The EPIC fire tests

Europe’s most comprehensive fire test research results

The EPIC fire research programme tested panels designed for external use in roof and wall applications. The test method used was the LPS 1181 large room test and was authenticated by independent bodies and conducted strictly in accordance with established standards.

Rigid urethane panels manufactured by EPIC members are designed to the highest factory engineered standards. They are designed for use with secure fixings and engineered joints for maximum fire protection and security. 90% of all external roof and wall panels used on modern commercial and industrial buildings use rigid urethane – the most thermally efficient insulation. These panels have performed well for nearly 40 years and have given little or no cause for concern.

Why test?

Specifiers, building professionals, insurers and the fire services need to be aware of the facts in order to be confident that a panel system will perform satisfactorily and meet the required safety criteria.

How were the EPIC tests carried out?

The EPIC tests assessed panels as they are installed in practice using the LPS 1181 test method – a large-scale test developed specifically to test cladding systems installed as in practice. Fire performance depends on the method of installation; security of fixing; joint detail and joint design. Any test that does not test panels as they are installed in practice should be disregarded.

The EPIC test programme also tested other cladding panels with MW and PS cores and site assembled systems with glass wool insulation.

The test results show clearly how a urethane cored external panel is likely to perform in fire – no collapse; low contribution to a fire in the developing stages; and the beneficial effect of tight fire engineered joints. Both PIR and PUR urethanes were tested.

For details of the results see “Performance of external cladding systems in fire” and EPIC Fire CD-ROM.

Tests confirm why PIR insulated panels have a good fire record

  • Panels satisfy all the current required building regulations – BS 476 Parts 6, 7, 8 and 22 and the euroclass equivalents
  • PIR panels satisfy all the additional requirements and test standards of the Insurance Industry – Loss Prevention Council and Factory Mutual
  • Panels for external cladding are firmly fixed to the structural building framework – there is no collapse
  • Panel joints are fully engineered to provider excellent air and weathertightness and also to protect the core in the event of either internal or external fire – joints do not open and expose the core
  • Steel facings protect the core. Any contribution e.g. smoke gasses is relatively low during the developing stages of a fire and remains so unless the fire becomes fully developed and the structure starts to fail
  • PIR panels do not add to the severity of the fire. There is no instant release of heat load nor any rapid flashover
  • There is no hidden flaming or fire spread within the PIR core of the panel.