DESIGNING FIRE RISK OUT OF BUILDINGS
When it comes to building safety, how fire reacts in the real world is all that matters.
Buildings and fire safety continue to make headlines around the world. After every blaze, with depressing regularity, the same questions are raised. Why was the building at risk? Were fire tests sufficient? Was workmanship to blame? How can we stop this happening again?
The lessons learnt from previous experiences encourage us to consider fire risk at the earliest stages of any building design. The use of non-combustible materials firstly reduces the possibilities of a fire occurring and secondly prevents fire spreading, keeping fire risk at a minimum.
There are already enough safety issues around the way contemporary buildings are designed without adding extra fire risk. Taller constructions, lighter cheaper materials, more underground facilities and wider internal spaces have all contributed to the speed at which a blaze and smoke travels through a building compared to a traditional construction many years ago. Fire safety must be designed into buildings from the start.
Non-combustible is a defined term in the Building Code of Australia (BCA). The compliance of a material to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) non-combustibility definition can be determined by conducting an AS1530.1 standard combustibility test. If the material satisfies the criteria outlined in the test method the material is not deemed combustible.
AS 1530.1 is a small-scale material fire test involving immersing a small sample of the material in a furnace held steady at 750°C. The small-scale testing tests the property of the material and removes any variability. In comparison to large-scale testing which is more detailed and are extremely difficult to replicate in real life/ on the construction site and therefore adds a degree of unpredictability to how the products will perform outside the testing environment.
Knauf Insulation products have been independently tested in NATA accredited laboratories; giving end users confidence in the standard of the test and procedures.
INSULATE FROM PAYING HIGHER INSURANCE PREMIUMS
Insurers are increasingly becoming reluctant to offer the same level of insurances as they did in the past for buildings that have been built using non-compliant, combustible materials. Insurers are now opting to either not insure buildings or apply considerably higher premiums.
There have been some cases reported where the risk that has been priced in to some buildings has been too high to make insurance worthwhile, which has some serious implications for the building owners.
Building designers will now need to consider two sets of rules. One whereby the Building Code allows for alternative solutions and the second, where insurance companies allow for alternative solutions but this may add a premium to the policy. Insurance companies are now setting their own standards/ minimum requirements for non-combustibility. Even if the building is passed by the certifier the insurance premiums can be a higher rate if you have used combustible materials.
Non-combustible, fire-resistant insulation solutions help inhibit fire spread, maintain structural integrity and limit the spread of fire and smoke from one area to another, providing safe buildings for occupants, and added peace of mind for specifiers. The vast majority of glasswool insulation solutions from Knauf Insulation have been tested in accordance with the stringent AS 1530.1 Combustibility Test for Materials and have been deemed non-combustible when it comes to both reaction to fire and fire resistance and will prevent the involvement of the building fabric in a fire and will prevent fire spread.
The fire classification of our glasswool products removes any uncertainty for specifiers and designers about the fire performance and associated dangers with system variability.
In 2020, Knauf Insulation will open a new manufacturing facility in Malaysia; it will be the only plant supplying Australia, that produces only non-combustible glasswool. Choosing non-combustible fire rated insulation glasswool from Knauf Insulation will give specifiers, designers, architects and building occupants complete confidence and peace of mind that the fireproof insulation will minimise the risk of fire and its spread should it occur, as well as maximise the structure’s stability and the ability of occupants to escape unharmed.
Fire rated insulation batts