Information Bulletin

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Fire Testing of Cladding

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Grenfell

Due to the recent tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, questions have arisen as to the product standards that might apply to exterior non load bearing walls.

Due to the recent tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, questions have arisen as to the product standards that might apply to exterior non load bearing walls.

This discussion is restricted to U.S. regulations with implications as to their practicality to be applied universally.

There are 2 major code writing agencies in the U.S.: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) & the International Code Council (ICC).

The codes published by these agencies contain specific test procedures that should be carried out.

Due to the complexities of the codes, the reader should consult with experts in the field of Architecture & Law to determine which tests must be applied to which products.

> Download a PDF presentation of NFPA 285 prepared by Dupont for useful information about code requirements.

Grenfell

In addition to offering guidance in building construction NFPA and ICC also offer test standards.

A Fire Test Standard that appears in both codes is NFPA 285: Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components.

This is a test which offers a simulated exterior configuration, gas flame ignition sources and multiple heat sensors placed throughout the test system.

The basic premise of the test is to measure fire progression from the point of flame impingement while the cladding is held in a vertical configuration.

Due to the complex nature of the test set up and reporting requirements, a full scale test can cost in the neighborhood of $25,000.

SGS Govmark has designed 2 screening tests which have the potential to demonstrate a product's ability to resist vertical flame progression.

One of the screening tests using the NFPA 285 standard window burner and a wide test specimen.

The other screening test uses a narrow width specimen and an alternate burner.

Sketches of these 2 test scenarios follow:

Test Sketches

For complete information regarding these testing services contact

testing@govmark.com