British rigid Urethane Foam Manufacturers' Association

Fire Performance

PIR/PUR insulation products meet a wide range of fire performance requirements as stipulated by Building Regulations and the Insurance Industry.

In many construction applications, products are not exposed to any fire risk or are protected by non-combustible materials (e.g. cavity wall insulation) and combustibility is not an issue. In other applications where high fire performance is needed, suitable products can be specified.

Products are available which meet Class 0 of the UK Building Regulations and Class 1 surface spread of flame performance when tested to BS 476: Parts 6 and 7. In the new Euroclass system where products are classified from Class A (non-combustible) through to Class F (No Performance Determined), PIR/PUR insulation products are able to meet up to and including Class B. Good fire resistance in tests such as BS 476 Pt 21 and Pt 22 is also possible. Further, PIR insulation products are available which achieve approval with insurance industry standards such as Factory Mutual’s FM 4450 and FM 4880 and the LPC’s LPS 1181.

PIR insulation products are used across a wide range of applications providing exceptional benefits; however, individual products offer different levels of fire performance depending on their end-use application. It is important to ensure that the right product is used in the right end-use application. Recommendations and advice on specific products can be obtained by contacting the individual manufacturing members of BRUFMA.

Fire and waste characterisation ( A10 flammability test for solid waste)

A report issued by the Environment agency in 2012 found that PUR foams used as refrigeration insulation manufactured using hydrocarbon blowing agents should be considered as highly flammable solid materials for the purposes of waste categorisation. Samples were subjected to the A10 flammability test and found to exceed the requirements of the preliminary screening test, and further testing  classified the materials as highly flammable solids under the test requirements.

PIR insulation foam used in construction has different performance properties to refrigerator foam.  A wide range of products have been tested by BRUFMA members and after carrying out the preliminary screening test, none of these has been found to be flammable under the definitions of this test, so no further testing is necessary, and the materials are classified as non-flammable under the waste categorisation requirements.

Products which are classified as flammable under this waste categorisation test may need to be treated as hazardous waste, so if there is any doubt prior to disposal of PU insulation waste, further information should be sought from the producer.