The semi-completed £20m timber-framed GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry for the University of Nottingham that was has destroyed by fire had been treated against the spread of flames, but did not incorporate a fire suppression sprinkler system. In fact, there were no plans to install a suppression system even when the building was complete, relying on 30-minute fire resistance to allow for evacuation.
The building was constructed using engineered timber beams, columns and laminated timber panels, and was designed to be carbon-neutral after 25 years with a BREEAM Outstanding energy performance. The design incorporated 200 mm-thick cross-laminated timber wall and floor panels manufactured in Austria and glued laminated timber beams and columns from Germany.
The fire is sure to rekindle concerns about fire safety in buildings under construction and the fire performance of timber buildings.