Case Studies


metroSTOR have been at the forefront of the development of external storage for the community housing sector over the past eight years, having developed and installed thousands of fire-resistant bin housings in demanding environments. As part of their commitment to the highest standards, they engaged the FPA to carry out the necessary testing to ensure that the 30 minute fire resistance was being achieved by their bin store products.


There are in excess of 30,000 incidents attended by Fire & Rescue Services across the UK every year where refuse has been implicated, either at the source, or contributing to the spread of fire. Both bin and contents, particularly with the high proportion of plastics typically present, impose a significant fire load and are often vulnerable to ignition, either as a consequence of a deliberate arson event or through accidental ignition, such as the placement of hot BBQ coals.

If a bin fire does occur close to building openings such as doors, windows and vents, or combustible cladding elements, there is a high risk of fire penetrating the building, seriously compromising both life and property safety. Residential landlords have responsibilities under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to take all necessary steps to prevent fires breaking out in the communal areas and to protect escape routes. These obligations are discharged through an individual site-based fire risk assessment process, and competent assessors are expected to refer to various pieces of relevant guidance, but there is no current accepted standard to test fires in bin storage units.

How the FPA helped

Through consultation between metroSTOR and the FPA, a brief was developed for a credible worst-case scenario test for the largest bin and the most combustible materials commonly used in residential settings. This test programme was put together to produce data representing a real-life scenario of an 1100 litre bin burning inside a PBM 1 Firenze FR+ bin store.

Taking CFPA-Europe 7:2011 F as the basis from which to create this bespoke test, it was proposed to measure the radiation (heat flux) emitted from the rear of the bin, along with the air temperature, every metre up to six metres, as measured from the rear panel of the bin store.

Material samples, comprising of a piece of UPVC window frame and a 150mm square 4mm thick piece of float glass, were also positioned at every metre (up to six metres) to show the effects of the radiation on likely building materials. This was done by measuring the temperature of the UPVC.

It was important that the fuel source for the test fires used in the tests accurately reflected those most likely to be found in residential bins. Further consultation between metroSTOR and the FPA, along with research, showed that the large contributing fuels inside a general recycling bin would be a combination of plastic and cardboard. Given the varied nature of materials used in the production of residential bins, two tests were conducted. One bin was made of metal, galvanised steel, and the other made of plastic – HDPE.

metroSTOR’s objective was to demonstrate that the unit would contain the fire for whatever duration necessary, ensuring that at no point would the flames or heat radiating from the unit reach a level where they could breach vulnerable points of a building within 1m distance.

Results and future plans

The results of the test showed that, despite temperatures inside the housing reaching over 1000odeg for a significant period, the temperature at 1m away from the rear of the housing did not exceed 51odeg, and each of the glass and UPVC material samples were undamaged.

The difference in fires between the two types of bin materials was apparent in the results, as the maximum temperature and heat flux was greater when testing the plastic bin compared to the metal bin. This was likely due to the plastic bin becoming involved in the fire and resulting in a higher peak temperature, greater heat flux, and greater flame height when compared to the metal bin test.

The brief to the FPA for the test was not to summarise what had happened but to provide independent evidence and data so that councils and planning departments could make up their own mind about the performance of the metroSTOR product.

Nigel Deacon, National Account Director for Streetspace which includes the metroSTOR brand said, “the test gives both ourselves and our clients the confidence that life safety is being prioritised as far as practically possible, going beyond the current legislation and guidance in respect of the storage of waste and recycling close to residential buildings. We will continue to test other products, including charging stations for personal mobility devices such as mobility scooters, e-bikes and e-scooters, to further cement our position as leaders in our field.”

Find out more about the FPA’s bespoke fire testing capabilities.


"the test gives both ourselves and our clients the confidence that life safety is being prioritised as far as practically possible, going beyond the current legislation and guidance in respect of the storage of waste and recycling close to residential buildings."

Nigel Deacon

National Account Director, Streetspace which includes the metroSTOR brand

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