FLAME RETARDANT STANDARDS
Shrink Wrap Flame Retardant Standards
Being able to establish whether building materials are flammable is a key area of consideration during construction. In the EU and all over, flammability tests vary from country to country. This guide will help you understand flame retardant certifications in the UK and how this will impact the shrink wrapping of your building or scaffold.
Most flammability tests are carried out on textiles and items used in the actual structure / fabric of buildings such as cladding and insulation. In the wake of Grenfell, fire standards have become an ever more important topic for contractors when choosing what materials are used throughout a project.
Right now in construction, fire safety is paramount and all exterior scaffold sheeting should be flame retardant. Amazingly, the vast majority of conventional sheeting like Monarflex and debris netting are not flame retardant!
There are flame retardant options but they actually end up costing more than shrink wrap, an inferior product for a higher price! This is why shrink wrap sheeting is now really over taking conventional sheeting in more ways than just cost and durability.
Remember, fire retardant does not mean fire proof - anything will burn when exposed to extreme heat. The idea is that flame retardant materials help to reduce the spread of fire for as long as possible before the fire service can extinguish it.
Flame Retardant Shrink Wrap
We have a choice of flame retardant products that can meet any requirements from any size contractor. These are all flame tested by analysing flammability of their construction grade shrink wrap elements. Once a material has successfully gone through any of these tests, it is deemed to be flame retardant certified. The real difference between the above standards is merely how often it is tested, with EN and LPS having to be re tested annually. The most well known standards in the UK and Europe are:
DIN 4102 - B1
This is the German standard which is the most commonly used material throughout Europe, conforming to British fire standard: B1. Our manufacturer ships hundreds of tonnes of DIN shrink wrap throughout Europe each month.
This product welds incredibly strong and since we have began using it have had zero problems on site and rarely return for repairs, even after a long period of time. Shrink wrap welds are really the most important part of the process; if the welds fail, the whole shrink wrap encapsulation is compromised which can result in frequent damage.
EN 13501 - B1, s1, d0
EN rated materials can be popular in the UK, achieving the slightly higher version of the fire retardancy standard. This certification was brought in by the EU to try reduce confusion between different testing methods between countries, but since its inception in 2011 it has not really provided a clear answer as to which certification is best, or which to use in any circumstance.
LPS 1207/1215 and TS63/TS62
LPS and TS are the highest FR standard available in the UK, which comes at a higher price. In our experience not many LPS/TS rated shrink films are the best quality, despite it achieving the best flame retardancy standards, there is disappointing trade off with weld strength, longevity and therefore overall appearance.
Exova Warrington Fire TS63 internally / TS62 externally and BRE Global Ltd LPS 1207 internally / LPS 1215 externally are manufactured to these approvals and are designed to provide passive fire protection made with flame retardant and fire-resistant properties.
Exova Warrington Fire and BRE Global Ltd have the backing of The Association of British Insurers and the Chief Fire Officer’s Association known as the “Joint Code of Practice”.'
Unfortunately fire standards still remain a pretty grey area in construction as there is no law stating a certain type of material must be used at all times. Ultimately, the choice of which flame retardant material to use is up to the main contractor on site, in line with their own practices and insurances.
Choice and preference should determine what to go for, but our very own EnCaPS German DIN material is our favourite choice. It yields the highest strength, long lasting welds with easy shrinking, generally performing more consistently than any other material we have used in the past.