Main image courtesy of Ignis Testing in Cape Town

New fire tests and classification are on the cards in South Africa, with the proposed revision of SANS 10400-T Fire Protection. It contains changes pertaining to the testing and classification of thermal insulation products.

This means that South African products will migrate from SANS 428 Fire performance classification of thermally insulated building envelope systems to SANS 53501-1 Fire classification of construction products and building elements – Part 1: Classification using data from reaction to fire tests.

It will be applicable to thermal insulation products and not all construction products.

Reason for change

Most locally manufactured products achieve a B/B1/2/H&V fire classification, with very little differentiation when classified according to SANS 428. The change will be in line with European standards to facilitate the free movement of trade in building products, by removing trade barriers due to differences in test methods and classification systems. It is a harmonised classification system, so each country still has its own building regulations/codes.

Once tested, thermal insulation manufactured in South Africa will now be on par with the “Euro-standard”, enabling trade across Europe.

Local manufacturers will have to retest to the new test standards to obtain a classification for their products.

The effective switchover date is 31 December 2023, which allows manufacturers ample time to retest their products.

Class and criteria

A combination of the tests is used to obtain a classification ranging from A1 (best) down to F (worst).

To obtain an A1 classification, SANS 10177-5 and SANS 1743 must be performed and the criteria in SANS 53501-1 must be met.

To obtain an A2 classification, SANS 53823 (SBI) must be performed, together with test(s) to SANS 10177-5 or SANS 1743. The test or combinations of SANS 10177-5 and SANS 1743 are required to obtain a classification which will normally be determined by the construction of the product and these results, together with those obtained on SANS 53823 (SBI), must meet the criteria in SANS 53501-1.

To obtain a B, C or D classification, SANS 11925-2 (ignitibility) and SANS 53823 (SBI) must be performed. The results obtained will designate the classification, depending on the criteria specified in SANS 53501-1.

To obtain an E classification, SANS 11925-2 must be performed and the criteria in SANS 53501-1 must be met. In addition, an E classification must also test to SANS 10177-11.

F is designated for a product that has no performance determined. A product is assigned an F if it fails to meet the minimum criteria for an E classification. An F classification would under no circumstances be allowed in an interior building application.

All the materials classified A2, B, C, D and E obtain an additional classification regarding the emission of smoke and the production of flaming droplets and/or particles, which is the following:

  • S: Smoke emission level, values range from 1 (absent/weak) to 3 (high).
  • D: Droplets, flaming and/or particles, values range from 0 (absent) to 2 (high).

Classification example

One example of the new classification might be as follows: A2-s1,d0.

The days are gone when a product is specified including the words “or similar”. Professionals will have to ensure that they specify the fire classification required in accordance with the relevant building occupancy classification.

Two “similar” products might have two very different fire classifications. The new classification also takes risk into consideration, whether a single-storey, double-storey or more.

For more information, contact TIPSASA:
Tel: +27 861 000 334
Email: info@tipsasa.co.za
Website: www.tipsasa.co.za

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