CPD: Understanding the Reaction to Fire Classification System

Understanding the Reaction to Fire Classification System

Understanding the Reaction to Fire Classification System:
How material choice can minimise risk and contribute to a robust fire safety strategy

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This CPD includes the following topics:

  • The difference between Reaction to Fire and Fire Resistance
  • The importance of the Reaction to Fire Classification System
  • How insulation products are tested and classified
  • Where specifiers can find Fire Classification of insulation products
  • The differences between the various classifications used within the
  • European Reaction to Fire Classification System (A1, A2, B, C, D, E, F)
  • Minimising risk through material choice

Fire regulations have arguably never been more in the spotlight. Material selection and specification is integral to a robust fire strategy. High quality build specifications and material choices can not only minimise building damage but can also save lives.

Following the Grenfell Disaster in 2017, the RIBA released a statement on design for fire safety issues which included the following observation:

For a number of years concerns have been raised by RIBA members and other experts about aspects of the regulatory and procurement regime for buildings in the UK. [including …] Developments in building procurement approaches which mean that the Lead Designer (architect or engineer) is no longer responsible for oversight of the design and the specification of materials and products from inception to completion of the project, with design responsibility often transferred to the contractor and sub-contractors, and no single point of responsibility.

The marked increase in design and build contracts, along with increasing pressure for contractors and sub-contractors to reduce costs has subsequently led to an increase in product substitutions. There is a question however, as to whether this product substitution compromises build quality and ultimately occupant safety.

Aims of this CPD:

This CPD aims to provide specifiers with sufficient knowledge of Reaction to Fire ratings to inform material specification decisions, and to enable proper assessments in response to any request to substitute products, and demonstrates how material choice can play a critical role as part of an effective fire safety strategy.

RIBA 2018 Core Curriculum areas:

Architecture for social purpose:

  • Ethics of architecture, construction and business management
  • Fire safety strategy and legislation 

Health, safety and wellbeing:

  • Project hazards and risks
  • Fire during construction and in use

Legal, regulatory and statutory compliance:

  • Fire safety strategy and legislation

Sustainable architecture:

  • Understanding of legislation
  • Fire safety strategy and legislation

Inclusive environments:

  • Understanding of legislation, regulations and best practice
  • Fire safety strategy and legislation

 Design, construction and technology:

  • Legislative framework
  • Fire safety strategy and legislation

Learning outcomes:

  • An understanding of the differences between the various classifications within the European Reaction to Fire Classification System. i.e. what is the difference between an A1 and F rating in real terms?
  • An appreciation of the fact that products manufactured using the same material may have different Reaction to Fire Classifications
  • An understanding of how to find information relating to the Reaction to Fire Classification of a given product
  • An appreciation of the differences between Reaction to Fire and Fire Resistance, and an understanding of the subsequent impacts on material specification and building design
  • How material choice can play a crucial role in an effective fire safety strategy

Make an enquiry about this CPD