How are Sika addressing the insistence and necessity of more extensive fire performance testing?
As architects, clients, building control and other specifiers are rightly insisting on fire test certification that directly reflects the exact roofing system being installed, we understand the importance of the role of Extended Application Assessments (EXAP) testing and how Sika can help.
Without question, today’s roofing industry is experiencing a greater focus on the fire performance of roofing systems than ever before. This is partly due to regulatory changes but also down to improved standards and expectations across the industry, with clients, building owners and insurers wanting to also satisfy their own criteria.
The regulations are reasonably clear stating that, in general, roof systems must be classified to BS EN 13501-5 BROOF(t4); the exception being ‘attachments’ on buildings over a certain height (18m in England and Wales, and 11m in Scotland), where the insulation must be non-combustible. However, it is easy to see where the waters can be muddied by an almost infinite amount of possible roof build ups.
Sika has sought to anticipate and meet this challenge by providing assurance through an evidence-based certification, spanning the entire breadth of its single-ply range. That way, whichever system, product, or membrane technology was being proposed, there would be proven evidence that it satisfied the regulatory requirements. As a result, Sika made the decision to take its already extensive fire testing to another level with the use of Extended Application Assessments (EXAP).
Whilst achieving this level of range-wide certification involved significant time and financial investment, Sika chose to play an active role in demonstrating fire performance for the greater good of the industry.
Uncovering the role of Extended Application (EXAP)
No-one should now offer a view on fire performance without direct test evidence to back up and claims. Evidence has to be provided that a proposed roof system will comply with regulatory requirements from an accredited third-party certification body. Working with Warringtonfire, Sika embarked on a project to cover as far as was practicable a full range of system permutations.
With tests and test data extrapolations only able to be done by accredited fire test houses, it became clear that there was already an established and recognised solution to cover the myriad of roofing systems that Sika offers. Fire tests on individual roofs/roof coverings are now carried out in accordance with CEN/TS1187, the results from this testing are then classified in accordance with EN13501-5.
CEN/TS 16459 External fire exposure of roofs and roof coverings - Extended applications of test results from CEN/TS 1187 provides bodies like Warringtonfire with methodology or ‘rules’ for optimising the number of tests required to cover the maximum field of application.
This methodology is what’s commonly termed as ‘EXAP’ – Extended Application, while CEN/TS 16459 provides the means to classify a range of permutations to EN13501-5.
Far from an easy way out of testing, the process is still actually very demanding because it still involves physical testing to CEN/TS1187 and of course this must still be passed.
However, it does allow for tests to be done in increments and to then cover the range in between.
Sika Single Ply Membranes and Beyond
Sika can now present test certification from a third-party test body to demonstrate that Sika PVC and FPO single-ply membrane with 50mm+ PIR and Mineral wool on common substrates achieves BROOF(t4).
Consequently Sika can demonstrate and facilitate regulatory compliance for fire safety and satisfy current market demand for fire test certification that directly reflects the exact permutation of system being installed.
Having this comprehensive BROOF(t4) classification - which indicates the highest external fire performance for roofs - means that specifiers and other stakeholders can use Sika Single-Ply Membrane on their roofing projects with a very high degree of confidence, assured that they are complying with fire regulations.
Not only is it a clear way forward in terms of mitigating roof fire risk, but it is also a great step towards helping support those with the heavy responsibility of ensuring people’s safety by increasing the confidence and reassurance specifiers are looking for.
"“The market has become acutely aware of fire safety and it is looking to Sika to help. We have seen for a while now that specifiers, architects, clients and building control are increasingly insisting on fire test certificates that directly reflect the exact system being installed. As it is very problematic to test every single permutation of a system, when you factor in multiple substrate types, insulation thickness and membrane type/thicknesses, EXAP testing through an independent body allows us to cover most variations of the system being installed. With Sika Single-Ply roof systems classified as BROOF(t4), we’re able to demonstrate and facilitate regulatory compliance for fire safety and satisfy current market demand." Dean Grady - Senior Product Engineer