FSEU Position Paper – Getting facades fire performance assessment right for Europe

The proposed approach by the EC consists of two highly contested national test methods BS 8414 and DIN 4102 part 20. Check out FSEU’s position on the subject.

The UK Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety does not provide adequate solutions and has implications for the EU

The Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (the Hackitt review) was published on 17 May 2018. The results of the review are insufficient in their recommendations for a robust regulatory system for fire safety in high-rise and high-risk buildings.

FSEU Press Release – UK Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety falls short regarding regulation of fire safety in buildings

The results of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (the Hackitt review) released yesterday are insufficient in their recommendations for a robust regulatory system for fire safety in high-rise and high-risk buildings.

UK cladding and insulation system tests need a reality check

The fire that devastated London’s Grenfell Tower about 3 months ago shocked the world and cast a spotlight on UK fire regulations and construction practices. The speed with which the UK government established an expert panel to give advice on immediate safety after the fire is admirable.  This expert panel has now issued its final advice for building owners, which FSEU has commented on.

Getting façade fire assessment right: why the 2 tests route won’t work

The European Commission is taking an important step towards better regulation of façade products across the EU. However, the current proposal entails some flaws that risk undermining the harmonisation effort.

The EU needs one harmonised façade fire test, say international fire experts

The EU needs one harmonised, large-scale and performance-based fire test for building façades. This is the result of a survey launched by Fire Safe Europe to gather world-leading experts’ thoughts and opinions on façades fire test methods.

2nd International Seminar for Fire Safety of Façades in Lund (Sweden)

Lund | 11-13 May 2016 – International fire experts gathered for the second International Seminar for Fire Safety of Façades. Fire Safe Europe took the opportunity to carry out a survey on test methods: the results reveal strong areas of agreement.

Fire Safety of Facades – 2d International Conference – 11 to 13.05.2016 – Lund (Sweden)

The 2nd International Conference on the Fire Safety of Facades,...

Future proofing the Euroclass System to build a fire safe Europe

(Published by Brandposten) What is at stake with the European classification for construction product’s reaction to fire performance, what is Guidance Paper G, and what can the EU do to guarantee buildings fire safety?

“Facades in fire” seminar in Espoo

Espoo, Finland | 9th October 2014 –
Would you choose between fire safety or energy savings when insulating your facade?
Although many believe that insulated façades have no or little impact on the spread of fire and smoke in buildings, a large scale test organised by Fire Safe Europei and supported by the Finnish Fire Protection Association (SPEK), the Finnish Association of Fire Fighters (SPAL) and the Finnish Association of Fire Officers (SPPL), demonstrated the weaknesses of the current European test practices when it comes to fire safety.

Façades – Towards a harmonised testing method

The façades of our buildings have significantly evolved due to the many innovations in the building sector and many countries have struggled to keep regulations up to speed with innovation.

The past decade has seen several façade fires in the EU. In many of these fires, rapid flashover and fire spread as well as intense smoke production was observed.

As a result, several EU countries have updated their regulations. However, there is no harmonised testing method for façade systems in the EU, and the methods and regulations currently used at national level in the member countries differ greatly.

Determined to raise awareness and find solutions on this issue, Fire Safe Europe (FSEU) and several partners conducted in 2014 façades tests in Croatia and Finland to show the difference in how different façade systems burned.

The following year, in 2015, Fire Safe Europe (FSEU) organised together with MEP Catherine Stihler a high-level discussion in the European Parliament to discuss construction methods under the Construction Products Regulation.

Following this, the European Commission DG GROW launched in early 2017 a study aimed at developing a European approach to assess the fire performance of building façades. The study published in late August 2018, proposes two approaches. One of the approach, the “proposed” approach, consists in the adoption of a British test (BS8414) and a German test (DIN 4102 part 20). The other approach, labelled in this study the “alternative” approach, was developed by the contractor, RISE, to address shortcomings presented by current approaches and offers strong improvements to the British and German test methods.

Fire Safe Europe (FSEU) organised on 26 October 2018 a webinar to explain what it is important to “choose the right method“. The webinar has addressed: which assessment method is better suited to assess the fire performance of facades in buildings and how important it is to have an assessment method that can adequately reflect real life fire scenarios. You can replay it on FSEU’s youtube channel.

Timeline and FSEU’s actions

FSEU’s position

Fire Safe Europe (FSEU) is strongly in favour of the “alternative” method as the “proposed” approach will not guarantee a good level of fire safety. FSEU also stresses that the two tests proposed in the “proposed” approach (BS8414 and DIN 4120-20) are both highly contested, especially for not replicating real-life conditions and not sufficiently representing external fire risks when assessing facade fire performance. Importantly, BS8414 is being revised in the UK and DIN 4102 part 20 has been supplemented with an additional test method in Germany. Keeping a testing method and classification based on BS8414 and DIN 4102 would give an unfair market competitive advantage to UK and Germany based companies. Additionally, it would increase costs and complexity, making it difficult for users to understand the classifications and limitations.

The “alternative” approach championed by FSEU offers strong improvements to the “proposed” approach. First and foremost, it would better reflect real-life fire scenarios, with improved performance criteria, a simpler and clearer classification system. For instance, secondary openings are included in the assessment, such as windows for façades.

FSEU believes the “alternative” approach is the one that will maximise EU citizens’ fire safety and should be tested through a Round Robin. FSEU will take advantage of the opportunity for EU member states to voice their opinion before final decision-making to support the “alternative” approach at national and European level.

FSEU Position Paper

Fire Safe Europe (FSEU) explains very well its position through a series of capsules titled “Once upon time”. Check them out on FSEU’s youtube channel.

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