A1-rated panel exceeds fire test guidelines

Fire safety in buildings is right at the top of the priority list for developers, architects, funders and the eventual occupiers. A series of high profile fires in recent years have highlighted how safety needs to be given a greater focus. Likewise, as the construction and property sector strives for greater sustainability, fire safety has a major role to play in that conversation too.

The government review of the Building Regulations around fire safety is ongoing and focussed on high rise buildings in particular. One of the most important recommendations has already resulted in a ban on combustible materials in the external walls of buildings above 18m (or 11m in Scotland), and it is possible that this will become even more stringent in future.

These changing regulations mean that all materials and products used in the make up of external walls for tall buildings comprised of one or more dwellings are required to meet European fire classification A1 or A2-s1, d0. 

The definitions of A1 and A2 standards are as follows:

  • A2 – If construction products produce no contribution to fire, but have the potential to produce some smoke or flaming droplets
  • A1 – Materials that cannot contribute to fire at any stage, including a fully-developed fire

Everyone involved with building needs to be aware of the need to specify these materials going forward. To make sure that you are using the right materials, look for the following standards being met as they show a product’s resistance to fire:

  • BS EN 13501-1-2018 – Fire classification of construction products and building elements.
  • BS 476-22-1987 – Procedure for determining the fire resistance of non-loadbearing elements of building construction when subjected to heating and pressure conditions.

There is not a huge range of products which can achieve the highest standards of fire safety, especially in the world of wall build ups – both externally as mentioned before, and internally where plasterboard is used widely. Due to its makeup, plasterboard cannot achieve A1 fire rating status in most cases.

Funders are already moving ahead of the law and specifying that A1-rated fire resistant materials should be used where possible. Without them, a building is not future-proof and cannot be considered truly sustainable.

Specwall A1-rated panel

To meet this need, Specwall has developed an A1-rated wall panel for the construction industry. Our A2-rated panel has a standard fire rating of at least two hours, meaning that it meets current regulations and will continue to do so even. Our A1 panel is designed to meet and exceed them, even if they are tightened in the future, making it the ideal choice to add longevity to your project.

We are delighted to announce that our A1 panel has passed the most recent fire tests with flying colours following the completion of a 3 hour 30 minute test. The testing was carried out at an independent, fully qualified fire testing house.

Key technical information about our A1 panel is as follows:

  • No flammable material in the panel
  • Cannot contribute to a fire at any stage
  • Same weight and strength as standard A2-rated panel
  • 100m depth, single-layer system
  • Simple, integrated, stand-alone
  • Price competitive with SFS or blockwork alternatives

This fantastic testing result for our A1 panels is in addition to our 75mm A2 panel which is fire rated for 2 hours and the 100mm A2 panel which is fire rated for 3 hours.

Want to learn more about Specwall, its fire testing results and how it can contribute to making your development safer and more sustainable? Get in touch with our team today by clicking here.

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