Lonza wood’s products have been utilised in the design of a Netherlands parking facility

Timber cladding is a beautiful, natural material for creating warm and stunning appearances for new-build projects. However, local Building Regulations will often require an approved and effective fire retardant protection to the claddings to ensure a safe service life, particularly for public access buildings.

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his was the case in the Noorderhaven district of Zutphen in the Netherlands, where MoederscheimMoonen Architects was designing a new garage parking facility for the Dutch National Railways. The design references the historic warehouses and the old industries of the city of Zutphen and is located in a former industrial zone next to the centre, the railway and the river IJssel. The building, with a total floor space of 12,780m², has 375 parking spaces and storage for over 600 bicycles. The design, which incorporates two visually exciting corkscrew ramps that are used as an entrance and exit, is lifted by galvanised columns as a reference to the former industrial character of the area. This open plinth maximises daylight on the ground floor.

The facades of the upper floors are then finished with SafeWood Select, a unique product from Foreco in Dalfsen. A maintenance-free fire retardant treatment is industrially applied to provide a long-term surface spread of flame protection to the cladding timbers even in exterior applications such as this. The stylish pine cladding struts provide plenty of natural light into the structure.

Around 40,000 linear metres of these timbers were supplied by Foreco of Dalfsen, which arranged the industrial application of NON-COM Exterior fire treatment from Lonza Wood Protection. NON-COM Exterior is a tried, tested and proven fire protection for timber, designed specifically for external projects and is fully in-line with NHBC standards for exterior timber cladding on new-build projects.

The treatment involves a carefully-controlled pressure application of the leach-resistant NON-COM Exterior polymer-based fire retardant, followed by kiln-drying and heat curing to provide a highly effective surface spread of flame protection in the event of a fire.

The treatment provides a one-off, permanent protection with no need for ongoing fire protection maintenance. The treatment is designed to be used on a wide range of timber species, leaving the treated timbers with a natural finish. The cladding struts on the building are mounted in different directions and intermixed with red steel strips. Between the struts there is also vertical LED lighting. The interior of the garage meets the highest requirements of the ESPA, the European Standard Parking Award. The garage is also designed so that it can be easily expanded in the future with an additional layer.

KlaasJan Swager of Foreco commented: “SafeWood Select is a front runner in the development of new modification techniques to give timber an assured fire protection. This treatment offers proven, maintenance-free fire retardant properties. The material can be applied to cladding projects without risks and the lack of maintenance requirements provides real financial benefits in the long term. Besides that, it offers insurance companies and fire services a warranty that the timber is in accordance with the Construction Products Regulations. The timber we used is European pine from sustainable, managed forests and once treated it creates a high-quality and sustainable alternative for inflammable cladding materials.”

Mike Smith of Lonza commented: “Our NON-COM Exterior fire retardant technology has been used for over 40 years on major cladding design projects around the world. The assured fire protection it brings gives architects, designers and the eventual end-users of the building real confidence that the choice of timber is a beautiful, warm and high-performance material choice.”

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