The superior fire performance of timber can be attributed to the charring effect of wood. As wood members are exposed to fire, an insulating char layer is formed that protects the core of the section. Thus, beams and columns can be designed so that a sufficient cross section of wood remains to sustain the design loads for the required duration of fire exposure. A standard fire exposure is used for design purposes. In North America, this exposure is described in the standard fire resistance test ASTM E 119 . Many other countries use a comparable test exposure found in ISO 834 . In spite of the difference between standard dire resistance tests, experimental charring rates measured in various parts of the world appear to be consistent. This justifies the use of such data for design, regardless of origin.