EN 13501 Product Classifications


Posted: 9th November 2018

What is it?

The EN 13501 is a fire safety certification to which all construction products and building elements should be classified. The classification is recorded by collecting data from a variety of fire tests.

EN 13501 Product Classification determines a products fire performance by assessing characteristics such as, flame spread, ignitability, smoke production, heat release and capability to produce flaming droplets or particles. After completing these tests, the product is then classified from A1 to F.

After the Grenfell tower tragedy the construction products and building elements used, have been at the forefront of all designers and clients’ minds.

Implications for Rainscreen Cladding

One building material in particular that the EN 13501 Product Classification is causing implications for is rainscreen cladding. If a cladding design is made up of multiple layers each individual component or layer must be tested to either EN 1716 or EN 1182.

EN 1716 = this classification determines the potential maximum release of heat from a product when it has been entirely burned. Calculating the Gross Calorific Potential (PCS) in either MJ/kg or MJ/m2 does this.

EN1182 = this classification ensures that a product is non-combustible by a specimen burnt and ground.

If the total PCS of an individual component, such as an adhesive, has a PCS value which is greater than 3.0MJ.kg-1 the product cannot achieve an A2 classification. If this is the case, the best possible classification that can be achieved to the EN 13501, is a B.

So how are these classifications obtained for rainscreen cladding?

How is an EN 13501 Product Classification obtained?

The classifications that are most frequently applied to cladding are:

A1 = non combustible

A2 = limited combustibility

B = very limited contribution to fire

It is recommended that rainscreen cladding along the outer wall system of a building, which has a floor level above 18m, should achieve an A1 or A2 classification. The current approved document states that a Euroclass of B or better is considered an achievable rating. However, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government recently printed a consultation paper:

“Banning the use of combustible materials in the external walls of high-rise residential buildings”

This paper proposes that acceptable Euroclass should be changed so that A2 or better is considered an achievable rating.

At Metalline we offer a range of rainscreen cladding solutions. For more information on our rainscreen cladding solutions please contact us today or visit our ‘Rainscreen Cladding’ page.

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