The second edition of "Design Guidance to Separating Distances during Construction" – a designers guide to constructing timber frame buildings greater than 600m2 – was published on December 12 and is designed to build confidence in the use of large timber frame developments in urban areas.

It represents a further step by the timber frame industry to tackle the fire safety concerns in the wake of several major timber construction fires over recent years.

Timber wall systems that successfully came through the testing are EBS elk (pre-insulated with pre-clad wall panels); Innovare (structural insulated panel with pre-fitted over-clad lining); Kingspan TEK (structural insulated panel with pre-fitted over-clad lining); Stewart Milne’s Sigma insulated timber frame system; and the Val-U-Therm pre-insulated and pre-clad wall panel system.

Intelligent Wood Systems’ FR+ (from Series 1 testing) and Osmose’s Protim Frameguard fire retardant treatment on floor joists, decking, timber framing and sheathing applications were already listed on the UKTFA website as approved to support the SiteSafe scheme.

The UKTFA said several other timber frame systems were unsuccessful.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) welcomed the revised guidance.

"This guidance allows a sensible assessment to be made of specific proposals and sites at the earliest design stages to ensure that effective precautions can be taken to protect all stages of construction," said Philip White, HSE chief inspector of construction.

"HSE will continue to work with UKTFA on this issue but in the meantime commends this guidance to the industry."

"The second edition guidance should sit on the desk of every architect involved in the design of sustainable buildings in urban and high density areas," said Paul Newman, technical director of the UKTFA.

"Without question, timber frame construction is gaining huge traction in the delivery of low carbon construction because of the significant thermal performance benefits of the timber fabric.

"The publication of this updated guidance, the proven programme advantages and cost certainty of timber frame alongside its unrivalled sustainability credentials mean that the industry is in great shape to see continued growth."

Mr Newman said the next stage would be to try and get a third party certification scheme to come on board, as the UKTFA’s primary role was as a trade association and not to certify products.