Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order)

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and PIR/PUR Products

IMA is concerned about the misuse of statistics in relation to the RRO, some of which imply that unless all buildings are built with non-combustible insulation then they pose a greater fire risk.

It is well known that it is building contents involved in a fire which give rise to the highest risk and that good risk management is concerned with a whole range of issues, of which the building fabric is just one amongst many which should be taken into account.

IMA represents UK manufacturers of rigid polyurethane (PUR) and polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation, which has played an important role in improving the insulation performance of many buildings in the UK.

In over 50 years of use of rigid PIR/PUR insulation, IMA has no evidence that fumes from these products in any fires involving the building envelope, have contributed to fire related deaths.

Whilst as an association IMA fully supports any moves which will lead to a reduction in fatalities or injuries related to fire, IMA is also keen to ensure that statistics are not misinterpreted to give an unfair advantage to a particular product group, or to malign highly efficient and low risk insulation materials.

A report by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) (ABI Technical briefing on sandwich panels) states that “external claddings that are LPCB approved to LPS 1181 can be regarded as satisfying the original grade 2 construction rules or be classified as non-combustible buildings (Note: This grading does not imply that the material is non-combustible)”. Other applications of PIR/PUR insulation products are in cavity wall and roof insulation, amongst others, and all manage to comply with the relevant parts of the UK legislation, and present a very low risk. These products are amongst the most thermally efficient insulation materials known, and are needed to help in the continued efforts to reduce the UK CO2 emissions.

For more information on the Fire Safety Order in relation to steel faced panels, please visit the EPIC website  (EPIC is the trade association which represents the manufacturers of metal faced insulation specifically)