Designing of a Fire-rated Wall as per the ASTM, EN, and BS standards.
The most important factor that should be considered when constructing a building is how long it can withstand fire. That’s why we will explore in this article the process of designing of a fire-rated wall.
When there's a fire outbreak, will the building just burn to an irreparable state?
Or does the building guarantee a level of fire resistance and reduce the effect of fire heat and smoke to the barest minimum? These details are very important as they're a matter of life, death, and additional resources.
At least, for every modern building, the goal is to contain the possibility of death and injury to everyone in the building during a fire spread.
Also important is the salvaging of important documents, materials, and overall contents in the building.
Before a fire-rated wall technology can be incorporated into a building design, certain guidelines are set up by some Standard Development Organizations.
This article will consider three different Standard Development Organizations and how they affect the designing of a fire-rated wall.
USG Middle East is always at the forefront when it comes to educating and building knowledge about these standards. We are also available to assist with meeting up with all these standards.
What is the ASTM Standard?
The ASTM standard means the American Society for Testing and Materials. It is a standard that guides professional contractors when building fire-rated walls.
The main aim of focus here is the ASTM E119. This fire test is responsible for testing how long a building can withstand fire.
Testing building materials with the ASTM E119 Standard gives a specific time duration of how long a building can last.
This information is not only valuable to the building owners but also contractors and insurance companies. At least, they can have an estimate on the repair costs beforehand.
To set a fire-rated wall, professionals using this test, use a time-temperature curve to arrive at the exact time the fire-rated wall can last. It's after these sessions that the materials are determined to be 'one-hour rating ' or 'two hours ratings '.
The ASTM standard test performs a holistic assessment of the entire assembly. That is, it evaluates every area of the building, the floor, ceilings, and walls to ensure they're fire-rated.
The test ensures that the building not only has fire-rated walls but other areas have a high level of fire resistance.
The ASTM standard also performs a fire endurance test. In an endurance test, professionals put the assemblies through a fire test.
They do this to better understand the assembly's reactions to fire. The result of the test determines the fire resistance of the assemblies.
This will guide contractors on what type of material to use for the construction of a building.
At USG Middle East, we're committed to assisting contractors and building experts to commit to ASTM tests. This is to ensure that the building is well constructed and with a fire-rated wall.
During construction, safety is paramount and shouldn't be handled with levity. Ask us any questions regarding applying the ASTM standard to your building plans.
What is EN Standard
The EN standard is the European Standard for testing building products and materials for fire resistance.
This test checks for materials reaction and resistance to fire. There's a difference between reaction and resistance to fire.
Reaction to fire describes how a material can aid the spread of fire when there's a flame spread. The EN 13501-1 test is carried out on all single materials or products in the interior space of a building.
Resistance to fire describes how building materials can resist fire from spreading to the other side of the building when there's a fire outbreak.
Fire resistance can be tested by checking for building integrity. This is a building's ability to prevent the spread of fire, heat, and hot gases and maintain the building from total ruin.
Fire resistance can also be tested by checking how many building products are insulated. The insulation helps the material to maintain its functions even when exposed to fire.
When a material that has insulation can withstand a fire of not more than 180°C, then it's approved by the EN standard.
The EN standard checks for both fire resistance and reaction to fire. This could confuse contractors. At USG Middle East we can help guide professionals on how to carry out this test for a fire-rated wall test.
What is the BS Standard
The BS Standard is the British Standard that's responsible for setting up guidelines to be followed during the manufacturing of building materials. The building guidelines specify the rules and level of fire resistance of the different building materials.
There are different BS Standards and they're all peculiar to setting guidelines for building. But for the sake of this article, only the British standard 476 will be considered.
Below, you'll find a list of the current BS 476 Standards:
- BS 476-3:2004: Fire test on building materials and structure. This test checks how long the roof of a building can withstands fire exposure from outside.
- BS 476-4:1970. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This is a non-combustibility test for building materials. It checks if materials can control fire in the presence of air.
- BS 476-6:1989+A1:2009. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This test checks for fire propagation for products.
- BS 476-7:1997. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This test is conducted to decide the classification of the surface spread of flame of products.
- BS 476-10:2009. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This test is a guide to applying other BS standard tests on building materials and determining their outputs.
- BS 476-11:1982. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This test is a method for evaluating the heat radiation from building materials.
- BS 476-12:1991. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This test checks for the ignitability of products by direct flame impact.
- BS 476-13:1987, ISO 5657:1997. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This test is a means of assessing the ignitability of products when they undergo thermal irradiance.
- BS 476-20:1987. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This test checks for the fire resistance level of construction elements of a building.
- BS 476-21:1987. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This test examines the fire resistance level of heavy construction elements.
- BS 476-22:1987. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This test checks for the fire resistance level of non-load-bearing construction materials.
- BS 476-23:1987. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This test examines how different materials and products contribute to the fire resistance of a building.
- BS 476-24:1987, ISO 6944:1985. Fire tests on building materials and structures. This checks for the fire resistance level of ventilation ducts in a building.
These different standards are put in place to guide professionals in selecting the right materials and products for a building. USG Middle East can help with combining each or all of these tests in arriving at the appropriate materials.
There are recommended products that are relevant when building fire-rated walls. Products like this flexible fire rated sealant.