MATEC Web of Conferences
Volume 46, 20162nd International Seminar for Fire Safety of Facades
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Fire Safety Engineering|
|Published online||04 May 2016|
Performance profiles of exterior fire protective building envelopes
COWI AS Grenseveien 86, Norway
The fire protective envelope of any building consists of multiple elements with widely differing properties relating to a fire, such as glass, roof tiles and sheathings, wood cladding, gaps and openings. Where resistance to an exterior fire is required, all elements should be verified to provide a comparable risk of burn-through. Elements are rated by either the material response to fire or fire resistance. In Europe, cladding sheets and wall membranes can be rated by K classes, which effectively include a measure of the time to burn through. A determination of burn-through time of each element of a specific building envelope should be obtained. A design tool to verify the performance of a building's fire protective envelope has been developed. In this paper, a general description of passive elements of the envelope, which should be included in a risk assessment tool such as an index method, is presented. An illustrative approach to visualise the profiles for areas densely spaced structures where an exterior fire may trigger building-to-building fire spread is also included. The research is based on the hypothesis that a relatively subtle and pointed upgrading of an exterior building envelope will severely reduce the speed of building-to-building fire spread, thus allowing firefighting efforts to get on top of the situation. For a burning structure to expose other buildings to fire, the fire has to settle, which leads to a burn-through to the inside. Once inside, an enclosure fire needs to develop and burn through the roof or break one or more large window panes. It is estimated that a 5–10 min delay for a structure to expose other structures to fire can be sufficient to avoid loss of multiple structures. A 10–50 min burn-through time allows for an extended intervention by the fire brigade, which is significant in rural areas. A fire protective envelope may prevent an exterior fire from penetrating the protective envelope at all and the structure can be saved.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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