In 2016/17 there were 261 fire-related fatalities and approximately 7,100 non-fatal casualties in fires in the UK at non-residential dwellings.¹
Selection of wall sheets and systems is a vital decision when designing or refurbishing a building for both safety and aesthetic purposes. Internal wall linings are a critical factor in the spread of fire and it gaining hold and consideration must be given to the fire rating and resistance to fire of any product being considered for specification. This is of particular importance in circulation areas where it can prevent escape.
However, the fire rating of wall lining material can be overlooked, and whilst you might assume the sheets you have chosen, or are installing, would perform to the highest standards, should the worst happen it’s not always the case. Consideration should be given as to how it will react with other parts of the wall construction, since the substrate and adhesive can have an effect on the overall fire rating of the system.
As stipulated in the Approved Document B of the Building Regulations² you must ensure the fire resistance of your wall covering meets the required level for the environment into which it is installed.
The fire rating for wall linings varies by area of the building. However, in order to be used in public areas and circulation spaces wall linings need to achieve the following ratings to ensure they are safe and compliant:
- EN 13501 Class B-s3 d2
- BS 476 Part 7 Class 1 and BS 476 Part 6 Class 0
The Altro Whiterock system has been designed to give you confidence and peace of mind with a Class 0 fire rating when used as described in the installation guide. Our systems can be trusted to do the job in high risk areas such as commercial kitchens as well as general use areas.
Sometimes fire tests are not aligned with the wall system you are buying. To be confident, carry out the following measures ensuring the fire certificate:
- Relates to the wall system you are about to purchase and install. Is it the same system and the same thickness as specified in the fire certificate?
- Has the test been conducted as per your installation method?
- Is the fire certificate for sheet only? Don’t get caught out as having the wrong adhesive or no adhesive at all can invalidate your fire certificate.
- Is the recommendation for adhesive quantities in the installation guide aligned with the fire certificate?
- Is the substrate on which the wall lining is to be applied of equal or greater fire rating to that used to test the product? If not, you could be in trouble again.
With Altro you can rest assured that our wall systems are fully compliant and our Technical Services team can provide you with guidance if you have any form of doubt.
¹www.gov.uk Home Office, ‘Focus on trends in fires and fire related fatalities’
²www.gov.uk Approved Document B (fire safety) volume 2: buildings other than dwelling houses (2006 edition incorporating the 2010 and 2013 amendments)