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Wallbarn Reacting To Changes In Fire Safety Regulations

October 23rd, 2019

Some fundamental changes have been put in place relating to the fire safety rating of building materials during the addition of bolt-on balconies to buildings.

The ban, resulting from a consultation following the tragic events at Grenfell, was formally announced last year on the 1st October 2018  by Housing Secretary James Brokenshire during the Conservative party conference in Birmingham. 

The policy will apply to all new buildings and those currently under construction but will not be applied retrospectively to buildings where the materials have already been fitted.

Previously, building regulations in the UK state that any material used for filler or insulation on high-rise buildings must be of ‘limited combustibility’.

However, these regulations will be amended so that only materials classed as ‘A1 or A2’ under the European Reaction to Fire classification system, will be allowed.

What do A1 and A2 ratings mean?*

The government’s official guide to rules on fire safety – Approved Document B – defines products achieving an A1 classification as non-combustible and products achieving an A2 classification as being of limited combustibility. A-class products – those classified A1 and A2 – make no significant contribution to fire growth while products with a rating of B-F are classified as combustible.

The European Classification system for combustibility classifies construction products using a series of tests. Class A materials have the best performance in a fire and are divided into two sub-classes, Class A1 and Class A2.

Class A1 – Products are described as having no contribution to fire at any stage. The BS EN 13501 test sets several thresholds for combustion performance when tested to both EN ISO 1716 and EN ISO 1182. One of these thresholds is a maximum heat of combustion of 2MJ/kg. Typical products meeting this classification include most inorganic materials such as metal, stone, and glass.

Class A2, s3, d2 – Products are described as having no significant contribution to fire at any stage. BS EN 13501 sets several thresholds for combustion when tested to EN ISO 1182, or both EN ISO 1716 and EN 13823. One of these thresholds is a maximum heat of combustion of 3MJ/kg. A typical product meeting this classification is plasterboard.

An A2 certified product has higher combustibility and can sustain flame for no more than 20 seconds. In contrast, A1 has lower combustibility and no sustained flaming when tested.

*These definitions were taken from the Architects Journal, please click here for the full details.

Making the Adjustment

At Wallbarn, we are pro-actively reacting to the changes in fire safety regulations to ensure compliance with our products.

Based upon our ASP design to help distribute weight effectively, we are currently developing a steel adjustable pedestal which is due for launch in quarter one of 2020.

Stay tuned for details…….