Fire Safe Europe
20 Jan 2023
Today, Fire Safe Europe participated in the Steering Group meeting regarding the European Commission & RISE project on defining a common EU approach to assess the fire performances of facades.
This project aims to finalise the methodology to assess the fire performance of façades, including test methods and a proposal on classification.
The main updates discussed at the meeting were:
The consortium has found differences between the BS 8414 and DIN 4102-20 test methods and alternative assessment methods used by Member States (e.g. variations to the size of the test assembly, inclusion of a secondary opening, junction detailing between façade a floor, specific performance criteria). To address these differences, the project consortium has developed two options:
Option 1 covers a large number of characteristics within a limited number of tests deviating from the BS 8414 and DIN 4102-20 test methods;
Option 2 retains the BS 8414 and DIN 4102-20 test methods but adds supplementary protocols allowing to classify additional performance characteristics present in the regulations of some Member States.
2. After a theoretical round robin, the project has completed some initial testing activities that brought to the following conclusions:
Moisture content – 1% unit makes little difference.
Section size – makes little effect on the exposure, but effects on stability, perhaps increase the lower tolerance.
Fixed height seems more important compared to fixed weight. We suggest 110 ± 2.5 cm.
Combustion chamber depth – keep 1.3 m depth – deeper than BS 8414.
Installation of the crib (solid plate with width of chamber opening and depth of chamber).
Wind and ambient temperature - sensitive. We need a criterion.
Falling parts – the method should accept that falling parts ignite from the radiation from the heat source.
3. The project also carried out a study on secondary openings because certain Member States use them, although this element is not included in the BS 8414 and DIN 4102-20 test methods. The study concluded to include the secondary opening placing it asymmetrically with regards to the combustion chamber and also allow for a flexibility (possibly ±150 mm) on its horizontal position.
4. The project is now entering the experimental Round Robin phase with several tests to be executed to assess the repeatably and reproducibility of the test method. The proposed criteria for the test phase are:
flame spread both vertically and horizontally (thermocouples and visual: proposed 500 K temperature rise).
fire spread within the test specimen (thermocouples in cavities and layers): proposed 500 K temperature rise).
falling parts (platform scale and visual): Level1 – 1 kg, Level2 - 5kg.
burning debris/droplets (visual): sustained flaming 30s + mass loss of the timber crib: scale under the crib).
5. Junction between floor and façade only for large exposure test methods as well as smouldering fire for both medium and large exposure test methods, will be optional assessments.
6. The test will take place ideally in February and March and can be followed by interested stakeholders through live video transmittance.
For the full minutes of the meeting, click here.