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Fire Safety

 


Here you'll find information about fire safety requirements for suspended ceilings, fire safety design and fire testing and classification of products.

At the bottom of the page is a tbale with European fire classes for Ecophon products.

 

Fire safety requirements for suspended ceilings

The fire safety demands on suspended ceilings can vary depending on both the type of room and the building where they are to be installed. Detailed requirements can be found in the national building regulations. Two general requirements can, however, be identified as crucial for suspended ceilings in the early stages of fire, and they should be regarded as "compulsory" in all premises:

  • Suspended ceilings must only make a negligible contribution to the fire development and to the production of smoke.
    This is fulfilled by using a ceiling consisting of materials and surface linings complying with at least Euroclass B-s1, d0.

  • Suspended ceilings must not break and collapse during the early stages of the fire when evacuation and rescue operations can still be carried out.
    To pass this requirement a ceiling system should be able to withstand a heat exposure of approx. 300°C. (The heat radiation from a smoke gas layer with a temperature of 300°C corresponds approximately to what a fully equipped fire fighter can withstand.)

Fire safety design in buildings

The main purpose of fire safety design of a building is to minimise the consequences of a fire by:

  • preventing injury to people
  • limiting the material and economic damage 

Functional demands, Fire safety, Initial stage of fire

In a burning building there is often a high risk of personal injury. To safely evaquate a building during a fire you need to consider: 

  • fire gases
  • visibility
  • heat radiation
  • temperature.

E.g. in order to evacuate safely, the air temperature in rooms through which people are escaping should not exceed approx. 80°C.

The total fire protection of a building

The total fire protection of a building and its specific function is a complex issue, concerning several areas and how they interact with one another: 

  • The building itself including its design, building elements, materials, interior fittings and furnishing
  • The fire detection systems and alarms
  • The organisation and practice of conducting evacuation
  • The rescue efforts of fire brigades
  • The extinguishing and control of the fire. Partly through automatic fire extinguishing systems and/or partly through active actions, e.g. of the fire brigade

Building regulations and various types of standards normally cover these aspects. The building regulations are formulated on a national basis and vary between different countries. Standards can be on either a national base (e.g. DIN, BS and ASTM) or international (EN- and ISO-standards).

Description of a fire within a room

A room fire can be divided into various phases:

The incipient phase

The incipient phase, or beginning of a fire, is dependent on the size of the ignition source and the properties of the materials and objects that are directly affected.

The growth phase

Functional demands, Fire safety, Growth phase of the fireDuring the growth phase the fire increases in size and other objects around the fire origin will begin to burn. Even the surface linings of the walls, floor and ceiling close to the fire can ignite. Increasing amounts of smoke and heat begin to develop and a layer of hot fire gases forms beneath the ceiling. 

In the growth phase the fire is local. The fire characteristics of the surface linings play an important part in the fire development.

Flash over 

During the growth phase flashover can occur. This is when the intensity of the fire is so great that it ceases to remain local but involves all combustible material in the room. A large amount of heat is released and flames burst out through windows and door openings.

Functional demands, Fire safety, Flash over stage of fireGenerally, flashover occurs once the fire gases in the room reach 500-600°C. The heat radiation from the layer of fire gases is so great at this stage that it causes all combustible materials to ignite.

Flashover can occur just a few minutes after ignition. However, it can also be delayed or avoided altogether. This could be the case in a room which has just a small amount of combustible furnishings and is equipped with surface linings that make just a negligible contribution to the fire development.

After flashover the fire reaches its maximum level and is fully developed. The length and intensity of the fire is now mainly determined by the supply of air and the fire load, i.e. the amount of combustible materials present.

The decay phase

The decay phase is when the fire fades out. 

 

Fire testing and classification of products

Reaction to fire tests

Fire testing methods are generally designed to simulate the different phases of the fire process. Consequently, tests on surface linings are conducted using fire sources representative of the incipient and growth phases of a fire. These test methods are referred to as "reaction to fire" tests. The purpose is to evalutate how products and materials contribute to the early stages of a fire in terms of:

  • Ignitability
  • Flame spread
  • Heat release
  • Smoke production
  • Occurrence of flaming droplets/particles

Normally reaction to fire tests are carried out in small or intermediate scale.

Fire resistance tests

Complete building elements (doors, floor structures, partitions etc.) which are used for separating fire compartments are tested for the case of a fully developed fire. These test methods are called "fire resistance" and are carried out in full scale. The temperature in the test furnace follows the so-called "standard fire curve" which is designed to represent a fully developed fire. The properties that are evaluated are:

  • Insulation (ability to reduce the heat transfer)  

  • Integrity (ability to prevent leakage of flames and hot gases)

  • Load bearing capacity

Building elements classified as "fire resistant" with respect to integrity and insulation are used as a means to prevent fire being spread between fire compartments.

The European fire testing system - Euroclass

The reaction to fire testing and classification system for linings and materials in Europe is called Euroclass.

Altogether there are 39 classes divided into 7 main levels; A1, A2, B, C, D, E and F where A1 is the best and F are for products and materials not classified.

Most of the main classes also include an additional classification regarding smoke production and the occurrence of flaming droplets/particles.

The classes for smoke: s1, s2 and s3, where s1 is the best.

The classes for flaming droplets and particles: d0, d1 and d2, where d0 is the best. 

 

Functional demands, Fire safety

1 = Main class

2 = Smoke production

3 = Occurence of flaming droplets/particles

  

 

In the table below you will find Euroclasses according to classification standard EN 13501-1 Fire classification of construction products and building elements - Part 1 The classifications use test data from reaction to fire tests. 

Euroclasses
A1    
A2-s1,d0
A2-s1,d1
A2-s1,d2
A2-s2,d0
A2-s2,d1
A2-s2,d2
A2-s3,d0
A2-s3,d1
A2-s3,d2
B-s1,d0
B-s1,d1
B-s1,d2
B-s2,d0
B-s2,d1
B-s2,d2
B-s3,d0
B-s3,d1
B-s3,d2
C-s1,d0
C-s1,d1
C-s1,d2
C-s2,d0
C-s2,d1
C-s2,d2
C-s3,d0
C-s3,d1
C-s3,d2
D-s1,d0
D-s1,d1
D-s1,d2
D-s2,d0
D-s2,d1
D-s2,d2
D-s3,d0
D-s3,d1
D-s3,d2
E
 
 
E-d2
 
 
F
 
 

 

 The graph below shows the relationship between fire process and the fire classes

Functional demands, Fire safety

  1. Temperature
  2. Flash over
  3. Incipient
  4. Growth
  5. Fully developed
  6. Decay
  7. Time
  8. Euroclasses
  9. Fire resistance classes

 

 

European fire classes for Ecophon products

 Class

 Ecophon products

A2-s1,d0

Advantage

 

Akusto

 

Focus

 

Gedina

 

Hygiene

 

Master

 

Sombra

 

Super G

 

 

 

Contact us

Saint-Gobain Ecophon AB
No.1 Shale Road
N1 Business Park
Cnr. Old Johannesburg & Tlokwa RoadsKosmosdal Ext.
Samrand 0157, P.O. Box 700, Germiston 1400, South Africa
Phone: +27 (0) 12 657 2958
E-mail: ecophonsa@saint-gobain.com

Contact us

Saint-Gobain Ecophon AB
No.1 Shale Road
N1 Business Park
Cnr. Old Johannesburg & Tlokwa RoadsKosmosdal Ext.
Samrand 0157, P.O. Box 700, Germiston 1400, South Africa
Phone: +27 (0) 12 657 2958
E-mail: ecophonsa@saint-gobain.com