What is a BS 8414 Large-scale System Test?

BS 8414 is a large-scale assembly test representing a high-rise building, measuring fire spread. It replicates a fire starting inside a room, breaking out through a window and exposing the external façade to fire.

Watch a video of a Kingspan Facades system BS 8414 fire safety test

In their recent series of tests the DCLG described the BS 8414 test as follows :

“This involves a 9 metre high demonstration wall with a complete cladding system – including panels and insulation – fixed to it, being subjected to a fire that replicates a severe fire in a flat breaking out of a window. The tests look at whether the system resists fire spread up the wall.

What is the difference between BS 8414 and other fire safety tests that lead to compliance?

Non-combustibility and limited combustibility are both determined by small, bench-scale tests in which the materials are tested in isolation. In reality, the performance of a cladding system in a fire depends not only on the fire performance of individual materials, but also on the design of the systems in which they are used which is why large-scale system testing is so important.

Learn more about small-scale testing for non-combustible and limited combustibility façade systems

BS8414 test setup diagram

How is the BS 8414 test measured?

Figure 1 shows level 1 and level 2 and the marks indicated in grey and green are thermocouples. During the test, temperature is measured through the thermocouples and there are levels that are not permitted to be exceeded. This measures fire propagating within the façade system.

During the 30 min direct flame impingement the fire's source reaches a peak heat release of approx 4.5MW indicating the severity of the test.

The BS 8414 and the AS5113

The BS 8414 façade test has been included as an option in the new AS5113 test/classification standard, which references both BS 8414 and ISO 13785. The tests are designed to measure vertical spread of fire. The AS5113 façade test has additional thermocouple/performance requirements and a classification procedure. In BS 8414 the performance requirements are part of a separate assessment method (referred to as BR135 ‘Annex B. Performance criteria and classification method for BS 8414’.)

The fire safety design of a building is based upon scientific principles applied to an integrated or ‘whole building’ perspective. Fire safety engineering not only considers the performance of structures, systems, products and materials when exposed to fire, it also includes human behavioural aspects, fire prevention and active and passive fire protection measures, e.g. effective means of egress and adequate measures for alarm, detection, control and extinguishment.

Using large scale façade testing to demonstrate compliance can facilitate innovation in building design without compromising fire safety, particularly in some large and complex buildings, as well as multi–purpose buildings, where it may be the only practical way to achieve a satisfactory level of fire safety.

Not all Insulation is the Same

Achieve BS 8414 compliance

with Kingspan FIREsafe™ insulated wall systems

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