Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
Guidance on flame retardant systems
Keywords Building regulations, Standards, Fire safety
Building Regulations and Standards are designed to ratify that any product or system is adequately tested to ensure that it performs correctly in a fire and to assure safe passage of escape should such an event occur. If you own the building, however, the story is somewhat different. Not only must you be aware that the in situ fire protective measures are adequate; you must also understand how they will actually react in a fire.
This may appear an obvious statement, says Firespray International Ltd, but it is all too easy to install a product or system, which may seem to fulfil the requirements laid down, only to see it fail because other factors have conspired to bring about its failure to perform.
The company stresses that fire is one of life's great unpredictable elements and often strikes when least expected, in the most unlikely of places. Once established it can develop and spread with frightening speed. Perhaps two of the most graphic examples were the tragedies at Bradford City football stadium and King's Cross Station.
When required to specify a spread of flame product, the natural first stage step for most specifiers is to request a cross-section of proprietary data sheets from a range of specialist manufacturers to determine whether such products will address the particular requirement in hand. In an ideal world, says Firespray, all manufacturers would present their data in a unified manner to enable the reader to draw direct comparisons. Reality, of course, is usually very different with significant variation in data from product to product.
Making sense of such proprietary product information is not always the easiest of tasks. For example; what is the difference between "Reaction to fire" and "Fire resistance" properties?
In order to assist the specifier in interpreting the type of terminology used by the industry, Firespray International has produced a brief aide-mémoire of some of the more commonly used terms and what they actually mean. Copies can be obtained from: Firespray International Ltd, Douglas Drive, Carteshall Lane, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1JX. Tel: +44 (0) 1483 424712; Fax: +44 (0) 1483 413914.