BS 8414 Cladding Testing
In response to the Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, cladding testing has now become of paramount importance. Currently, the UK has few facilities for the UKAS accredited test to be conducted and even when a slot is available it can take months to receive results - the vital evidence needed to satisfy Building Control.
The Fire Protection Association is accredited by UKAS to carry out BS 8414 testing –- fire performance of external cladding on buildings - one of only four organisations in the UK and Northern Ireland currently able to offer this.
Our easily accessible sites at Moreton-in-Marsh and Blockley in Gloucestershire, provide a comprehensive range of testing facilities. This includes two test rigs offering UKAS accreditation for the completion of BS 8414 tests, and for the subsequent production of BR 135 classification reports. We offer a fast turnaround, aiming to provide the test and classification reports within two weeks of the completion of the testing process.
We also offer a half-sized rig to test bespoke elements surrounding a cladding test, for example the addition of a window or other opening to more closely replicate a real-life situation.
It is anticipated that this increased capacity in the testing market will ease pressure on the UK’s construction industry.
Why use the Fire Protection Association for testing?
- Full UKAS accreditation for delivery of the BS 8414 tests
- We are currently only one of four companies offering this in the UK and Northern Ireland (two of which are based in Northern Ireland.)
- Very competitive prices - from a not for profit organisation
- Testing is completed in the UK FPA laboratory
- Two full sized and one half size rig
- Experienced laboratory staff
- Independent and impartial results
- Excellent reporting turnaround times
- Conforms with new legislation
Building Regulation B4 requires that “the external walls of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the walls….”
Section 12 of Approved Document B addresses this requirement separately for ‘relevant buildings’ and for other buildings.
In ‘relevant buildings’ (residential, institutional and dwelling buildings with a habitable floor over 18m above ground), the requirement is deemed to be met by saying that buildings must have walls constructed entirely from materials (with a few minor exceptions) that are A1 or A2 when classified in accordance with EN 13501. In these cases, a BS 8414 test is not expected because of the supposedly low combustibility of the materials of construction.
In other buildings (buildings that are over 18m but that are not residential, institutional or dwelling), and in any buildings that do not have a habitable floor more than 18m above ground) the guidance in the Approved Document is less clear. One option suggested is effectively to ensure that external surfaces meet certain EN 13501 classifications. The other option is to put the whole façade system through a BS 8414 test and meet the performance criteria set out in BR 135.
The Fire Protection Association believe that in these supposedly ‘non-relevant buildings’, simply meeting the external surface fire spread standard is a very low standard for modern composite walling systems to achieve. We recommend a full BS 8414 test, as it is a rigorous assessment of the walling system as a whole, including all its component parts, replicating a “real-life situation”.