What is BS 8414?

28 May 2019 Kingspan Insulation UK
BS 8414

 

BS 8414 is a large-scale reaction to fire  test developed specifically to assess the performance of complete cladding systems in application. The test is designed to replicate a fire which has begun in a room, reached flashover and broken out through a window exposing the external façade to fire. 

It has two parts, both using the same testing methodology:
  • Part 1: 2002 (Test methods for non-loadbearing external cladding systems applied to the face of a building)
  • Part 2: 2005 (Test method for non-loadbearing external cladding systems fixed to and supported by a structural steel frame). 

Performance criteria for assessing cladding systems tested using BS 8414 is contained within BR 135 (Fire performance of external thermal insulation for walls of multi-storey buildings). At present complete cladding assemblies which meet these criteria can be deemed compliant with the relevant Building Regulations and Standards in England, Scotland and Wales for the following high-rise applications:

Scotland & Wales — all building with a habitable storey 18 metres or more above ground level.
England — commercial buildings with a habitable storey 18 metres or more above ground level.

What happens in the BS 8414 test?

The test uses a two-winged rig at least 8 metres in height with a main face that is at least 2.4 m wide along with a min 1.2 m wide side wing. The cladding system under assessment is installed on both walls of the rig as it will be in the final application (including all joints, seals and fire breaks). Temperature sensors (thermocouples) are installed within the system at set heights (seen in diagram) and a 2x2 m wooden crib is placed at the base of the main face. 
BS 8414 Test Configuration
BS 8414 2
During the test, the combustion chamber is ignited and allowed to burn for 30 minutes (or until flame spread exceeds the height or width of the rig) producing a peak heat release of around 4.5 MW. The chamber is then extinguished, and the rig is monitored for a further 30 minutes before being extinguished.
 
During the test, the start time (ts) for fire spread is initiated when the temperature recorded at any level 1 sensor equals or exceeds a 200°C rise above the start temperature (Ts) for a period of at least 30 seconds.
The test primarily measures fire spread with both BS8414 part 1 and 2 requiring a test to be terminated if flames spread beyond the external limits of the rig. In addition, a cladding system will not receive classification under the performance criteria within BR135 if the temperature rise at Level 2 exceeds 600°C above the start temperature (Ts) for longer than 30 seconds in the first 15 minutes after the start time (ts).
 
BR135 Classification

BS 8414 provides a rigorous assessment of cladding systems with a high level of confidence that systems classified under BR135 are safe to use in high-rise and high-risk buildings.
 
It is important to note that the classification applies solely to the complete external façade system which has been tested.
 
The BRE holds a public register of BR 135 classified external cladding systems completed at their test lab, which can be viewed at: www.bre.co.uk/regulatory-testing.

You can download the full testing standard from the British Standards Institution shop:
BS 8414-1:2015+A1:2017, Fire performance of external cladding systems. Test method for non-loadbearing external cladding systems applied to the masonry face of a building
BS 8414-2:2015+A1:2017, Fire performance of external cladding systems. Test method for non-loadbearing external cladding systems fixed to and supported by a structural steel frame

 

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