The Grenfell Tower fire in London (2017) and the Lacrosse Building fire in Melbourne (2015) were preventable tragedies. The relevant inquests into these fires found that the primary cause of the rapid spread of flames was the composite aluminium cladding used on the exterior of the buildings, which was found to have a highly flammable polyethylene core. These two incidents, among others, have catalysed dramatic changes to the fire safety systems and standards here in Australia – prompting comparable international bodies to review best practice measures in construction in a bid to curb preventable and similar tragedies in future.
Zego, experts in Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) have released a new specifier’s guide detailing what these changes mean for the construction industry. Understanding fire ratings in construction: a specifier’s guide outlines in extensive detail the changes currently taking place, such as the addition of a new standard, AS 5113: Fire propagation testing and classification of external wall buildings.
The paper goes on to discuss the criteria for judging fire control attributes, such as the ‘fire resistance level’ (FRL) that is attributed to key construction elements. Providing a detailed explanation of the three scoring areas that make up the FRL score – structural adequacy, integrity, and insulation. The specifier’s guide also makes some key distinctions in the areas affected by the changing standards. These comprise the different considerations for wall openings, internal walls, and external walls, as well as the difference between flame retardant and self-extinguishing products.
The guide is free to download and provides information on how Zego’s products – particularly their FireFORM and ReFORM ICF’s – already meet the strict Australian standards surrounding fire safety.