Balancing building envelope performance with fire safety

Submitted by Katy Tomasulo on Tue, 10/19/2021 - 06:14
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Superior thermal properties, unlimited design flexibility, and excellent fire resistance are a few of the reasons IMPs are increasingly being included by designers in more complex wall assemblies."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"When specifying a material and approving the construction of a building, it is not merely in relation to fire safety that guidelines must be met. With growing concerns about climate change and stricter regulations, requirements for thermal insulation and energy efficiency for all materials have increased. Balancing fire safety and reaching the established efficiency standards while also achieving the desired aesthetics can be challenging."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Manufacturers have responded to the desire for higher energy efficiency while maintaining fire safety by introducing new technologies specifically developed to provide energy performance far beyond typical buildings in the past. It is important to understand that many of these components (insulations, air\/water barriers) may provide this improved performance at the trade-off of introducing what the building codes consider to be \u201ccombustible\u201d materials into the building assembly. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Acknowledging the challenge of balancing energy performance with fire safety, code officials and fire safety organizations have developed requirements, allowing combustible materials to be used in various construction types, while also including more stringent fire performance criteria for these materials to help ensure a safe environment. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"For insulated metal panels, manufacturers must pass the "],[0,[0],1,"NFPA 285"],[0,[],0," test on the most common wall configurations for which their products will be used. This test was developed to assess the spread of fire vertically and laterally for wall mounts that contain combustible components, such as foam plastic insulation, combustible exterior fa\u00e7ade elements, and some air and water barrier materials. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The critical aspect of NFPA 285 is that it is an \u201cassembly\u201d test, meaning that the materials\/components in question are not being evaluated in isolation, but rather tested as part of the actual wall assembly design being proposed. This allows not only the material being evaluated to be tested, but also any possible interactions with other materials, cavities, etc., that may affect the overall performance of the assembly. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The NFPA 285 test is comprised of a two-story chamber where one wall is a sample of the wall assembly being tested. The test assembly\u2019s lower story includes an opening (simulating a window), and fire sources are located within the lower-story room and at the window opening itself. The test assembly is instrumented with thermocouples at various locations and subjected to a multi-tiered intensity fire source. The pass\/fail criteria include:"]]],[3,"ol",[[[0,[],0,"Flames not visually observed on the exterior wall 10\u2019 or higher above or 5\u2019 or greater from the center of the window opening. "]],[[0,[],0,"Exterior thermocouples at 10\u2019 vertically and 5\u2019 laterally from the window opening do not exceed 1,000\u05afF."]],[[0,[],0,"Temperature rise does not exceed 1,000\u05af F within any wall cavity air space."]],[[0,[],0,"Temperature rise does not exceed 750\u05af F within any combustible wall components more than 1\/4\u201d thick."]],[[0,[],0,"Temperature rise does not exceed 500\u05af F within the second-story test room, measured 1\u201d from the interior wall assembly surface. "]],[[0,[],0,"Flames are not visually observed within the second-story test room. "]]]],[10,0],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"In support of their products, IMP manufacturers have performed and passed the NFPA 285 in most common wall configurations for their products and several wall assemblies where the IMP may be one of several components. As with all combustible wall components, specifiers should request appropriate documentation to ensure code compliance."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Current code requirements and test standards have been developed specifically to provide the design flexibility demanded by design professionals without compromising safety. While no system is absolutely infallible, in North America the IMP industry has been actively involved in this development process for decades, providing the confidence necessary to help designers create the highest efficiency building envelopes without sacrificing fire performance."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],0,"For functional, aesthetic insulated metal panels that increase the thermal efficiency, build speed, and durability of any construction project, visit "],[0,[2],1,""],[0,[],1," to learn more. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[3],1,"AIA does not sponsor or endorse any enterprise, whether \npublic or private, operated for profit. Further, no AIA officer, \ndirector, committee member, or employee, or any of its component \norganizations in his or her official capacity, is permitted to approve, \nsponsor, endorse, or do anything that may be deemed or construed to be \nan approval, sponsorship, or endorsement of any material of construction\n or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in\n any material or product."]]]]}
AIA partner Kingspan explores how NFPA 285 tests insulated metal panels for fire safety as they meet demand for energy-efficient wall systems.
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