FIRE PERFORMANCE OF FLOOR COVERINGS LAID OUT   

Floor coverings in buildings to NZBC C/AS2-AS7, must comply with clauses 4.17.3 and 4.17.4.  This usually means meeting the requirements of NZBC C/AS2-AS6, Table 4.2, expressed as a minimum Critical Radiant Flux (CRF) figure, when tested to ISO 9239.1: Reaction to fire tests for flooring - Determination of the burning behaviour using a radiant heat source.  Table 4.2 requires different minimum CRF's, 1.2kW/m² or 2.2kW/m², depending on the situation.

However there are some exceptions and variations on this.

  • The flooring may be non-combustible (when tested to AS 1530.1) and therefore is not required to have a CRF as allowed by NZBC C/AS2-AS7, 4.17.3.
  • Critical Radiant Flux (CRF) is not required if an area of non-conforming flooring product has an aggregate surface area of not greater than 5m² within a firecell, to NZBC C/AS2-AS7, 4.17.6.a.  The 5m² limit includes the aggregate area of all surfaces within a firecell that do not comply with surface finish requirements of NZBC C/AS2 –AS7.  Therefore separate non-conforming surfaces in addition to the flooring product may need to be considered in order to determine the aggregate area.
  • Flooring does not have to be tested (NZBC C/AS2-AS7, App C, C2.1) if it meets the requirements of NZBC C/VM2, Appendix B, Table B1.  This covers only limited flooring materials under limited conditions, it includes; concrete, brick, ceramic or porcelain tiles, as well as wood product, plywood or solid timber.  Table B1 provides a predetermined CRF for these generic flooring products, which can then be applied to meet the requirements of Table 4.2.
  • Of course a house or similar building coming under NZBC C/AS1 is not required to comply with any of this.  So flooring products in this situation do not have to meet any CRF requirements.

 Manufacturers and suppliers will need to provide evidence of testing, as you may want to confirm it complies and the BCA sometimes require a copy.  A number of the flooring products are made in Europe and have been tested to European standards.  This is not usually an issue if these products have been tested under the Harmonised European system called Euroclass to EN 13501.1.  Under this system CRF is also tested to ISO 9239.1, the same as New Zealand.  However it can get confusing as they express it slightly differently eg. Bfl-s1, where the CRF is hidden in the term Bfl.  The following are the criteria for CRF (other criteria not shown for clarity) for Euroclass flooring.

EUROCLASS

TEST METHOD

CRF

A1fl

NA

NA (tested non-combustible)

A2fl

NA

NA (tested limited combustibility)

Bfl

ISO 9239.1

CRF ≥8.0 kW/m²

Cfl

ISO 9239.1

CRF ≥4.5 kW/m²

Dfl

ISO 9239.1

CRF ≥3.0 kW/m²

Efl

NA

NA (not tested for CRF)

Ffl

NA

NA (no performance is determined)

Masterspec floor covering work sections have been updated to include Fire Performance clauses.

 

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