Testing Fire Resistance
A fire resistance test is a controlled means of determining if a fire protection product meets minimum performance criteria as set out in a national or international Standard and relevant building codes. Successful tests carried out in nationally accredited independent laboratories result in documentary proof of compliance, certification and / or listing. The listing is often public domain, whereas the test report itself is proprietary information belonging to the test sponsor.
There are many different types of fire tests apart from those on fire stop products – full scale, small scale and ad-hoc tests. There are tests on full systems, and on materials (for example intumescents) which are components that may be used within a system, and these may include reaction to fire tests such as combustibility or flame spread.
The whole process is time consuming and expensive for product developers and manufacturers. Even for large multi-national Corporations, the number of different international standards, “recognised” laboratories, building codes and regulations, and methods of construction make it impossible to offer tested products for every scenario in the construction process. Technical Assessments and Engineering Judgements by suitably qualified fire engineers can help to fill that gap.
From a practical and commercial perspective, it is sensible to test products in such a manner as to ensure ease of use and that they are commercially viable with regards to the scope of any listing and methods of installation. Fire safety products are about reducing risk….but they also have to be commercial and deliver a return for their developers. This is what drives and funds the innovation in fire safety products.
Fire Test Standards
Some of the most highly adopted and recognised international standards for Fire Resistance are: EN1366-3, BS476 Part 20, UL1479 / ASTM E-814, AS/NZ1530
Accredited Fire Test Laboratories
Some internationally recognised and accredited Laboratories:
Underwriters Laboratories Global Site:
BRANZ (New Zealand):
Cambridge Fire Research (UK):
Exova Warrington (UK):
IFC Group (UK):