PIR insulation products meet a wide range of fire performance requirements as stipulated by Building Regulations and the Insurance Industry.
Fire safe buildings are a fundamental expectation of the modern built environment and with modern and sophisticated building products widely available, there is no need to compromise fire safety in order to deliver all important characteristics necessary for the built environment in the 21st Century.
Statistically, incidents of fires continue to reduce across the UK. However, it is unlikely that fire will ever be fully eradicated from the built environment, therefore finding and implementing effective fire safety solutions is imperative.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to fire statistics. Reported information varies across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but overall dwelling fire rates have continued to decline in each nation of the UK.
The majority of dwelling fires start inside buildings igniting the building contents and are extinguished before ever involving the building fabric.
It is believed that most fires in residential buildings are preventable. Fire safety in buildings requires an holistic approach from preventing the start of any fire to containing and extinguishing it.
A building is made up of many different products, both combustible and non-combustible, which when combined as a system can deliver high fire safety performance. Therefore analysing only the individual performance of each component does not give an accurate picture of its overall performance when combined with other products to make a system.
There are some important considerations to be made when specifying and installing products such as ensuring that:
- Products and systems are used in accordance with relevant regulations, standards and manufacturers’ guidelines.
- The products specified are actually used and are not substituted for apparently similar products which can lead to significant unintended consequences.
- That products are installed by a competent workforce and that installations are checked on site to ensure that the work has been carried out correctly.
In most construction applications, insulation products are not exposed to any fire risk or are protected by non-combustible materials (for example cavity wall insulation is protected externally by the outer substrate and internally by blocks) and combustibility is not an issue.
PIR insulation products are used across a wide range of applications providing exceptional benefits; however, individual products offer different levels of fire performance depending on their end-use application. It is important to ensure that the right product is used in the right end-use application. Recommendations and advice on specific products can be obtained by contacting the individual manufacturing members of IMA.
The term combustible is often confused with the word flammable, but there is a very important and crucial distinction between these two terms, which mistakenly have become interchangeable. Flammable materials, usually only liquids and gases, are those materials that can be easily ignited and self-sustain a flame after exposure, whereas the combustibility of a product only relates to its gross calorific value not its flammability, so products can be combustible but not flammable.
When used correctly combustible materials can continue to be used safely as they have a crucial role to play in helping buildings meet a range of performance criteria.