Paulussen Houthandel BV: Winner of World Design Awards 2021. At the same time, my company, Paulussen Houthandel BV, has also been nominated for the Trends Gazelle Medium-sized companies in Antwerp. This is the price for the fastest growing company’s per provence.
What have I developed?
I, Steven Paulussen, have developed an innovative facade system after a period of +- three years.
We combine an intelligent aluminum extrusion profile between untreated wooden slats and thus upgrade every type of wood in its fire reaction class.
Several types of wood have meanwhile (slowly) passed the limit of the ‘unachievable’ European fire reaction B without any pre- or post-treatment.
In short: European Fire class B with untreated wood.
If you want to see the difference, watch the results with your own eyes.
The revolutionary Forestlines is tested next to two ‘usual’ wooden claddings.
Why is it revolutionary?
The European scientific centers agreed; European fire class B with untreated wood is impossible.
There are several (inadequate) ways to upgrade wood to fire reaction class.
Until now it was considered impossible to achieve fire reaction class B with untreated wood.
How does it work?
The intelligent aluminum extrusion profile ensures that the percentage of combustible surface is significantly reduced, resulting in a lower ‘Total Heat Release’.
In addition, the non-combustible strips work as a fire barrier, which you can easily compare with the strips that you encounter in our Belgian forests to prevent fire spread.
After gold, silver and copper, aluminum is the best conductor of heat.
The extrusion profile has been developed in such a way that the heat is optimally absorbed and even extracted from the wood (insulator) and then distributed over a large surface.
Because it is distributed over a larger surface, the heat will center less on one point and consequently the first ignition will be greatly delayed.
In addition, the heat will be conducted away and can be cooled again at another point in the aluminum strip.
I could go on and on explaining how it works.
However, I hope that the first features have already convinced you how innovative it is.
Is it ecological?
The Forestlines® is an ecological revolution in the construction world.
Wood as a raw material is, as you undoubtedly know, the raw material of the future.
Easily regenerable, it does not cost any extra energy to produce, it absorbs CO2,…, provided that it is used properly it is also an inexhaustible raw material (!).
The only (major) disadvantage of wood is its relatively easy combustibility.
Until now, there were ways to treat wood to fire reaction class B.
However, none of these applications is conclusive for this problem.
You may have problems with leaching, the substances may be bad for people and the environment*, etc.
*Especially the latter is now starting to play with the neighbors to the north.
We don’t stand still.
We have developed our system through a long period of knowledge gathering, fire testing with trial and error, etc.
It was a period where I devoted countless hours (day and night) to innovating, designing, testing, etc.
In addition, there is a budget of more than 150,000 euros for innovation in this file.
Nowadays we are even working on chemically decomposing wood types in order to get a scientific idea which ingredients have an impact on the combustion of wood (cellulose, pentosan, lignin, etc).
In addition, we are also looking for the Lesser Known Species to insert into our system.
Wood species that were previously not used because of their instability, etc., we now want to integrate sufficiently into our system.
The aluminum profile not only works for fire optimization, but also works as a connector that absorbs the expansion and contraction per plank.
In this way we try to make optimal use of the world’s biodiversity.
The Forestlines facade concept is not only excellent from a fire point of view, it is also in its optimum form from a structural point of view.
The wood and aluminum are screwed separately.
As a result, the shrinkage and expansion of the wood is optimally absorbed.
At the same time, the ‘blind confirmation’ ensures that the system is completely circular. You can remove the facade cladding at any time and move it to another project.
This without loss of aesthetics, quality and fire safety.
Because the aluminum slats secure the wooden slats over the entire length, the wood does not have to come together on an underlying construction.
The Forestlines profile ensures that the sawing loss can be reduced by half.
This is a major advantage in times of extreme resource scarcity.
We expect a huge demand for our system.
Until now, wood for medium and high-rise buildings was shunned by architects.
Regardless of which form of fire impregnation, professionals and architects were rightly suspicious of the impregnation methods.
A fire at a height of 60 meters would create a drama.
Who wants to finance an annual checkup and possibly treatment in a tower 100 meters high?
There is no legal framework that makes this follow-up mandatory.
If one resident of a residential tower does not want to do this because of cost, what impact does this have on the rest?
Professionals and architects are not excited about these hot topics.
We always enter into discussions with the contractor(s) and architect(s) to ensure that the intended appearance is approached and that we offer the correct aluminum/wood ratio, profiling, wood type, etc.
In addition, we take the fire safety file along and ensure that the necessary results are achieved in END-USE in order to avoid a GRENFELL scenario (London, 2017).
From July 2022, new legislation on fire safety will be introduced in Belgium.
This new legislation will make the need for Forestlines even stronger…
Which projects have already signed up or are going to commit shortly?
The donor center of the University Hospital Antwerp is already covered with this.
The hangar 26 – 27 next to the MAS in Antwerp will now be a top project that will amaze Flanders.
Hangar 26 – 27 is padouk FSC 100% that is completely prefab and is then mounted in a suspension system and is therefore completely circular.
The panels can be easily removed and reassembled.
this project we also played with the aluminum width in order to arrive at the right fire class.
The iconic tower of Kasterlee will be covered with it at the end of 2022.
The Wonderwoods towers in Utrecht, the ecological project of the year, will soon be subscribed to our system.
We have also done a lot of END-USE tests for this system and a type of wood is integrated that is normally rarely or never used as facade cladding (!).
Execution: End of 2022 – beginning of 2023.
In addition, we are working on much larger projects at home and abroad.
However, I can’t list projects yet if I’m not sure…
Since August 2022, Forestlines is the first untreated wooden roofing to pass the BroofT1 test.
This is the official fire test in which roofs are tested for their fire reaction capacity to flying fire from a neighboring fire.
We have officially achieved this classification and at the same time tested another option, these tests indicate how strong the innovation is.
The great success of these official tests gives untreated wood a new application.
Wood as an ecological product can be used in a correct, safe manner as a building material for a pitched roof.
Which projects have chosen for the revolutionary Forestlines?
Wonderwoods Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Paulussen Houthandel BV
World Design Awards Category
Paulussen Houthandel BV is a company that puts innovation first and links design to scientific testing.
We will look for the established limits regarding fire safety, acoustics, etc. to investigate and (hopefully) break them.
Paulussen Steven is a business manager and designer.