BS 8414 Cladding Testing
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.
In response to the Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of the system of fire safety building regulations, cladding testing has now become of paramount importance. The UK has few facilities where UKAS accredited cladding testing can be conducted and even when a slot is available it can take months to receive results - the vital evidence needed to satisfy Building Control.
Our laboratory in Gloucestershire has two full height test rigs for the carrying out of UKAS accredited British Standard 8414 cladding tests. We also have a half-sized test rig that can be used for small scale bespoke testing and research. The half sized rig gives users the opportunity to assess the fire performance of design details without going to the expense of carrying out a full scale BS 8414 test.
Staffed by experienced technicians the FPA offers independent and impartial results and works on a fast turnaround, aiming to provide the test and classification reports within two weeks of the completion of the testing process.
- 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 External Fire Spread, requirement B4 (1) requires that “the external walls of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the walls……………… having regard to the height, use and position of the building”
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 obliging buildings to have external walls constructed entirely (with a few exceptions) from materials that are A1 or A2 (non-combustible) when classified in accordance with BS EN 13501. Because they must be constructed almost entirely from non-combustible materials, there is no requirement for cladding systems of relevant buildings to be tested to BS 8414.
In other buildings that are over 18m (but that are not residential, institutional or dwelling) and any buildings that do not have a habitable floor more than 18m above ground, the guidance in the Approved Document requires external surfaces to either meet certain EN 13501 classifications or meet the performance criteria set out in BR 135. The Fire protection Association believes a higher level of confidence is likely to be achieved where wall cladding systems have been tested in accordance with BS 8414 and classified in accordance with BR 135.
The 2019 Technical Handbooks, that are due come into effect on the 01 October 2019, will introduce more stringent requirements for wall cladding systems as follows:
- Technical Handbook – Domestic, Section 2.7 Spread on external walls, requires external wall cladding to be European Classification A1 or A2 where the storey height is more than 11m or if the building is sited less than 1m from a boundary.
- Technical Handbook – Non-Domestic, Section 2.7 Spread on external walls, requires A1 and A2 for certain entertainment / assembly buildings, hospitals, residential care buildings and all other non-domestic buildings with a storey height above 11m or if the building is sited less that 1m from a boundary.
Both Technical Handbooks acknowledge the testing of external cladding in accordance with BS 8414 and classification in terms of BR 135 (including the application of test results in terms of BS 9414) as recognised alternatives to the European Classifications.