04 Aug Fire Rated Decking: What Ratings Are There?
It can be tough to decipher all the technical jargon surrounding fire-rated decking and other materials.
When you’re specifying, you want to know the facts. Is the decking you’re selecting fire rated and safe for your project?
With the regulations limiting the use of combustible materials on high-rise residential buildings so important, this decision is critical.
Before exploring the available materials, the systems, or the colours for your fire-rated decking, you need to understand what fire ratings are.
Only by understanding that can you be sure what you’re using for your project is correct, but more importantly, safe.
The Fire Rating Classifications
Defined in BS EN 13501-1, the classification system utilised in this British Standard is now recognised as the industry standard for construction.
There are three different testing standards under the BS EN 13501-1 standard that apply to construction products, however only construction products and flooring are relevant to external flooring. Note that roof and roof coverings are tested and rated using a different BS EN 13501 standard, as you can see below.
|Product / Application||Test Standards||Euro Classification||Sub Classes|
|Construction Products, excluding flooring and linear pipe thermal insulation products||BS EN 13501-1:2018 Reaction to fire tests||7 levels: A1, A2, B, C, D, E, F||s1-3 for smoke production for A2-D d0-2 for flaming droplets for A2-E|
|Flooring||BS EN 13501-1:2018 Reaction to fire tests||7 levels: A1, A2, B, C, D, E, F Followed by ‘fl’||s1-3 for smoke production|
|Roof / Roof Coverings||BS EN 13501-1:2016 Determining the performance of roofs to external fire exposure||5 levels B, C, D, E, F Followed by ‘ROOF’||None|
The most important classification for external flooring is the Euroclass rating which assigns a letter based on combustibility. Indicating the levels of combustibility in any given product, the ratings are categorised from A1 (entirely non-combustible) to F (highest levels of combustibility).
Let’s look at them in more detail.
|Rating||Fire Contribution||Levels of Combustibility|
|A1||Does not pose any risk of contributing to fire||Non-combustibility|
|A2||Poses a very limited contribution to fire||Limited Combustibility|
|B||Some contribution towards spreading fire.||Fire Resistant|
|C||Minor contribution to spreading fire||Combustible|
|D||Medium contribution to spreading fire||Combustible|
|E||Poses a significant and highly likely risk of spreading fire||Combustible|
|F||Easily flammable and will contribute to the spread of fire.||Combustible|
Flooring materials will often have ‘fl’ after their classification. This can be seen in Alfresco Floor’s fire rated aluminium decking.
It’s important to note that from the above list, only A1 s1 d0 fire rated products are permissible components on balconies on high-rise residential properties. However, regulation is set to change later this year, enabling A2 fl fire rated decking to be used as long as certain criteria have been met.
We will update this post when these regulations have been published.
Fire Rated Decking: Other Ratings To Consider
BS EN 1350-1 involves a range of rigorous tests, designed to assess how products react in relation to heat, combustibility, flame spread and smoke release. All need to be considered before deciding on the fire rated decking material that you will use on your project.
- Euroclass Rating
Euroclass rating is the industry standard, as seen above it relates to measuring combustibility in building materials. The table above highlights the rating materials can receive and how this relates to the levels of combustibility.
- Smoke Emission
Fire rated decking needs to also be measured in terms of smoke emission whilst being subjected to fire. With three categories available, S1, S2, or S3, S1 being the little or not smoke, and S3 being substantial smoke, they grade products in terms of the emissions they release. These ratings are only applied to materials categorised as A1, A2, B, C or D.
- Flaming Droplets
Rated d0, d1, or d2, from no droplets to significant droplets, this is a test related to the particles or embers that materials might produce during combustion.
Fire Rated Decking
You need to find a fire rated decking that not only meets the requirements of your particular project, but one that suits the aesthetic you require, too.
There are plenty of options available and it’s about talking to experts in the field.
Speak to Alfresco Floor’s flooring experts to not only make sense of the fire ratings and various classifications but of the options available too.