Fire behaviour of building materials
European regulation and standardization according to EN 13501-1
European Standard EN 13501-1 provides the reaction to fire classification procedure for all products and building elements.
To classify the fire behaviour of a building material, products are tested for:
- The reaction of fire of the material or a product, evaluating its performance exposed to heat in its first minutes (e.g. ignition, heat release, fire spread, smoke, droplets,). As such, within Europe, all building products are regulated and standardized according to EN 13501-1 by expressing its fire reaction according a classification system with classes A1 => F and a subcategorization on “s” smoke and ‘d” droplets.
- The fire resistance of end-use systems, e.g. walls, ceilings, structural elements, evaluating its behaviour during a certain specific standardized fire scenario and for which the system is timely evaluated for its behaviour on structure and stability, thermal insulation, integrity, … As such, within Europe, end-use systems are regulated and standardized according to the series EN 13501-2 to 4 and for roof coverings, the external fire resistance according a classification following EN 13501-5.
The Euro classes, which are divided into additional subclasses, also look at additional effects, such as smoke production and burning droplet.
FOAMGLAS® products and its fire reaction
FOAMGLAS® slabs belong to Class A1 'No contribution to fire' according to the European standard - determined by the Commission Decision of 6 June 2003 (2003/424/EC) with the establishment of a product list. The basic requirement for this is the limitation of the organic material component to a maximum of 1%; this is in accordance with EN 13501-1. FOAMGLAS® insulation does not require binding agents, fire retardants or other additives and, due to its mineral composition, does not provide any fuel for fire.
Besides the unfaced FOAMGLAS® slabs, class A1, products, some other FOAMGLAS® products are factory made with coated or rendered surfaces. Some of these types are within class A1 or A2 and some others are within class D and even class E, since those FOAMGLAS® products are coated or faced on the top or below surfaced in respect of its end-use to become easily placed and integrated with a support. As an example, the FOAMGLAS READY series are class E, since those blocks/boards are ready made with a meltable or torchable facing for an easy application on the jobsite with the waterproofing systems. The core material of all FOAMGLAS® types, also with coated or rendered surfaces, remains class A1.
FOAMGLAS® products and its fire resistance
As FOAMGLAS® slabs are used in various end-use systems, e.g. walls, ceilings, structural elements, several systems have been tested and classified.
The European fire classifications & reports according to the series of EN 13501 are applicable throughout Europe and accepted in all EU member states. A fire test or classification report in accordance with the EN 13501 series is valid in every EU Member State. However, this does not mean that the fire regulations of each kind of building or usage are the same in all EU Member States. In fact, as part of building permits and exploitation permits local authorities set themselves the level of safety requirements. In one country, for example, fire class B is sufficient for a façade, while other countries require at least class A2 for this. However, the method of determination is the same for all countries.
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The correct specification and installation of building products and materials - including insulation - is critical to achieve fire safety and minimise the development and spread of fire. In industrial applications, for example, the use of insulation materials that can soak up flammable liquids should be avoided.