dual-paned glass windows, which, in addition to providing energy efficiency, also double the time it would take for fire to break the windows. The outer layer will break first before the inner layer. Tempered glass, which is heat-treated to make it about four times stronger than regular glass, is also effective.
- Bricks. As bricks are made in a fire kiln, they’re already highly resistant to fire. However, it’s true that individual bricks are much more fire-resistant than a brick wall. A brick wall is held together with mortar, which is less effective. Nevertheless, brick is commonly cited as among the best building materials for fire protection. Depending on the construction and thickness of the wall, a brick wall can achieve a 1-hour to 4-hour fire-resistance rating.
- Fire Retardant plywood. Plywood is suitable as a material used in fire resistance components or structures providing it is combined with other materials so as to meet the fire resistant requirements. This can be achieved chemically, however the usual method is to combine plywood with non-combustible materials such as fibrous-cement or fire grade plasterboard. There are 3 categories for plywood used in constructions : Floor Materials and Coverings; Wall and Ceiling Linings; and Other materials.
There is a very special Fire Retardant Birch Plywood made from birch veneers impregnated with fire-retardant agent. Plywood conforms to fire Group 3 in accordance with specification A2.4 of the Building Code of Australia. The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures throughout Australia. The BCA includes a section on Fire Resistance, and designers and builders must ensure that their constructions satisfy this section.
Fire Retardant Birch Plywood is applicable for ceilings, walls and flooring in residential, commercial and public buildings (schools, hospitals, offices, etc.), vehicles, ships and carriages where fire-retardant materials are required.
So, although some materials are more fire-resistant than others, several factors might influence a builder’s decision, including cost effectiveness, ease of installation and climate.