Flame Retardant Standards
Being able to establish whether building materials are flammable is a key area of consideration during construction. In the EU and all over, flammability tests vary from state to state and consequently fire safety regulations vary from country to country. This guide will help you understand flame retardant certifications in the UK.
It has been shown statistically that damages resulting from fire tragedies in houses, hotels and school can get worse when combined with flammable upholstery. Even worse, most fires can easily start when a flammable fabric or whichever material accidentally ignite by flame or scorching. Mainly what causes fire can be a cigarette butt or a matchstick, and for this reason proper fire standards are put in place to minimise inferno damages.
In The United Kingdom
Intense scrutiny of building materials has kicked off here since the Grenfell blaze. It was such an unexpected tragedy and could have been negated through the cladding that was fire proof. What if the lives of the victims could have been saved if the constructors used a fireproof clad? Many Brits often always have this assumption that if a product has been approved by several safety regulators, that it’s actually safe for them. The tragedy can explain itself; the cladding that was used at Grenfell was plastic or in other words flammable, but in real sense had been approved by a certified authority. Yes, it had passed the safety regulations but the regulations were not strict enough in respect to fire proofing.
Difference between the DIN and EN Flame Retardant Test
DIN and EN flame test are methods of analysing flammability of construction materials, fabrics and upholsters.
Heat is involved in both tests, but in varying degree of intensity and exposure time. Once a material has successfully gone through any of the test, it is deemed to be flame retardant certified. The following points will help you see the difference between the two certifications.
Also referred to as the ‘brandSchacht = fire shaft’, is the main and best flammability standard in the world of upholstery and fabrics. By this method you can test the reaction of fabric to heat.
B1 or brandschacht 1 technically means fire shaft which is the main apparatus used in this technique. The shaft is a cuboid housing with burners; the material is held in a supporting frame and exposed to the flames for up to 10 minutes. From the bottom side, a constant airflow must be maintained for those ten minutes.
After the test is performed, a set of questions are formulated for test evaluation. What is the smoke gas temperature? What is the mean residual length?
Mean residual length refers to the mean length of the material that escaped the scorch. This is very important in DIN flame retardant verification. For any material to be certified as BI it must perform as follows;
Mean gas temperature: anything above 200 ͦ is perfect.
Above 150mm of residual length with a remnant of the material not being completely burned is also perfect.
EN Flame Retardant Certification
If you need your building material and upholstery fabric to be verified for a certification that can be used all over the EU, this is the best option. EN flame certification is made up of 2 classes and is the best for curtains and drapes all over the EU. You can choose between the following EN flame retardant certificates
EN 1021 is a valid standard in the EU and examines the reaction of fabric to butane or cigarette burns or fires. This very standard can be used in place of other state certificates, that is BS 5852 certificates in the UK and DIN 54342 certificates in Germany.
The test is conducted in a way to simulate the home setup of a couch. A rig is setup where two fabrics and foam blocks are placed in perpendicular manner. A 90 degree angle is paramount for the test as this ensures a permanent contact of the butane flame or cigarette and the back and the seat of the rig. Another provision that is compulsory is a water soak prior to the test.
EN 1021 Is In Two Parts.
EN 1021 part 1–This takes an hour to complete. This is because the cigarette must be left to burn and ash to its entirety in between the foam blocks. For the whole 60 minutes, the lighted stuff should be placed at the right angle of the rig. After a successful test, the fabric should then be observed.
EN 1021 part 2 – In part 2, the butane flame replicates a lighted match. Having set up the rig, bring the butane flame at the 90 degrees angle between the seat and back. Expose the flame for approximately 10-15 seconds and observe. After a successful test, no burn should occur on the fabric even after 2 minutes of exposure.
After the Grenfell incident, you wouldn’t want to take fire safety for a joke. Fire safety is very important precaution in any construction but in public areas such as schools, hospitals, bars and hotels, it’s the law. Ensuring that the fabricator that treats your material is certified is the major key here. With the standard discussed here at least you can get an idea of the right certification to go for.
Choice and preference should determine what to go for, but the German DIN and the European EN method of testing produce the strongest and best flame retardant materials. With EnCaPS, you can easily acquire DIN + EN certified materials. Make the right choice and go for fire retardant certified materials that will guarantee safety.