Aim: The aim of the paper is to expose methods which take into account load history for estimating the parameters of fire safety of wooden roofs made of solid wood, wood-based materials such as plywood or Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) products.

Introduction: Current standard for the design of timber structures, which are exposed to a fire EN 1995-1-2 [1] does not mention the impact of permanent and variable loads on the strength of wood elements. However, it is a vital factor for estimating the fire safety of wooden roofs exposed to variable loads of different intensity e.g. snow load.

Methodology: The author prepared snowfall data for Polish mountain regions [2-3], covering the last 50 years, from weather stations in Zakopane, Świeradów and Lesko. From the source data and with the aid of probabilistic techniques, statistical characteristics [4] were estimated for so-called “packages” [5] of snow such as: frequency, duration and maximum value of snow loads. Limit parameters were determined for the initial and final stage of timber carrying capacity. The Poisson, exponential, Gumbel probability functions were used to determine stochastic parameters of maximum snow loads. The effective reduction in mechanical properties of wood was determined with the use of JCSS methods [6].

Results: The reduction of mechanical properties of wood over time has an impact on the fire safety of structures. The reliability index falls over time and the probability of failure, caused by a fire, increases. Incorporation into calculations, at the design stage, of a reduction factor [7] increases the fire safety of timber structure roofs. The paper presents results from statistical calculations for snow loads in Polish mountain regions in the form of stochastic parameters for Poisson, exponential and Gumbel distributions. These parameters were used to describe changes in the strength of different materials used in the construction of wooden roofs, such as: solid wood, plywood, and LVL products.

Conclusions: The results from probabilistic calculations and graphs reveal that it is necessary to take into account the reduction of mechanical properties of timber elements caused by damage to wood micro-fibres. The methods and results presented in the article showed the need to consider the impact of permanent and variable loads on the safety of timber roofs in fire conditions.

Keywords: reliability, timber strength, safety margin, timber structures, fire safety

Type of article: original scientific article