What is the Reaction to Fire?

What is the Reaction to Fire?
The aim of the Reaction to Fire is to assess the potential contribution and behaviour of products or materials in the case of fire. Reaction to fire tests try to reproduce, as far as possible, the early stages of the fire (beginning and development) in which the contribution of the products is very important. There are different reaction to fire tests depending on the test situation to be evaluated.

What is the difference between Reaction and Resistance to Fire?
Reaction to fire measures the behaviour of materials and products while fire resistance measures the time that a building system is able to withstand fire. The parameters measured in the reaction to fire tests are flaming droplets, the heat and smoke release, spread of flames, increases of temperatures, etc. While in fire resistance tests the loadbearing capacity, insulation and integrity are measured mainly for a period of time expressed in minutes.

How are products classified from the point of view of reaction to fire?
The products tested in reaction to fire are normally classified according to standard EN 13501-1 and EN 13501-5. The first one of the standards applies to walls, ceilings, linear pipe thermal insulation and floors while the second one applies to roofs exposed to the external fire. It is important to note that each of the above situations will be indicated in the classification with a different subscript, that is, the reaction to fire classification depend on the use of the product. Below it is shown the different types of Euroclasses that we can find.

In what legislation are the reaction to fire classifications required?
Currently in Spain, the fire safety regulations in industrial facilities (RSCIEI) and the Technical Building Code (CTE DB SI) establish the reaction to fire requirements applicable to the products and materials included in the field of application of the previous regulations. The requirements will not always be the same as they will depend on the area where it will be installed.

If I have the CE marking, do I meet with the legislation on the reaction to fire?
The CE marking is a passport that is used to circulate freely by the countries of the European Union and means that you meet the minimum requirements included in the corresponding harmonized product standard for the CE marking, but does not imply compliance with Spanish legislation on the Reaction to fire. Let’s take an example:

We have a polyurethane sandwich panel with a Euroclass C-s2, d0, which has the CE marking according to the product standard UNE-EN 14509 and in addition this product has been manufactured in France. As it owns the CE marking, it could circulate through Spain without any limitations. On the one hand, if it is planned to install the product where the requirement is C-s3, d0, it will meet with the fire reaction requirement. On the other hand, if you want to install the product in a place where the requirement is B-s1, d0, the sandwich panel can not be installed.

• UNE-EN 13501-1, Fire classification of construction products and building elements – Part 1: Classification using data from reaction to fire tests.
• UNE-EN 13501-5, Fire classification of construction products and building elements – Part 5: Classification using data from external fire exposure to roofs tests.
• Technical Building Code. Basic Document. Security in case of fire. (CTE DB SI).
• Regulation of fire safety in industrial facilities (2004).

Diseño de Instalaciones de Protección contra Incendios (PCI)