Insurance Industry Fire Testing

Why have insurers developed their own large-scale fire testing?

Real fire case studies, Kingspan
Insurance industry requirements have led to the development of additional large-scale reaction to fire and fire resistance tests. The primary focus of these tests is asset protection.

These robust large-scale system tests provide an excellent indication of how a building will behave in a fire. In the many years that Kingspan Insulated Panels has been providing insurer-approved systems, there have been very few fires. Those that have occurred have been independently assessed and found to have performed as expected based on the test results. To learn more, read our real case studies.
Not all Insulation is the Same

Not all Insulation is the Same

Insurer-approved Kingspan FIREsafe™ insulated panel systems undergo rigorous testing for fire reaction and fire resistance. Download our latest brochure here.

Overview of Insurance Industry large-scale fire tests

FM Approval logoFM Global is a worldwide insurance and risk management enterprise. Part of FM Global, FM Approvals is an international third-party testing and certification service. They test property loss prevention products and services — for use in commercial and industrial facilities — to verify that they meet rigorous loss prevention standards of quality, technical integrity and performance.

The FM APPROVED mark is recognised and respected worldwide. Their certification instils confidence and commands respect in the global marketplace.

The most popular standards are: FM 4880, FM 4881, FM 4882 and FM 4471. Each of these standards deals with different panel applications.

  • FM 4880 is an approval standard for Class 1 Fire Rating of Building Panels or Interior Finish Materials. It deals with internal applications only.
  • FM 4881 is an approval standard for Class 1 Exterior Wall Systems.
  • FM 4882 is an approval standard for smoke sensitive occupancies.
  • And FM 4471 is an approval standard for Class 1 Roof Panels.

LPCB logo

The Loss Prevention Certification Board (known as the LPCB) has specific fire insurance requirements.

Embedded within LPCB you can find the relevant test standards:

  1. LPS1181-1 for exterior walls and roofs
  2. LPS 1181 part 2 for Interior walls and ceilings
  3. And LPS 1208 for external walls and internal walls and ceilings.

LPS 1208 focuses on various periods of fire resistance, whereas LPS1181-1 part 2 focusses on reaction to fire tests and can also make provision for a period of fire resistance.

Whilst LPCB is well known and accepted within the UK, it is far less well known on the world stage. FM Global, on the other hand, is a worldwide insurance and risk management enterprise.

Approval Standard FM 4880 and FM 4881

Within the suite of FM testing, applicable to FM 4880/4881 is the 50 foot corner test. The two wings/walls are 50 feet high, and 20 feet in width. A horizontal red line is marked on the systems which indicates a fire spread failure point. 344kg of dry oak makes up the fire ignition source.

Similar to other reaction to fire tests, there are also thermocouples embedded within the insulation and used on the test rig.

Based on the performance of the insulated panel system the following classifications can be achieved:

- Class 1 with no height restriction;
- Class 1 to a 50ft max height;
- Class 1 to a 30ft max height.

The UBC 26-3 Room test is also applicable for FM 4880/4881. This is essentially a room test with a wooden crib in the corner of the room, measuring flame spread and fire propagation.

The 50ft corner test shown below forms part of assessment requirements for approval to Class 1 Internal wall and ceiling panels with no height restriction (FM 4880) and external walls with no height restriction (FM 4881).

Photos of Set Up, Development and End of Test in an FM 4880/FM 4881 testing.


Approval Standard FM 4471

As stated by FM, “The requirements of this standard shall be used to measure and describe the performance of Class 1 Panel roofs in response to exposure from heat, wind, foot traffic, and hail...”

Incorporated into the overall test procedure are tests to measure Combustibility from below Roof Assembly and Combustibility from above Roof Assembly.

When testing Combustibility from below Roof Assembly, the test criteria demands that the assembly shall not exhibit fuel contribution rates in excess of the test requirements, and also that “there shall be no dropping of flaming particles into the furnace or uncontrolled flaming on the surface of the sample.”

When testing Combustibility from above Roof Assembly, the minimum classification for receiving approval is Class (1) C; i.e.: the roof covering and substrate must be effective against a light test exposure, and “afford a light degree of fire protection to the roof deck.” The panel, its coating, and substrate shall not slip from position nor present a flying brand hazard.

During the tests there shall be no flaming or burning particles blown off the test assembly and reaching the floor. For combustible panels there shall also be no burn through the panel roof.

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