Three key properties need to be considered when determining the fire safety performance of a building material: Reaction to Fire
; Fire Resistance; and Fire Spread.
What is fire resistance?
Fire resistance is the property of a single material or assembly to withstand fire and continue to perform its given function and / or provide containment of a fire for a specified period of time. Thus, when this concept is applied to elements such as walls and floors etc., these building elements must resist the fire itself and keep the fire from spreading for a minimum periof of time as tested.
Each element has its own fire resistance properties, regardless of the reaction to fire classification.
Once a contained building fire has reached the point of flashover you need to rely on building elements with high fire resistance properties to protect the rest of the building from fire spread. Therefore, with regards to fire safety, the building elements must maintain their integrity and act as a partition to contain flames, smoke and heat to the original compartment.