Research & Development team have, literally, been playing with fire down at the Building Research Establishment in order to demonstrate that their External Wall Insulation (EWI) systems have a BS approved fire performance rating for use on multi-storey buildings.
Following a fire in a residential housing block at Garnock Court Irvine in 1999 the potential risk of fire spread in buildings by way of the external cladding system has been gaining greater and greater significance within the English, and more prevalently, the Scottish Building regulations.
In order to meet the requirements of these regulations, the first of two full scale fire tests was undertaken. Eight metres of mineral wool insulation was fixed and rendered to a specially constructed masonry test facility, which houses a combustion chamber at its base. A wooden crib was used to provide the necessary heat source and is engineered to give the specific combustion characteristics required.
Thermocouples (temperature sensors) are placed both within the insulation and on the external face of the EWI
at a height of 5m from the combustion chamber. If the temperature read in either of these locations reaches 600oC within a 15 minute time period, the spread of fire is deemed to be accelerated by the system and it is failed. Further, if any collapse or excessive damage to the system is observed within a 30 minute time frame, this also needs to be reported to the Building Regulations officer.
system successfully passed the fire test with impressive results, strengthening the reputation of their systems and giving added confidence to specifiers.