Segezha Group and Etalon Group have initiated the testing of CLT panels in preparation for introducing amendments into Construction Norms and Regulations

Segezha Group and Etalon Group (part of Sistema JSFC) have initiated the process of introducing amendments to current regulations adopted in the Russian Federation for coordination procedures in construction of administrative and apartment buildings with use of wooden structures, as well as for launching field tests of these structures.
The meeting of the expert community to discuss these issues took place in the All-Russian Research and Development Institute of Fire Defense of the Emergency Management Agency of the Russian Federation in July. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Association of Wooden House Construction, NORT NPO, specialists of Kucherenko Central Research and Development Institute (TSNIISK), the All-Russian Research and Development Institute of Fire Defense of the Emergency Management Agency of the Russian Federation, and the Federal Chamber of the Fire and Rescue Service.
During the discussion of scientific research and experimental development works (R&EDW) for broad application of wooden panels (in particular CLT panels), the participants discussed the opportunity of modeling the conditions of fire during the outside testing of the building constructed with use of CLT. The participants of the meeting agreed to prepare an R&D roadmap within the next two to three months, both for outside fire safety tests and for verification of load-bearing capacities of framework structures, walls and ceiling slabs of multi-storey buildings made with use of CLT panels. This work should result in development of specific proposals for amending construction codes and regulations, which will allow to expand the scope of application of modern wooden structures in construction of houses with 8 floors and taller. In the future the initiators of the meeting plan to continue working together in the format of a working group.
“In general, wooden structures, including CLT panels, have great fire resistance qualities, while also maintaining excellent load-bearing capacity and integrity. Multi-storey buildings of the future built with CLT panels must correspond to K0 or K1 fire hazard class,” said Dmitry Rudenko, Vice President of Segezha Group, Head of the Housing Construction division. According to him, metal structures quickly lose their carrying capacity when heated. Concrete as a construction material also has problems with long-term fire exposure. Moreover, current fire safety requirements in Russia and Europe are different, and no tests have been done on new materials – such as CLT panels.
“We are planning to conduct outside tests to allow specialists in the field of fire safety and researchers in the field of building structure to make their conclusions. After we receive our first results, we will jointly initiate amendments to the existing construction codes and regulations. We hope this will help eliminate many obstacles on the way to widespread use of new structures in Russia,” Dmitry Rudenko said.
As previously reported, construction of a plant for production of CLT panels,  a cutting-edge engineering material for wooden housing construction, was launched in Sokol, Vologda Region, on June 25, 2019. A total of RUB 3 billion in investments will be spent on the new plant, located on the grounds of Sokolsky Woodworking Plant JSC – the leader in the production of pre-fabricated housing and building structures made of laminated timber. The capacity of the future enterprise will amount to 250,000 square meters of products per year. The first test panels are expected to be produced in November 2020. By January 2021 the plant will commence large-scale production and start entering the market. By order of the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, the project of Sokol CLT LLC “Construction of the Plant for Production of Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) in Sokol” has been included in the list of priority investment projects in the field of forest development industry.
“The equipment is already being manufactured, deliveries will begin at the beginning of next year. The initial batches will be exported, but by that time we expect the Russian construction rules in their new version to be already adopted,” said Mikhail Shamolin, President of the Segezha Group, at the symbolic startup ceremony for the new company asset.
    The importance of further development of wooden housing construction on the Moscow real estate market was also noted by Maksim Berlovich, head of the Moscow Territorial Division of Etalon Group. “I should like to hope that within the next decade the construction of houses with use of CLT panels will become an integral part of the housing construction industry and will form one of the fastest growing segments on the Russian market of construction materials.”
CLT technologies, which are already being actively used in foreign countries, can be applied in apartment buildings and individual houses, and industrial and social facilities with 10+ floors. After the launch of Segezha Group's plant in Vologda Region, working with other partners in Sistema JSFC, Etalon Group plans to develop projects for construction of several multi-storey buildings of various functions in Moscow.