Our Commitments to Supporting
Fire Safety of Buildings

Kingspan is a leading global manufacturer of insulated panels and insulation boards. Across our Kingspan Insulation and Kingspan Insulated Panels businesses manufacturing these products sold in Britain, we have made the following commitments with respect to supporting fire safety in buildings:
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We are committed to ensuring the highest standards of fire performance in our products and systems through continuous R&D, extensive testing, rigorous production control, accurate product information underpinned by robust processes and technical support.

Continuous R&D 
As part of an ongoing commitment to fire safety and product development, we will shortly open a global facility dedicated to fire engineering research. Incorporating a comprehensive resource of fire science equipment and expertise, its mission is to support innovation in Kingspan products (with a key focus on insulation boards, technical insulation and insulated panel products) with respect to fire performance and furthermore to advance knowledge and understanding of how building materials, products and complete systems perform when subjected to fire. Based in North Wales, the centre will be open to visitors and will welcome research partnerships and collaboration from across industry and academia. It has been in design and construction since 2018 and is expected to open in late 2020.
 

 
Extensive fire testing with a key focus on system testing
Across Kingspan Group, we offer a full spectrum of insulation cores from advanced technologies such as QuadCore, Kooltherm phenolic insulation and Optim-R vacuum insulation through to traditional synthetic mineral fibre, in order to provide solutions to meet multiple regulatory requirements.

Kingspan Group has carried out in excess of 2,400 3rd party fire tests across our range of insulated panel, rainscreen facade and insulation board products and systems.

Buildings use a vast variety of construction methodologies and materials, leading to very different performance outcomes in the event of fire. Systems are more than just the sum of their parts. For this reason, we believe that system testing, rather than product testing, is the best way to predict the performance of a product in a real building fire scenario. This has strongly influenced Kingspan’s current and future testing programme for its insulation boards and insulated panel products across the world.


Production control with a key focus on quality and product management
Consistency and quality of manufacturing is key to upholding performance standard in our products. Our factories that manufacture Kingspan insulation board and insulated panel products sold in Britain are independently certified and regularly audited to a range of ISO management system standards, and others, relevant to our business. We proactively utilise these management systems to ensure continuous improvement as we strive for best practice in our operations. These include, but are not limited to, ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment), ISO 45001 (health & safety). By year end, all factories will also have ISO 50001 (energy). In addition, some of our sites are certified to BES 6001 (responsible sourcing). 

 
Accurate, complete and transparent product information and marketing underpinned by robust processes
Kingspan is a participant in the CPA’s Marketing Information Group, a working group developing an industry-wide code of practice for product information, whether verbal, printed or in a digital format. This code will cover the provision of information that supports or promotes a product throughout its lifecycle, from product performance claims, installation instructions, through to maintenance documents and decommissioning information. Furthermore, the code will require that information to be wholly accurate, not misleading, in plain language, up to date and underpinned by robust processes including version control and internal training. We are fully committed to supporting this vital initiative of the CPA which is expected to be completed in late 2020.

Where 3rd party testing and accreditation is in place for Kingspan’s insulated panels and insulation boards sold in Britain, we link, wherever technically possible to do so, directly to the third party’s website from our website product pages. This helps to ensure transparency with respect to any limitations or parameters that exist with that approval, in instances where such limitations are published. All product performance claims relating to fire are subject to regular cross-functional reviews.

Kingspan Insulation and Kingspan Insulated Panels in Britain are also committed to publishing all of our BS 8414 system test reports & BR 135 assessments for systems which incorporate our standard insulated panel or insulation board products. This includes tests where the system does not meet the requirements of BR 135. The full register of these BS 8414 system tests can be found here.

In addition, our Group-wide Code of Conduct sets out expectations for all employees across Kingspan Group with respect to clear and honest business communications, including specific guidance for communication of product and service information.
 
Technical support through the stages from design to construction
We have technical teams in Britain who advise on the testing and approvals that our insulated panel and insulation board products have been subjected to, so that specifiers and others have the information they need to specify the appropriate solution.

Any enquiries relating to the use of our insulated panel or insulation board products in high-rise buildings in Britain are managed by dedicated teams in Kingspan Insulated Panels and Kingspan Insulation respectively.

 
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We are committed to playing our part in implementing the recommendations of the Hackitt Review, with a particular focus on enabling the Golden Thread and supporting enhanced competency.

Enabling the Golden Thread 

In her final report[1], Dame Judith called for “Transparency of information and an audit trail all the way through the life cycle of a building from the planning stage to occupation and maintenance is essential to provide reassurance and evidence that a building has been built safe and continues to be safe”.

To support this aim, and in addition to the commitment to the provision of accurate product information outlined above, Kingspan has embarked on a programme to digitalise all of its key insulation board and insulated panel products and develop tools for building designers to easily access accurate and up to date information. It will ultimately become a fully integrated system ensuring that any changes to products are automatically updated across our platforms and tools.

The intent is to create a fully integrated “single source of truth” which among other outputs, will facilitate a digital building passport which would hold a complete record of Kingspan products used in a building’s design and construction. The first step towards this particular goal has been taken with the launch of the Kingspan BIM Designer tool in Britain which creates BIM objects of a selection of insulated panels and façade systems for architects to use in their building designs. This is being rolled out for all key insulation boards and insulated panels sold in Britain, and over time for multiple products across Kingspan Group.
 
Supporting Enhanced Competency
Dame Judith also wrote in her final report that; “the lack of a coherent and comprehensive approach to competence can seriously compromise the fire safety of HRRBs, for example, where decisions are taken and/or materials are installed by people who do not fully understand the implications of how to achieve good quality building work, and the implications of getting it wrong.”

As a manufacturer, we are committed to supporting appropriate decisions and installation through:
  • Accurate and transparent product marketing and labelling with respect to fire tests as outlined above, plus technical support from dedicated technical teams regarding product information
  • Proactive industry education about the fire tests our products are subjected to in the form of CPDs and e-learning.
  • Our Kingspan Assured programme which supports our insulation board products sold in Britain across four key areas: Roles & Responsibilities; Regulation & Guidance; Quality Assurance and Competence
  • Our Kingspan Installer Training programme which supports our insulated panel products sold in Britain with installation training by our field-service team. Over the past 5 years, in excess of 4,500 people have attended Kingspan Academy courses.
 
[1] Building a Safer Future – Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report
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We are committed to ongoing investment in large-scale and intermediate-scale system testing as we believe it is the appropriate way to assess fire peformance of products.

Buildings take infinite shapes and forms, while using a very wide variety of materials, products and systems. System tests show that system performance depends on the nature and arrangement of the products of which the system comprises, and how they interact with each other. Systems are more than just the sum of their parts. System testing addresses this, product testing doesn’t.

For this reason, we firmly believe that large-scale system testing is the appropriate way to assess the performance of any given roof or wall system. These very rigorous tests, which aim to replicate real life fire scenarios at a large-scale using a complete wall or roof system with the exact products and installation methods that are proposed, are specifically designed to assess the risk of fire spread and/or penetration. Some systems incorporating Kingspan’s advanced insulated panels and insulation boards perform very well in these rigorous tests, but others will not. It is equally true that some systems that include non-combustible insulation will also fail. This demonstrates the need for a performance-based approach based on large-scale system testing, rather than reliance on small-scale tests of products in isolation.
 

Please contact us if you have any questions
relating to the fire performance of our products