Things worth knowing about fire testing


DBI carries out fire testing to document fire performance of components and constructions.

DBI has one of Europe’s most modern fire laboratories where we carry out all types of fire testing of materials, components and constructions for buildings, offshore and means of transportation, such as ships, trains, cars and aircrafts.

DBI also carries out preliminary tests in connection with, for instance, product development.

DBI sets great store by assuring our customers of an optimal testing process whereby test and classification reports are available at the right time and at as low a cost as possible.

Various testing methods and criteria are used depending on the specifications that have to be met. Therefore, it is crucial that a number of matters are clarified before the fire testing takes place so that the correct test is carried out.

We provide extensive valuable information in relation to fire testing. You can obtain further information under the description of tests carried out on the various types of constructions.

The necessary fire classification
With regard to construction products, it is above all important to know which fire technical classification the component or construction must have in order for it to be used for the intended purpose. It all depends on which product is involved and how and where it is to be used.

If so desired, DBI can help you determine the fire technical classification or the relevant fire performance requirements for a given product.

Scrutinize the construction
Often, there is presumed a certain reaction to fire performance of the products constituting the component of construction.

Therefore, as part of the testing and classification planning, the construction should be examined on the basis of the points below.

It is a good idea to go through the points in the order listed so that fire testing occurs at the end. This is because that part of the process is normally the most expensive and should not be carried out before all the other presumptions have been met.

Also, prior to the fire testing, it should be clarified whether the construction is subsequently to be certified or nationally approved (MK-approved) by ETA-Danmark.

A similar procedure should be applied in the case of products other than construction products.

1. Reaction to fire classification of all constituent products
First of all, look into the fire classification of all products that are to be used in the component/construction. Typically, this information is to be found in the supplier’s technical documentation.

For certain constructions, for example, a fire-division wall, it is typically presumed that the construction is classified as EI 60 A2-s1,d0. If you have not been able to establish that all constituent products are A2-s1,d0 beforehand, the construction cannot be used in places where a separating building element class EI 60 A2-s1,d0 are presumed..

2. Combustibility of insulation materials
In some cases it is presumed, that insulation materials have a certain reaction to fire performance, for instance, class B-s1,d0. Typically, this information is to be found in the supplier’s technical documentation.

3. The fire technical properties of the construction’s surfaces
In other cases it is presumed that the constructions external surface is executed as covering class K1 10 B-s1,d0 or as covering class K1 10 D-s2,d2 . See the supplier’s technical documentation.

4. The general fire resistance of the construction
This test is conducted by DBI in a furnace chamber. The objective is to document the length of time the construction will function as intended before it succumbs to fire. Therefore, the unit used to determine fire resistance is minutes, for example, 30, 60 or 120 minutes. The time is a measurement of how long the building component retains its load capacity, or the length of time that elapses before it is penetrated by fire. The test also measures the temperature on the side facing away from the fire and the amount of smoke that is able to penetrate the test item.

Do these requirements apply abroad too?
The requirements relating to components and constructions can differ from country to country – both within and outside Europe.

Therefore, it is important to consider potential markets before the test so that the testing process is able to obtain all the necessary information required in a single procedure. This will save you time and money.

DBI can, on the basis of its knowledge of standards and legislation, help you tailor your development and testing functions on the basis of which markets you want to break into and, consequently, which approvals you need.

Before the actual test
There is a number of other matters that have to be clarified if, following inspection of the construction, you decide to go ahead with the testing of fire resistance.

Is there a product standard?
If there is a harmonized European product standard for the component, any special procedures in it must be followed.

As a manufacturer, you must bear in mind that the product standard can contain specific requirements as to how test items for fire testing are sampled from the production. For products under system 1 the test items have to be sampled by a notified product certification body. In any case, a sampling report shall be provided together with the test items.

DBI also has methods for the fire testing of items to which no harmonized European product standard applies.

Which variants of the construction have to be covered by the classification?
If a component or construction is found in different variants, it is crucial that you consider the requirements for the different variants.

With a bit of forethought, it can often be possible to cover several variants with a single test.

Timetable
Bear in mind that fire testing takes time. Not least, it is imperative that you are in good time if it is important that the product can be put on the market at a specific time.

Normally it takes approximately 1-2 months from the time the test is planned until it can be carried out.

After the test, it will be approximately 1 month before the test report is available – and a further 1-2 months before any certificates are issued.

Consequently, the entire process can take 4-5 months, or longer if the product has to be modified along the way.

If the test item contains large amounts of hygroscopic materials (for example, cast plaster mass), the test item has to be conditioned for 30 days before the fire test.

Number of tests
Depending on the composition of the construction, it may be necessary to conduct several tests.

Extra test items or materials
DBI checks the composition of the construction prior to carrying out the test. Therefore, extra test items or materials may be required. Contact DBI beforehand to find out more about this.

Design material
Detailed design drawings of the test items must be prepared in order to verify their composition and for use in the test report

Dan Bluhme
Senior Advisor M.Sc. Civ.Eng

Phone : +45 21 77 02 48
Mail : db|dbi-net.dk


DBI
Jernholmen 12
DK-2650 Hvidovre
Tlf. +45 36 34 90 00
Fax +45 36 34 90 01
E-mail: dbi|dbi-net.dk

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