Revised NZ Standard establishes “fire resistance” criteria!
The newly published NZS 4541:2007 Automatic fire sprinkler systems - divides insulated panels into two classes:
- Combustible foamed plastic cored insulated panels (e.g. standard EPS coolroom panels) and
- Approved foamed thermosetting plastic cored insulation panels that have been fully tested and certified by an accredited laboratory in accordance with the testing criteria of ISO 9705, FM Approval Class 4880 or LCPB LPS 1181.
PØLYPHEN® Panels are the ONLY New Zealand made fire resistant insulated panels that have FM Approval and meet the requirements for “Approved panels” under this NZ Standard.
The specification of other “fire resistant” panels on recent projects, has caused considerable difficulties for consultants, contractors and building owners. Claims of FM Approval in New Zealand should be closely scrutinized, and the availability of imported elements should also be demonstrated before contracts with other panels are let.
The call for restrictions on the use of standard polystyrene (EPS) coolroom panels in New Zealand has come over the last few years from the international fire insurance underwriters since EPS panel construction was phased out in the UK in the late 1990’s.
The benchmark that is used in this part of the world, is that established by the American based insurance company FM Global (incorporating Factory Mutual Insurance) for fire resistant insulation panels.
FM Global is an international insurance company that has a predominance of engineers on their staff rather than actuaries. They have been pro-active in writing acceptable specifications for buildings that they insure, and also in establishing Standards which they test for in their own in-house test facility in Rhode Island USA.
To achieve certification by FM Global, factory manufactured insulated panels must pass the requirements of FM Approvals Standard 4880 (1994) – Metal-faced - Class 1 Fire Rated. This involves initial tests on the core material, then establishment of the density of the core material, the maximum panel thickness, and system fixing details, before full scale room corner fire tests are carried out on rooms built to the determined panel details.
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