Following the £1.7m investment from its company ownership, HALT has launched a “groundbreaking”, non-toxic, fire-retardant treatment for timber.
The use of BURNBLOCK has the potential to massively increase safety throughout the industry, says HALT, whose technology is the first of its kind in Ireland.
The treatment effectively prevents oxygen from reaching treated timber, protecting it from combustion and removing the threat of spread of fire.
BURNBLOCK consists of 100% natural ingredients, is safe, clean, biodegradable, and non-toxic – an environmentally friendly alternative to fire treatment.
Anthony Doyle, director at the Northern Ireland-based HALT, said: “We’re extremely proud to bring this pioneering product to Ireland this year, especially following such a challenging period throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is an area of construction in which the regulations are rapidly changing, and so I am immensely proud that we are ahead of the curve, supplying a natural alternative to how buildings will need to be protected against the risk of fire in the future.
“The treatment we offer has undergone rigorous testing and is certified to the highest European fire standard by the most recognised institutes on the continent, including RI.SE (SP-Fire) in Sweden, MPA in Germany, and BRE in Great Britain.
“More recently, certification has also been achieved by BURNBLOCK for BS EN16755:2017 – the standard defines a classification system for verifying the durability of the fire protection of fire retardant-treated wood products for indoor and outdoor use.
“Our team of experts at HALT and our partners at BURNBLOCK will be on hand to deliver bespoke, technical advice throughout the process for anyone in the industry that would like to find out more about how this product will work for them.
“We are already recruiting for a number of new roles in our manufacturing, engineering, sales, and administration teams.”
HALT has invested in a specialised kiln and autoclave which returns timber to a specified moisture content post-treatment using the impregnation of the solution from BURNBLOCK, leaving no staining or residue on the timber.
Once absorbed by the treated material, a surface remains that when heated, inert gases and water from the fire retardants are released and substitute the oxygen.
This process absorbs a portion of the heat and helps prevent further spread of fire, and as there are no toxic ingredients in BURNBLOCK, any smoke production is free from volatile organic compounds.
Hroar Bay-Smidt, CEO of BURNBLOCK, said: “We are delighted to welcome HALT as our new BURNBLOCK treatment partner serving Ireland’s timber fire-treatment sector.
“HALT share our ambitions as an enterprising company, with a commitment to developing sustainable solutions for fire resistance and innovation.
“The partnership provides direct access within the Irish market to industry leading and in-depth expertise in the fire treatment impregnation sector.
“We look forward to mutual success throughout the value chain.”
The patented formula has been certified in line with all regulatory requirements and consist of 100% natural ingredients, meaning it causes no adverse effects to the environment.
HALT’s ingredients are also biodegradable: they occur naturally and are found in their elemental form, which is in stark contrast to alternatives currently being used.
BURNBLOCK Fire Retardant Powder is Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM at the gold level, which makes the product the first Fire Retardant in the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM Products Program.
Part of the sustainability certification includes a platinum status for material health – the highest level of certification possible.
With the launch of the product, HALT is creating 20 specialist jobs, which will be located at a purpose-built manufacturing site in Belfast. Construction of this site is due to be completed in June 2021.
Doyle added: “HALT treated timber is proven to effectively extend the length of time between ignition and flash point.
“There is no negative effect on the strength of the timber, and because it is non-hazardous HALT treated timber can be disposed of in the same way as non-treated timber.
“The treatment is impregnated using specialist autoclave technology in a controlled factory environment, with all documentation, including fire-classification reports, supplied with each treatment, providing our customers with the assurances they require.”