Innovations - 16.09.2022

«Wood offers many advantages»

Discover the benefits of this new product for architects, clients and planners in an interview with fire protection specialist Marcel Lutz from Gantenbein + Partner AG in St. Gallen. 

Mr Lutz, as a fire protection specialist and construction manager, you know the challenges of safe construction from different perspectives. What are the biggest challenges in your everyday life?

Marcel Lutz: As a fire protection specialist, communication with the client is often challenging. On the one hand, the objective is to keep costs low, and on the other hand the fire protection aspect is often not planned in detail until it is too late. Any project must, without fail, comply with fire protection standards, but the later a fire protection specialist is involved, the more complicated the planning process becomes.

What are your responsibilities as a fire protection specialist?

A fire protection specialist is responsible for quality assurance with regard to fire protection and ensures that the framework conditions specified in the fire protection guidelines are adhered to.

Fire protection guidelines are likely to be particularly comprehensive for projects using wood as a building material.

In terms of fire protection, building with wood is of course always particularly challenging. For escape route surfaces, for example, Switzerland generally applies the standard RF1 – ‘non-combustible’. This is more difficult to achieve with wood than with solid masonry construction. Customised solutions that are only implemented retrospectively on the building site are even more complex. As a general rule, important details must be taken into account when it comes to fire protection.

Akustik & Raum AG, who have already successfully implemented projects with you, are now launching the FeinMicro Secure fire protection solution, which has been tested by the association. What do you think about the new possibilities this opens up with wood as a building material?

Wooden acoustic elements that meet the Swiss fire protection standard RF1 and also the highest EU standards open up exciting possibilities in the planning and execution of new buildings. This solution enables, for example, escape routes that fit seamlessly into the architecture of the building. In addition to safety aspects, this also offers aesthetic and planning advantages: Until now, a change of material for escape routes required an additional interface and an additional contact person at the construction site. A complete solution for interiors and escape routes eliminates this constraint – a welcome change. 

In your opinion, what are the biggest advantages of using wood in construction?

It is a pleasure to work with wood. Wood is a renewable material and offers many advantages in architecture. Wood is the first choice when the work has to be accurate down to the millimetre. Tolerances in solid masonry construction are one or several centimetres, depending on the length. Wood allows you not only to plan with precision, but also to construct it that way. When everything fits, it is a pleasure for observers as well. 

For which project did you collaborate with Akustik & Raum AG?

We worked with Akustik & Raum AG to fully line a 360° cinema with acoustic elements for the visitor exhibition of a company in Appenzell Ausserrhoden. We found ideal solutions despite the challenging conditions. The space was a two-storey room with around 40 windows, which had to meet the same visual requirements as the walls. Akustik & Raum AG produced shutters with the same look as the acoustic elements – an individually tailored solution for the customer. The 360° cinema was opened in the summer of 2021. 

FeinMicro Secure

The innovative FeinMicro Secure fire protection solution offers planners, architects and consumers new design freedom. Due to the fulfilment of the strictest EU standards (EN 13501-1, A2 – s1, d0), wood can be used safely as a building material as never before. Experience room acoustics in a new way and feel free to contact us for more information.