The Small-Scale Non-Combustible Insulation Testing that can Underpin Compliance

Small-scale 'non-combustible' testing & compliance for insulation and façades

Non combustible small scale test
Non-combustibility and limited combustibility are both determined by small, bench-scale tests.

They test small samples of materials in isolation unlike AS5113/BS 8414 which tests materials within full wall system assemblies. The test AS1530.1 Methods for fire tests on building materials, components and structures. Part 1:Combustibility test for materials only relates to the behaviour of the test specimens of the material under the particular conditions of the test, and is not intended to be the sole criteria for assessing the potential fire hazard of the material in use. The test is not applicable for products which are coated, faced or laminated, although theoretically in such cases the test could be applied to the individual components that make up the product.
sample size of non-combustible test object

In these tests, the insulation material is tested in isolation in a small sample size

The AS1530.1 test relies on a homogeneous sample size of 45x50mm for testing purposes.

“The test results relate only to the behaviour of the test specimens of the material under the particular conditions of the test, and are not intended to be the sole criteria for assessing the potential fire hazard of the material in use[AS1530.1 ].”

All Assembled Façades contain Combustible Content

Another reason why large-scale system testing for all façade systems is so important is that, in fact, all assmbled systems contain combustible content.

For example, in 'non-combustible' insulation the binders than bind the mineral fibres together are combustible. Therefore in 'non-combustible' insulation there could be ca. 0.5-1.3kg/m2 of combustible content.

Also, the final assembled system may include several combustible elements such as:
  • Cement particle board joint tape
  • Helping hand bracket thermal break
  • Binders within mineral fibre insulation
  • Breather membrane
  • Breather membrane joint tape
  • Tape around helping hand brackets
so called

Even if a façade system is considered to be compliant with Building Regulations, it could contain a significant quantity of combustible material, hence the importance of large-scale system testing for all insulation materials.

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