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The Rise of Mass Timber - Episode 3

How do construction insurers view mass timber projects? Check out the third episode in our series, The Rise of Mass Timber, to gain perspective from a construction underwriter.

From Forest to Frame: Shaping the Future with Mass Timber

How do construction insurers view mass timber projects? 

Andy Desmond, Construction Industry Leader at Marsh Specialty, sits down with Andy Kane, Head of Construction and Engineering for QBE European Operations, to discuss how construction insurers view mass timber projects for the third episode in our series, The Rise of Mass Timber

Andy Kane illustrates the carrier approach to mass timber as an assessment that first looks at the key risks typical to general construction builds, such as flooding/ground conditions, followed by the elevated hazards associated with mass timber. He highlights water, ingress or escape, and fire as the two significant risks, with moisture accounting for most of the major losses for mass timber projects. 

Moisture control through water management plans therefore plays a critical role in the resilience strategy of any project involving timber. Guidance on this has been produced by the Construction Insurance Risk Engineers Group (CIREG) which looks at best practices for managing escape of water risk on construction sites

For fire risk, the Fire Protection Association (FPA) has produced the Joint Code of Practice (JCOP) which addresses protection from fire of construction sites and buildings undergoing renovation, noting risk mitigation techniques such as concrete floors every several levels to compartmentalise fire risk. 

In addition, the Mass Timber Insurance Playbook by The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products is further highlighted as an important guide to mass timber construction builds and emphasising insurer preferences, for example having competent and experienced specialist contractors. 

Andy Desmond and Andy Kane also touch on the concept of the “golden thread” — the digital record of building data and risk considerations during design and production phases through to construction and installation on-site. They discuss the technological advancements of thermal imaging, moisture sensors, security monitoring, and asset verification on-site. 

Listen to this episode to learn more about the balance of carbon, risk, and capacity for mass timber projects and stay tuned for the next episode where we discuss how the Mass Timber Playbook can be used to help secure insurance.

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About our speakers

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Andy Desmond

UK Business Development Leader, Construction & Surety Practice, Marsh JLT Specialty