CPD: Understanding the Reaction to Fire Classification System

Fire Protection
Understanding the Reaction to Fire Classification System

How material choice can minimise risk and contribute to a robust fire safety strategy

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

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 2019 Core Curriculum areas:

Learning Outcomes

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.

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