Fire Protection, Structural Strength and Adaptability

Structural fire safety is achieved either by what is called ‘passive protection’ for example fire resistant lining boards and/or ‘active protection’ through the use of smoke ventilation, alarm systems and sprinklers. For the structural engineer, the material choice within the structural solution will influence the passive and active fire protection strategy.

Ian Quinton, Managing Director of RCM – suppliers of building boards and facade solutions to such high profile structural timber developments as the University of Hertfordshire, discusses the benefits of RCM’s solutions relating to fire regulations and technical specifications for structural timber buildings:


“The Structural timber association recently published the document – 16 Steps to Fire Safety. The document states that structural timber construction processes can reduce the risk of fire through good design, taking simple precautions and ensuring good site security. It is proven that robust timber structures perform well in relation to fire by slowly forming a char layer and in the case of cross laminated timber, the structure can remain stable for up to 90 minutes. However, less robust timber is generally protected by fire-rated boards and great care needs to be taken on the detailing of this.

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A1 Non-Combustible

RCM’s Y-Wall is an adaptable calcium silicate based fibre cement building board, offering excellent fire properties as well as high levels of dimensional stability. Y-Wall is used as a fire rated sheathing board and is applied extensively on both metal and timber frame structures, the product is applied behind all types of facade solutions, as well in floors and roofs.  

Y-Wall is rated as A1 non-combustible – this refers to reaction-to-fire classifications for contribution to fire growth in accordance with – BS EN 13501-1. Y-Wall has also been tested within the new BS8414 test and is suitable for buildings over 18 metres

Product Testing and Certification

  • Y-Wall is tested to BS 476 Part 4
  • Y-Wall conforms to BS EN12467
  • Y-Wall tested by Warrington Fire research
  • Fire rated throughwall solution to BS 476 part 21 BS 476 part 22
  • Fire Rating A1 Non-Combustible Classification

CE Marking

In order to demonstrate that as a company RCM is totally committed to delivering proven systems, our product range is CE Marked. CE Marking ensures a product meets with European health, safety and environmental protection legislation. It is a manufacturer’s declaration that the product meets stringent standards and guarantees that it complies with essential requirements, for example, products dimensions, thermal performance and its reaction to fire classification.

RCM’s Y-Wall is also BBA approved. This offers full technical approval for construction products and systems and is recognised by building control, government departments, architects, local authorities, specifiers and building insurers. BBA Approval provides reassurance to architects, designers and contractors when specifying or installing building board products.


Multipurpose TF – Tried and Tested for Timber Applications

Tested by BRE Global, RCM’s new Multipurpose TF Board has been specifically designed for the structural timber sector. Rated, A1 Non-Combustible, Multipurpose TF is a cellulose fibre cement 8mm board, delivering exceptional racking, adaptability, strength and fire protection. Multipurpose TF also has excellent weather properties and is very easy in relation to cutting and fabrication.
Product Testing and Certification

  • Meets EN ISO 1716: 20101: Reaction to fire – determination of the heat of combustion
  • Meets EN ISO 1182: 2010: Reaction to fire – non-combustibility
  • Meets EN 13501-1:: 2007:   Classification of Reaction to fire – A1 Non-Combustible
  • BBA Certification Pending
  • EN594 Racking Resistance


Project Snapshot: University of Hertfordshire

RCM’s Y-Wall was specified by Bouygues and U-Living to apply to a student accommodation project for the University of Hertfordshire. The timber-frame buildings will be ‘one of the most advanced’ developments in the UK in terms of sustainability. The £190 million, 18,000m2 project comprises 2,511 bedrooms, new sports pitches, a campus gym, informal learning and social spaces as well as a new dedicated bus route. Y-Wall was specified due to its fire resistance performance and high levels of dimensional stability. The new buildings are set to achieve a ‘True’ Zero Carbon accreditation and meet BREEAM Outstanding requirements under the 2011 regulations.

And Finally…

 RCM are supplying many major projects within the timber frame and lightweight steel frame sectors. Our Y-Wall and Multipurpose TF boards are on an upward trajectory, experiencing excellent growth with more potential for the future.

 As Managing Director of RCM Building Boards and Facades, I would just like to stress that we are committed to developing products, applications and services to meet the needs of the structural timber sector and invest further in developing bespoke products. We would be interested to hear from companies who have specific building board requirements and are unable to source a solution.”

Informative CPD Events

For those interested in finding out more, RCM provide informative CPD sessions including: a guide to materials, applications and specification considerations for building boards, internal and external linings and rainscreen facades, covering:

  • What a specifier needs to consider
  • Board materials and benefits
  • Board applications
  • Work on site

For more details call 0845 1303725 or visit 




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