‘Insurance Challenges of Massive and Mass Timber Construction’

Insurance Challenges of Mass Timber Construction White Paper

Dr. James Glockling

On Feb 2, 2022

Produced with input from 24 major UK insurers, the “Insurance Challenges of Massive Timber Construction and a possible way forward” white paper definitively describes the insurance challenges of massive timber construction to the perils of fire and water. If embraced at the point of the design, hopefully, it will result in buildings that are both sustainable and insurable, satisfying the requirements of all stakeholders.

The purpose of this document is to communicate the insurance challenges presented by massive timber construction, particularly the ambition to construct large multi-storey commercial, residential, and mixed-use buildings out of timber, and to suggest potential solutions where the provision of affordable insurance might be problematic.

The white paper also acknowledges that further research is needed on several areas related to massive timber construction, notably:

  • Aging of timber composite materials
  • Reaction to the water of timber composite materials
  • Reaction to fire of timber composite materials
  • Repairability of massive timber systems
  • Potential for disproportionate collapse and ‘topple’
  • Certification of materials, methods, and structural design codes
  • Suitability of local building codes
  • Certification method of green wall cladding systems
  • Sprinkler system standards for applications in bare wood ceiling compartments

That issue had always been at the back of my mind and known as a peril to mass timber construction. Joining mtc with MgO (magnesium oxide paneling) inside and out will protect the structures from rampant fire and water damage and minimize insurance challenges for such structures. MgO is non-combustible and is impervious to water damage far better than any building material on the market today, even those whose claims of this protection via chemical additives to wood based products.