Fire regulations with timber roof trusses
Bodies such as the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) have set building regulations in place, after much research and consultation with the industry experts, they make sure to consider all aspects of a given building material’s composition and properties in order to ensure that it will meet the same performance and safety standard as all the other building material in the same application.
The following is the fire regulations relating to the timber roof trusses:
Situated on each side of a fire wall, each unit needs to have its own bracing system within the roof structure, regardless of a fire wall protecting above the roof covering or not. It is not stated in the fire regulations what the size the permissible gap between the timber members bearing on either side of the fire wall should be. t does however state that the trusses which are passing through a fire wall need to be split into separate trusses.
As stated in the regulation: “No part of the roof assembly, made of wood or any other combustible material shall pass through the separating wall”
There may also not be any tile underlay or insulation passing over the fire wall.
The regulations governing timber construction in South Africa are not decided by the Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA), however, as part of its endeavors to protect and promote the industry, the general public and its players, it disseminates and interprets them. It is the responsibility of every player involved, from the inspection to the manufacturer of timber roof trusses to ensure that the regulations are enforced; even the engineers who are signing off on a non-compliant roof structure could be put to task by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).
Walter Burdzik who is from the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Pretoria has confirmed that any future roof inspector or truss plant should insist on the separation of roofs per fire regulations will need to be reported to the ITC-SA. The same type of principles will apply to something like low-cost housing; just because the roof is covering a low-cost house doesn’t mean that we should deviate from the National Building Regulations. This is why the Institute is urging all responsible along the timber roof truss value chain to do their part and ensure that they are acting in accordance with both the National Building Regulations.
Visit the Gautruss website to find out more about our timber roof truss manufacturing.