MORE FIRE experts and academics this week backed calls for the mothballed large scale fi re testing facility at Cardington in Bedfordshire to be reopened.
These include Edinburgh University professor of fire engineering Jose Torrero, Manchester University professor of structural engineering Colin Bailey, Standing Committee on Structural Safety secretary John Carpenter and London Fire Brigade fire engineering group member Paul Jenkins.
The Grade II* listed former 1930s airship hangar was closed and put up for sale by the recently privatised Building Research Establishment (BRE) after a series of full scale tests were concluded four years ago.
Torrero said the previous series of full scale fire tests 'were useful for specific building types but couldn't be used to validate other forms of construction, especially those with spans from 12m to 18m'.
Bailey added: 'We need to know much more about all structural materials. The really interesting area is the behaviour of connections in real fires in real buildings, which we know very little about.' Carpenter said: 'If we wish to continue the development of performance fire design, Cardington is essential. There is no way of validating our models without large scale testing.' Jenkins singled out the fire performance of long span prestressed concrete beams as an area where more research was urgently needed.
Visitors to NCE's stand at Civils 2005 will have the chance to sign a petition to re-open Cardington as a large scale test facility.