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UNE-EN 13501 Fire behavior of construction products

UNE-EN 13501 Classification based on the fire behavior of construction products and building elements

The 13501 standard is divided into 6 parts based on the materials or building elements to be tested:

  • UNE-EN 13501-1: Classification based on data obtained from fire reaction tests.
  • UNE-EN 13501-2: Classification based on data obtained from fire resistance tests, excluding ventilation installations.
  • UNE-EN 13501-3: Classification based on data obtained from fire resistance tests of products and elements used in building service installations:

- Fire-resistant ducts and dampers.

  • UNE-EN 13501-4: Classification based on data obtained from fire resistance tests of smoke control system components.
  • UNE-EN 13501-5: Classification based on data obtained from tests on roofing materials under the action of external fire.
  • UNE-EN 13501-6: Classification based on data obtained from fire reaction tests of electrical cables.

The difference between resistance and reaction is:
- Resistance: It measures how long an element can withstand fire (for example, fire doors).

- Reaction: It measures how materials contribute to the fire.

In the case of Texfire technical fabrics, certification is carried out based on the reaction test Part 1. The results of these tests are always presented based on 3 parameters: Fire contribution, smoke generation, and lastly, dripping (molten). Taking the EGLA 200 AL fabric as an example, the result of the EN 13501-1 test is: A2 – s1 – d0.

These are the results that can be obtained in this test:

  • A1: Non-combustible. No maximum contribution to fire. This level includes products that, in no phase of the fire, can contribute to it.
  • A2: Non-combustible. No minimum contribution to fire. This level includes products with very limited calorific value, which do not significantly add to the fire load or contribute to its development in a fully developed fire.
  • B: Combustible. Combustible products with very limited contribution to fire.
  • C: Combustible. Combustible products with limited contribution to fire.
  • D: Combustible. Combustible products with medium contribution to fire.
  • E: Combustible. Combustible products with high contribution to fire.
  • F: Unclassified. This level includes products that cannot meet any of the previous requirements or whose performance has not been assessed.

These classifications are further supplemented with the corresponding subscripts:

A estas clasificaciones se les añade el subíndice correspondiente:

                             According to smoke opacity:          According to droplet or flaming particle falling:
         S1: Low smoke emission velocity and quantity                                     d0: No droplets
        S2: Medium smoke emission velocity and quantity  
                                    d1: No droplets, t > 10s
        S3: High smoke emission velocity and quantity                                      d2: Not classified

The classification for walls and ceilings is performed without a subscript. Floors are labeled with the subscript FL (floor), and linear products for pipe insulation carry the subscript L (line). According to RD 842/2013 and the UNE EN 13501-1 Standard, building elements are classified using the following nomenclature:

  • R: Load-bearing capacity.
  • E: Integrity.
  • I: Insulation.
  • W: Radiation.
  • M: Mechanical action.
  • C: Automatic closure.
  • S: Smoke tightness.
  • PoHP: Continuity of electrical power supply or signal transmission.
  • G: Combustion soot resistance.
  • K: Fire protection capacity.
  • D: Duration of stability at constant temperature.
  • DH: Duration of stability considering the normalized time-temperature curve.
  • F: Functionality of mechanical smoke and heat extractors.
  • B: Functionality of passive smoke and heat extractors.

The previous class is accompanied by a number (t) representing the maximum exposure time to fire that a material can withstand while maintaining its resistance, stability, etc.

  • R(t): Time during which fire stability or load-bearing capacity is maintained (similar to the concept of fire stability, EF).
  • RE(t): Time during which both stability and integrity against flames and hot gases are maintained (similar to the concept of flame-proofing, PF).
  • REI(t): Time during which stability, integrity, and thermal insulation are maintained (similar to the concept of fire resistance, RF).

For example, a structural element will be labeled as R-(t), elements (horizontal and vertical) that delimit a fire compartment will be labeled as REI-(t) if they have load-bearing function, or EI-(t) if they don't have load-bearing function. A hinged door will be labeled as EI-C(t), and a mechanical smoke extractor as F400(t), meaning it withstands the time (t) at 400ºC. The correspondence with Euroclasses compared to the previous M0, M1, M2, M3, and M4 classifications is as follows:

Description UNE 23727:1990 UNE EN 13501-1:2002
Non-combustible M0 A1-A2 S1, d0
Non-flammable M1 B-S3, d0
Difficult to ignite M2 C-S3, d0
Moderately ignitable M3 D-s3, d0