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European fire classification of construction products and building elements according to EN 13501

<p>The basis of CE-marking of construction products and building elements is the European system of fire testing and classification of products and elements. reaction to fire classification of products is performed according to the so called Euroclass system (EN 13501).</p>

The Construction Products Regulation

Testing for the Euroclass system is performed in accordance with test methods, defined in harmonised European standards published by the European Standardization body, CEN.  A classified product can then be CE marked if other properties according to the EU Commission's Construction Regulation have also been verified. This is governed, interalia, by a series of so-called harmonized product standards issued by the European standardization CEN and referred by the EU in relation to the Construction Regulation .

One of the main purposes of the Construction Products Directive (89/106/EEC) was to facilitate free movement of construction products throughout the EU. The directive was replaced by the Construction Product Regulation (CPR) (305/2011) in 2011 and with this it became compulsory to comply with in all Member States. The CPR contains six important requirements applicable to the finished building. One of these is safety in the event of fire, which means that classification of the fire properties of construction products must be based on the same standards throughout the EU. Member states requiring some particular level of protection against fire can then identify the necessary level from the published fire reaction classes. Products that comply with the important requirements of the CPR can be CE-marked. The CPR can work only if various specifications, to which it refers, are available. In the field of fire, it is the definitions of fire classes, harmonised test methods and declarations of conformity that are important specifications. Details of the European fire classes, and the rules for declaration of conformity, are published by the European Commission, while harmonised test standards and product standards are published by CEN and ISO.

Reaction-to-fire

The Euroclass system for construction products affects mainly surface covering materials, insulation materials, floor coverings, pipe insulation materials and cables.  The product groups are all treated in a similar manner.  Certain class boundaries for surface coverings, pipe insulations and cables are based almost entirely on Swedish work and Swedish contributions to the broader field of harmonisation.  Surface covering materials and products are classified by the FIGRA (FIre Growth RAte) index, developed by SP (RISE from January 2017).  You can read more about FIGRA and the technical background to the Euroclass system in "The Development of a European Fire Classification System for Building Products:  Test Methods and Mathematical Modelling", by Björn Sundström.

Fire reaction classes for surface coverings are divided into seven main classes:  A1, A2, B, C, D, E and F. 

Examples of classes for materials, surface linings, pipe insulation, floor coverings and cables

A1 (non-combustible material)
A2-s1,d0
B-s1,d0
C-s2,d0
D-s2,d0
A1fl (non-combustible material for floor covering)
Cfl-s1
Dfl-s1
BL-s1,d0 (pipe insulation)
B1CA-s1,d0,a1 (cables)

The conditions for fulfilling the requirements of a particular class can be found in the classifications standards, EN 13501-1 for surface linings, pipe insulation and floor coverings and EN 13501-6 for cables.

Roof coverings

External fire exposure to roofs are included in the Euroclass system.
here are four different test methods that gives a total of thirteen different classes.
In Sweden and the other Nordic countries the classes BROOF(t2) and FROOF (t2) are used.

A roof classified BROOF(t2) has passed the requirement in the classification standard EN 13501-5, together with a specific substrate.
A roof classified FROOF(t2) has either not been tested or not passed the requirements.

The conditions for fulfilling the requirements of a particular class can be found in the classification standard, EN 13501-5.

Fire resistance

Building elements and structures are to be tested and classified in respect of their fire separation performance according to a system that indicates the properties by a letter - e.g. R, E or I - and an index that indicates the time for which the property is maintained, e.g. REI60. Doors are also classified in terms of smoke leakage properties, Sa or S200.

Examples of classes for wall and floor constructions

REI60 (loadbearing walls with fire separating function)
RE90 (loadbearing floors with fire separating function)

The conditions for fulfilling the requirements of a particular class can be found in the classification standard, EN 13501-2.

Marina C Andersson

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Marina C Andersson

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