Fire Performance


CURRENT BUILDING REGULATIONS

In response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the government commissioned dame Judith Hackitt to independently review the UK’s building regulations and fire safety. An impact assessment was presented to parliament in November 2018 and set out over 50 recommendations to ensure a more robust approach to managing higher risk residential buildings. The full report can be found on this link.

One of the recommendations within the report, was to ban all but non-combustible materials (a minimum classification of Euroclass A2-S1, d0) from being used on residential buildings over 18 metres in height.

These recommendations were accepted and formed the new building regulations when they were updated in December 2018. Even with the new regulations, we are seeing housing associations and specifiers chose a non-combustible product even if the building is below 18 metres in height to ensure they comply with any future amendments to the regulations.

ANTICIPATED UPDATE OF REGULATIONS

An industry consultation was launched early in 2020 to review the ban on combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings. One of the proposals in the consultation is to reduce the building height of buildings banning combustible materials from 18 metres to 11 metres. The decision to future proof projects seems to be a wise one with this consultation potentially leading to a regulation change in the near future.

REPLACING COMBUSTIBLE DECKING

As well as new build projects, the most recent advice note from the ministry of housing also states that the removal of combustible decking from existing buildings is the clearest way to prevent external fire spread and should occur as soon as practical following a major fire in Barking which engulfed the building. Further information on replacing combustible decking on existing buildings can be found here. Councils as early as 2019 started replacing traditional decking materials such as timber and composite decking for non-combustible options.

Residential Balconies With Decking


WHAT ARE THE STANDARDS?

BS EN 13501-1 is the European standard for reaction to fire performance of construction products. Products are rated from Euroclass A1 to F based on ignitability, radiant heat and combustion. In addition to the A1 to F classifications there are also two additional classifications for classes A2 to D which look at two other fire safety critical factors. These classifications look at smoke production rated from S1 to S3 (S1 – very limited amount of combustion gases) and the development of burning droplets and/or particles from D0 to D2 (D0 – no burning droplets or particles emitted).


Rating Combustibility

A1

Non-combustible

A2

Non-combustible

B

Combustible materials - very limited contribution to fire

C

Combustible materials - limited contribution to fire

D

Combustible materials - medium contribution to fire

E

Combustible materials - high contribution to fire

F

Combustible materials - easily flammable

Rating Production of Flaming Droplets/Particles During Combustion

D0

No dripping

D1

Slow dripping

D2

High dripping

Rating Smoke Emission During Combustibility

S1

Quantity/speed of emission absent or weak

S2

Quantity/speed of emission of average intensity

S3

Quantity/speed of emission of high intensity




Within the standard there are three classifications – construction products, floorings and linear pipes. SHERA deck boards have been independently tested for the construction products and floorings classifications and achieved non-combustible ratings for both classifications:

Construction product classification – A2-S1, D0

Flooring classification – A1fl

 

Fire test certificates of SHERA deck boards are available for download below.




A2-S1, D0 Fire Test Certificate


A1fl Fire Test Certificate