Posted on 14/01/2020 in 2020
Jürgen Troitzsch

Jürgen Troitzsch, consultant, summarised trends in fire safety standards. Increasingly, standards are designed to allow fire safety to be achieved by different approaches: use of inherently fire resistant materials, fire barriers or flame retardants. Key sectors where standards developments are ongoing are construction, furniture and cars and buses. In construction, fire safety requirements in tall buildings are being tightened following the Grenfell fire: e.g. the ban on combustible façade materials in buildings > 18 m in the UK (see pinfa Newsletter n°108) The EU is currently developing a new large-scale test for façade materials and the US (via the IBC, International Building Code) is expected to amend its NFPA 285 large-scale façade test in light of the lessons learnt from the Grenfell fire.. For furniture, discussions are still underway in the UK (see pinfa Newsletter n°109) but the recent room tests funded by the North American Fire Retardant Association show that FRs are effective, delaying flashover from 4-5 to 17 minutes, and delaying the time before smoke emission and reducing total smoke emission and smoke toxicity (Blais et al. 2019, see pinfa Newsletter n°104). For automotive, the NHTSA SwRI study (see Hennessey 2017) on possible revision of FMVSS 302 (1972, vertical burning requirement for automotive interiors) is expected in coming months. For buses and coaches, UNECE R118 is applicable worldwide since 2014, and although slightly more demanding than previous standards, is still considerably weaker than fire safety requirements for railways (but UNECE R118 does allow the more stringent ISO 5658-2 test to be used on a voluntary basis).

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