Fire safety meets style in new Liverpool Materials Lab

Fire safety meets style in new Liverpool Materials Lab

The construction industry is undertaking a dramatic U-turn as sustainable specification comes to the fore, with a growing ambition to build with timber. As such, from 2000 to 2020, global timber consumption has increased by 1.1% per year.

While timber is more sustainable than steel or concrete, one of the key barriers is the concern that wood burns. This view is beginning to change as new innovations in improved fire protection for timber mean industry professionals are becoming more willing to consider it along with other standard materials. This uptick in timber specification for structural purposes has been enabled by better training regarding the use of timber in construction and improved knowledge.

Sustainability-focused retail company, All the Shapes Tile & Co (ATS), is helping to influence this change in attitude, by focusing on fire-safe timber construction at a new site in the heart of Liverpool. To achieve this goal, the impressive 9000sq ft ‘Materials Lab’, which serves as ATS’s main showroom, will feature attractive and safe display areas, built using MEDITE SMARTPLY’s innovative SMARTPLY MAX FR B panels, powered by Zeroignition (Zi).

Not only will these fire-resistant wooden structures protect the hard work of company director James Lambert, they’ll also protect the many customers and workers on site whilst delivering the style and sophistication synonymous with ATS.

The build
This ambitious project will see the entire interior clad with SMARTPLY MAX FR B, integrated with Zeroignition non-toxic flame-retardant solution, as well as a new partition wall using the same material, to separate the warehouse storage space and the showroom.

Importantly, this will help to provide an attractive aesthetic while delivering effective protection against fire damage.

Almost two hundred 18mm boards of SMARTPLY MAX FR B were specified on the project, covering a sizeable area of 540m2, providing essential strength, moisture-resistance and fire-retardant properties.

The Zeroignition solution, crucial to making the material fire retardant, is applied to the wood-based panels during manufacture, ensuring the timber is protected throughout the entire depth of the panel, not just the surface layer.

Under the European standard EN13501-1, the resilient panels have an impressive reaction to fire classification of B-s2, d0 and bfl-s1 (flooring). Thus, they not only have a very limited contribution to fire, but contractors and architects can also easily specify the materials for projects.

SMARTPLY MAX FR B panels are incredibly versatile with almost endless design potential.

This high-performance material utilises moisture resistant OSB/3 engineered wood panels, suitable for a range of free-standing applications in dry, wet and humid conditions. Providing integral strength and resistance to both fire and water, uses extend to flooring, roofing and wall sheathing.

Furthermore, a core feature of Zeroignition’s fire retardant solution is its non-toxic property, making it perfect for commercial and retail settings. The panels used for the ATS site have been produced using FSC certified timber with no added formaldehyde and are fully CARB2 compliant. In addition to being fire safe, these materials are more environmentally friendly and risk fewer health hazards.

Delighted with the results of working with SMARTPLY MAX FR B, powered by Zeroignition, James has described the panels as “an excellent product to work with”, elaborating to say that ATS is “very pleased with the result to far”.

Building a safer future
Commenting on the project, Ian King, Zeroignition COO, says: “It is promising to see fire safety prioritised within new regeneration projects such as the ATS site. We are pleased to see timber is, once again, becoming a more popular choice of material in the construction industry too, particularly in commercial and retail applications.

He concludes, “We are huge advocates for timber construction and it is time to address the barriers surrounding fire safety. The journey to creating a fire retardant product as robust as this has taken years of research, development and extensive testing, but it’s a small price to pay for safety.”

Find more information about MEDITE SMARTPLY MAX FR B here:


Fire safety meets style in new Liverpool Materials Lab