At TBW, we offer an extensive range of fire propagation testing capabilities to meet both national and international safety standards and regulations.

What is Fire Propagation Testing?

External facades are an important part of every building, their design represents the identity of the building and in many cases describe its purpose. In the last 50 years, many innovative new systems and materials were created to provide a light weight energy efficient and sustainable building envelope. Large scale propagation testing enables the façade manufacturer or contractor to test the full system to evaluate the risk related to fire safety.

Many countries have developed their own test methods. The North American codes specify NFPA 285 using the ‘intermediate scale multi-storey apparatus’. The corresponding UK standard is BS 8414 Parts 1 & 2. We are accredited for these two and have knowledge and experience of a few other methods followed in countries like Sweden(SP105) and Australia (AS5113), and have conducted thousands of  these tests. 

It is important to choose the test acceptable for your jurisdiction and suitable for your cladding system.

Fire Propagation Testing Standards

NFPA 285

The NFPA 285 test rig consists of one room over another. There is a gas burner in the lower room to simulate a fire. The test specimen of the external cladding system, containing a window opening and instrumented with thermocouples, is constructed on a frame that is placed in front of the apparatus. The test duration is 30 minutes, and at the fifth minute, another burner is placed in the window opening. It is designed to simulate a room fire that has burst out of a window.

BS 8414

BS 8414 have an 9.7m high, L-shaped structure with a large hearth representing a window opening. The specimen is built onto the structure (part 1 uses a concrete block base wall & part 2 uses a steel frame substructure). A large ‘crib’ of wood sticks is ignited in the hearth, and the test is also conducted for 30 minutes. The test results are classified according to standard BR 135. Intermediate scale multi-storey apparatus.

ASTM E2307 Testing 

The ASTM E2307 is a Standard Test Method for Determining Fire Resistance of Perimeter Fire Barriers Using Intermediate-Scale, Multi-story Test Apparatus.

To conduct this test, a complete curtain wall assembly is installed along with the Perimeter Fire Barrier system at the Slab Edge replicating site conditions (or a worst-case scenario).

Horizontal and Vertical cycling can be done if needed before running the test, which simulates the fire growing and breaking out of an opening. The test, which follows the time-temperature curve of a fire propagation test (NFPA 285) for the first 30 minutes, later shifts to the time-temperature curve of a Fire Resistance Test (ASTM E119).

ASTM 2874 Testing

ASTM E2874, which was published in 2019, is a Standard Test Method for Determining the Fire-Test Response Characteristics of a Building Spandrel-Panel Assembly Due to External Spread of Fire.

This adds to the ASTM E2307 test and defines additional conditions and criteria to evaluate the fire resistance behaviour of the Spandrel system of a Curtain Wall design assembly.

Why Choose TBW for Fire Propagation Testing?

Façade systems, have several layers and components. Evaluating these assemblies by propagation to fire testing requires experience and knowledge. Our expert teams have extensive experience of all the above tests across several product types.

Excellent turnaround times from enquiry stage to testing stage to report delivery.