The aspect of fire resistance is one of the most sensitive aspects affiliated with wooden buildings and represents one of the major problems which hamper its use in the building sector. For the public, the assumption that wood burns easily and is thus less safe than other building materials is one of the first issues they face when deciding whether or not to buy a wooden house.
The fire test on a three-storey SOFIE building carried out in March at the Building Research Institute in Tsukuba in Japan has shown that this building type can survive a blast of one hour maintaining its mechanical properties and structural integrity, thus never endangering its inhabitants and showing capacities absolutely comparable to those of concrete or brick buildings. For the test, one room was filled with mattresses and furniture which was then lighted with petrol. The flames spread within the room until reaching the ceiling, but the other rooms remained untouched and the load-bearing structures of the building were only marginally touched. A result expected by the researchers and adepts of the sector who know perfectly well that a building with a load-bearing system made of wood, designed and realised according to the state-of-the-art, has no higher fire risk than other buildings.