26 May What Are The Best Fire-Rated Materials?
Since the ban on combustible materials used on high rise buildings and “specified attachments” above 18 metres, architects, specifiers and other decision makers in built projects must make decisions driven by safety.
When specifying materials for such purposes, it is essential that they are class A1 or A2 fire-rated, as highlighted by current Building Regulations for fire safety [insert link].
With that in mind, this post aims to identify those materials that are considered class A fire-rated, and thus the best option for your next high-rise project.
Read on to find out more.
How Do Materials Achieve Fire Rating?
Materials will go through rigorous testing as outlined by the European classification system for fire safety. This is also known as the Euroclass system. The system categorises materials based on their reaction to fire. The materials are then labelled from A to F, with A-rated materials being ‘non-combustible’ and F-rated – meaning ‘highly combustible’.
Alongside this, the Euroclass system also provides additional classification for flaming droplets/particles and smoke production.
To learn more about the Euroclass system testing procedures, click here.
How Are Materials Given The ‘Non-Combustible’ Seal of Approval?
Materials that are labelled ‘A-rated’ or ‘non-combustible’ are described as follows:
A1 – Materials that cannot contribute to a fire at any stage, including a fully developed fire, can be awarded Class A1. This would never be combined with additional classification. Examples include A-PED ™ pedestals, REIF DuraLink ®, porcelain pavers, concrete pavers, natural stone pavers, metal components.
A2 – If a product produces no contribution to fire but has the potential to produce some smoke or flaming droplets, this falls into Class A2. This, then, is followed by an additional classification for smoke and droplets. Examples include powder-coated aluminium decking [insert link].
A1 Materials That Don’t Need Testing
In order for a material to be given A1 classification, it cannot contribute to a fire at any stage – as mentioned above. This may be the case with materials such as aluminium, porcelain, concrete and natural stone. In such instances, there is no need for fire testing.
However, products made from ‘naturally non-combustible materials’ may have been treated in some way, for example, through the use of glue or various powder coating applications.
In this event, it is unlikely that the product would achieve an A1 fire rating, meaning that additional testing would need to be carried out, such as the smoke and flaming droplets test as mentioned above.
A-Rated Materials For Aesthetic Quality
Of course, the end-user (and in some cases, the client) won’t necessarily be wowed by the fire performance certification. That’s why it’s important to specify a solution that looks great (as well as one that provides the obvious fire-rated performance).
Many high-rise projects will involve outdoor areas for restaurants, hotels and top-end apartments. Therefore, the aesthetics are crucial for everyone involved: the business owner, the architect and, of course, the end user.
Many A-rated solutions can be both safe and visually appealing. For example, porcelain pavers give you the option of a timber, stone or concrete effect – giving you freedom to create an end result that matches the mood and décor of the environment.
For those aiming to create a cool, contemporary feel, aluminium decking is the stylish solution. Aluminium decking also boasts other positive characteristics, such as low slip potential and high thermal conductivity – providing a cooler deck surface than most wood or composite surfaces.
The purpose of a high-rise building and a specified attachment is to provide a great experience for the end-user. Therefore, it’s important that you specify a solution with both safety and style in mind. If you’d like to learn more about Alfresco Floor’s A-rated solutions, fill out the form below or get in touch with an expert today.
As experts in class A rated materials for external spaces, we can help you achieve a compliant, safe solution for your next project.