FM Approved Class 1 Fire Rated Interior Wall and Ceiling Panels
Interior walls and ceilings may exhibit tendencies for self-propagating fire spread when combustible vapors are emitted upon heating in a fire. The quantity of combustibles and the maximum rate of heat released rate can start the self-propagating process.
FM Approved Class 1 fire-rated interior walls and ceiling panels are utilized because of the lowered hazard from self-propagating fire spread and potential fire damage within the facility.
The benefits described herein will help the end user in making a choice between tested and certified products that meet specific performance requirements versus those products that have no such certification or meet only the minimum code requirements in some jurisdictions.
Testing Required for FM Approval
FM Approval of interior wall and roof/ceiling systems to Approval Standard 4880 requires testing for limited fire spread and fuel contribution. Material flammability tests and a room fire test are required for all interior walls and ceilings that are inert faced (anything with a metal or plaster finish). For plastic interior walls and ceilings (i.e., not inert faced), FM Approvals requires material flammability tests, a room test and in some rare occasions an FM Approvals 25 ft (7.6 m) high corner test to qualify for FM Approval to 30 ft (9.1 m). An optional FM Approvals 50 ft (15.2 m) corner test is used to qualify plastic wall and ceiling systems previously FM Approved to 30 ft (7.6 m) for Approval to 50 ft (15.2 m) or unlimited height. For certain systems with noncombustible insulating cores, both corner tests may be waived based on small scale tests for Approval without height restriction.
In occupancies where smoke sensitive products are stored, manufactured and/or processed, the end user should consider using products that are tested and Approved to Approval Standard 4882, Low Smoke Yield Walls and Ceilings.
Benefits and Availability
FM Approved interior walls and ceilings are tested for fire performance to rigorous standards. An FM Approved interior wall and ceiling will not self-propagate a fire and will not require automatic sprinkler protection for the building, provided the occupancy allows it.
FM Approved interior wall and ceiling panels are manufactured and available in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.
But What About...
It is important to understand the product manufacturers’ pricing structure. FM Approvals conducts technically sound full-and intermediate-scale tests and performs facility audits to make certain that the same quality product is manufactured. This may influence the cost of the product compared to interior wall and ceiling panel that are not certified or those certified to only the minimum code requirement (e.g., ASTM E84).
Products which are capable of meeting all of FM Approvals performance criteria are generally more highly engineered than those meeting only the minimum requirements.
The best place to start any pricing comparison is the manufacturer’s Web site. The Approval Guide, an online resource of FM Approvals, provides links to the Web sites of most manufacturers that produce FM Approved products along with the listings for the products. That link will often get you to a pricing sheet, or at least to a representative who can explain the actual cost that a manufacturer is charging his customers. Start there, and then understand that there may be supply chain costs which may add cost to the product and likewise increase its price. Since the testing and certification costs for FM Approvals testing and certification services are already built into the manufacturer’s selling price, there should be no added cost for the tested and certified product along the supply chain.
... local codes and jurisdictional requirements?
In the United States, most building codes enforced by the jurisdictions only require the ASTM E-84 flame and smoke developed rating for interior walls and ceilings. This test does not replicate actual geometry and scale of fires in most industrial/commercial occupancies. FM Approved Class 1 interior wall and ceiling panels meet these minimum jurisdictional requirements, and go significantly further to test and certify the fire performance of these products.
The only currently published harmonized technical product standard in Europe for products covered by Standard 4880 is EN 14509 for metal faced insulated wall panels. Building materials in Europe are classified for reaction to fire according to EN 13501-1 as Euroclasses A1, A2, B, C ,D, E, F using EN ISO 1182 (non-combustibility), EN ISO 1716 (heat of combustion), EN ISO 11925-2 (ignitability) and EN 13823 (single burning item).