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Gordon Ewbank introduces our Specification Guide to Flame Retardant Panels

  • 04.11.2020-
  • Gordon Ewbank

I’ve been a lifetime advocate for the use and creative development of wood and wood-based products in the construction sector. The flexibility of wood and its environmental credentials are second to none. However, the performance of timber-based products in fire is a question that needs to be clearly and professionally addressed, particularly in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy and the subsequent Hackitt review. The UK government’s response to that review – Building a Safer Future – sets out the need for enhanced enforcement standards but also the importance of effective training, sound product knowledge and of course product innovation, independent testing and verifiable certification.

Training, innovation and certification are, of course, largely the responsibility of industry and on each of these I’m pleased to see that MEDITE SMARTPLY are setting the bar high through their responsible and professional approach to customer and supply chain education, along with third party accreditation of their product credentials.

The team at WPA often gets asked to keep our guidance simple and accessible and we always try to do that. However, the flame retardant enhancement of wood based products is a technical topic - there is no escaping that – and specifiers, distributors and users of these products have a duty of care to understand what it is they are buying and selling on down the chain. With regulatory controls on these safety critical materials increasing, to do anything else is simply irresponsible and raises issues of professional liability.

With all that in mind, I am delighted to endorse this MEDITE SMARTPLY Guide and applaud their efforts to address this shortfall in understanding and promote quality. I hope others will be inspired to follow their lead.

Gordon Ewbank
Chief Executive Officer
UK Wood Protection Association