What is the LPCB?

  • Est Time: 20 mins
Read our blog below to learn more about LPCB, don't forget to test you've understood everything by taking the short quiz afterwards.

The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) is an independent certification body operated by BRE Global. It provides third party approval of the fire and security performance of products and services to a range of global standards including its own Loss Prevention Standards (LPS). It is primarily used by the insurance industry.

Brief History of the LPCB
The LPCB can trace its history back to 1868 when the Fire Offices’ Committee (FOC) was formed by major insurance companies in the UK. The association enabled the insurance industry to share expertise on fire and to standardise best practice. In the 1880s the body produced its first list of approved products. Over the course of the next century, the body steadily grew its testing expertise and in 1984 its technical department was merged with the Insurers Technical Bureau and the Fire Insurers Testing Organisation to form the Loss Prevention Council (LPC). The LPC went on to form the LPCB with the FOC’s approval schemes becoming the Loss Prevention Standards (LPS). In 2000, BRE Certification (now BRE Global) took over operation of the Board.

What is the difference between LPCB testing and those used within the Building Regulations?
As an insurer approval standard, the LPCB certification takes a fundamentally different approach to assessing fire performance when compared with the European and National classes used within the Building Regulations and Standards.

The focus of the European and National classes is on ensuring life safety (preventing injury and loss of life). As a result, they prioritise reaction to fire  testing designed to measure how a material or system will contribute to fire development and spread (particularly in the early stages to ensure effective evacuation).

In contrast, LPCB certification is designed to ensure asset protection (protecting against damage to the building and its contents). To achieve this, its standards use both reaction to fire and resistance to fire testing. The latter is the measure of a materials: integrity, how well the material will prevent the passage of fire from one distinct area to another; insulation, how well the material resists heat transfer from one side to the other; and loadbearing capacity, the materials ability to withstand deformation.

What is involved in LPCB certification for construction products?
Unlike the European and National classes, which largely rely on small scale bench tests of isolated product samples, the LPCB testing standards primarily use large-scale tests of complete systems or constructions.  This is considered to provide a more accurate assessment of how the system will perform in real life.

One example of this approach is the so-called ‘Garage Test’ used within LPS 1181, which allows the reaction to fire performance of internal and external wall and roof systems to be tested.

The test is carried out within a three-metre-high enclosure which is open on one side, giving it the appearance of a garage. The cladding system is installed either internally or externally of the rig and exposed to fire from a 1 MW fire load, which is designed to burn in the corner of the rig for 20 minutes. The load is extinguished after 30 minutes and the rig observed for a further 30 minutes. The system is then assessed on the basis of a number of pass/fail criteria within the standard.
In addition to the testing process, the LPCB also carry out a rigorous process of post-test audits on manufacturers. This rigorous process gives specifiers confidence that products as-sold continue to deliver the expected level of performance.

Where can I find LPCB Approved Products?
All construction products which have achieved LPCB Approval are recorded within its Red Book. The full certification information for each approval can be found by searching the LPCB Red Book Listings.