FIRE PROTECTION

FIRE PROTECTION:

Fire performance testing for interior decoration and upholstery materials.

The inherent characteristics of the materials used in interior decorating and their wide variety of applications represent a potential fire risk, in terms of the ignition, propagation and spread of a fire.

At AITEX, we perform a range of fire performance evaluation tests on materials, such as curtains and drapes, upholstered furniture, bedding, etc. depending on the use for which they have been designed, in compliance with the different applicable European, international and American safety standards for each product type.

AITEX also performs the BS “Furniture & Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1988” for the sale of upholstered furniture.

 

Fire performance testing for construction products

In 1988 the EC published European Directive 89/106/EEC covering construction products.

Since then, AITEX has performed classification tests in compliance with the Directive on all types of construction products, depending on their end use. This includes specific testing for all applications related to wall and ceiling coverings, flooring and insulation for plumbing.

The relevant fire performance tests are specified by each product standard and classification is obtained after evaluating a range of parameters, including calorific value, the degree of a material’s combustibility, smoke emission and whether or not the material drips while burning.

Materials are classified as A1 or A2, B, C, D, E and F, (followed by the suffixes “fl” for flooring and “L” for pipe insulation), where A1 is the highest rating and F the lowest.

Smoke emission ratings are classified: s1 (low), s2 (medium) and s3 (high).

Similarly, dripping and particle emissions are classified thus: d0 absence of flaming drips; d1 burning time < 10 s; and d2 burning time > 10 s. this parameter is not considered during the testing of floor coverings.

Fire performance testing for automotive materials

This group of materials includes those used in shipping, aerospace, rail transport and materials used on the interiors of certain classes of motor vehicles in compliance with the different standards demanded by the IMO (International Maritime Organization), FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), EN (European Standards), etc.

At AITEX, tests are performed on the different types of materials used by the transport sector. In addition to understanding how easily these materials ignite, tests are also performed to evaluate the quantity, opacity and toxicity of the smoke emitted during a fire.

Evaluating the fire risk of electro-technical products

Evaluating the fire risk posed by electrical components is a vital element of electro-technical safety: components may be subjected to extreme temperature changes, and any deterioration may compromise the safety of the equipment they are installed on. It is also important to evaluate the performance of materials which may reach operating temperatures high enough to cause a fire in adjacent components or critical structural defects.

Tests performed on these types of materials include:

  • A glow-wire ignitability test, which is applicable to materials used on electro-technical equipment exposed to high temperatures to determine their ignition temperature.
  • Bunsen and needle flame characterisation tests, applicable to materials used on electro-technical equipment exposed to ignition sources.
  • Ball pressure test, applicable to spacing materials or materials which must preserve their integrity when exposed to prolonged high temperatures.

Evaluation of the flammability of toys

AITEX is an approved fire-testing laboratory for testing the flammability of a toy. The laboratory can evaluate the safety of materials used in the manufacture of a range of different toys to the latest safety standards.

The laboratory is also approved by the American Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for the evaluation of the flammability of children’s pyjamas.

 

CERTIFYING MARINE EQUIPMENT

The SOLAS Convention (Safety of Life at Sea) of 1974 establishes a series of safety guidelines and laws relating to the construction, equipping and use of vessels. The Convention uses the laws laid down in the FEP Code (Fire Exposure Procedures). AITEX is committed to becoming a leading centre in the nautical field and the Institute is already accredited by the IMO to perform fire testing.

AITEX is a European Controlling Organisation and is approved to perform “WHEELMARK” homologation for products and articles used in the marine transport of people in compliance with the EU Directive on Marine Equipment (MarED) 2014/90/EU published by the European Parliament and the Committee on Marine Equipment. The Institute is certified to issue EC Certificates of Type (Module B), product verification (Module F) and Production Quality Assurance (Module D)

 

FIRE REACTION CERTIFICATE FOR BUILDING MATERIALS

Since 2007, AITEX has been approved for the issuing of Initial Type certificates for the fire performance of building materials, in accordance with EC Directive 89/106/EEC, superseded by Royal Decree 314/2006, as well as the new Building Products Code 305/2011.

Any material used on a building, including wall, floor and ceiling coverings and insulating material for plumbing must comply with EC laws and this means they must declare a fire performance rating as well as other requirements included in each of the appropriate product codes in addition to the EC mark.