Life Safety

Bautex Composite Wall Systems Achieve a Four Hour Fire Rating with Insulation

Fire resis­tance in a wall assem­bly is cru­cial to pre­serv­ing a building’s struc­ture and ensur­ing the safe­ty of the occu­pants. Of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance, when it comes to fire resis­tance, is the type of insu­la­tion used in the wall assem­bly. Wall insu­la­tion, insu­lat­ed con­crete forms, and struc­tur­al insu­lat­ed pan­els com­mon­ly use expand­ed poly­styrene (EPS) foam insu­la­tion. A con­cern with EPS is that it can catch on fire if not uti­lized and installed cor­rect­ly accord­ing to the Inter­na­tion­al Build­ing Code (IBC). The IBC man­dates that walls are made of non­com­bustible mate­ri­als and car­ry spe­cif­ic fire rat­ings. The greater the chance of fire in a par­tic­u­lar loca­tion, the high­er the required fire rat­ing. Com­bustible parts of a wall assem­bly, like EPS, must include a fire resis­tant appli­ca­tion to achieve the required fire rat­ing for the loca­tion. Two indus­try stan­dards eval­u­ate the fire resis­tance of walls: the ASTM E119, and the ASTM E2257.

  • The ASTM E119 (and ULC-S101) test deter­mines the fire rat­ing of a wall assem­bly. The fire rat­ing is a wall’s capa­bil­i­ty to stop a fire from expand­ing, as a mea­sure of time.The test expos­es a test sam­ple of a wall assem­bly to con­trolled heat for one, two or more hours. Once expo­sure begins, the rat­ing is deter­mined by the length of time before the aver­age tem­per­a­ture on the unex­posed side of the sam­ple increas­es by 250° F (121° C), the heat, gas­es, or flame escape to the unex­posed side, or the sam­ple crum­bles under load. For fire rat­ings of 1 hour or more, the assem­bly must also pass a hose stream test to mim­ic fire­fight­ing con­di­tions and mea­sure an wall assem­bly’s integri­ty and abil­i­ty not to col­lapse dur­ing a fire.
  • The ASTM E2257 is a stan­dard fire test that shows how much the indoor wall and ceil­ing mate­ri­als cause a fire to grow in an area and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of the fire spread­ing beyond the area.
  • Oth­er stan­dards for fire resis­tance include the NFPA 286: Stan­dard Meth­ods of Fire Tests for Eval­u­at­ing Con­tri­bu­tion of Wall and Ceil­ing Inte­ri­or Fin­ish to Room Fire Growth, the NFPA 101: Life Safe­ty Code and ASTM E84: Sur­face Burn­ing Char­ac­ter­is­tics of Build­ing Mate­ri­als.

By itself, EPS foam insu­la­tion is not an effec­tive mate­r­i­al for cre­at­ing a fire resis­tant wall assem­bly. The fire resis­tance of EPS foam insu­la­tion is based on its per­for­mance in end-use con­di­tions along with its chem­i­cal nature and to a greater extent its phys­i­cal state. There­fore, the fire resis­tance per­for­mance of EPS depends on the com­plete build­ing wall assem­bly. Meth­ods for cre­at­ing a fire resis­tant EPS wall with a high fire rat­ing include installing a fire bar­ri­er like half-inch thick (1.27 cm) gyp­sum wall­board over the EPS board or com­plete­ly encap­su­lat­ing the EPS, like the Bau­tex Blocks. When installed cor­rect­ly, with the right fire­proof­ing, EPS does not present a fire haz­ard or risk of smoke den­si­ty or tox­i­c­i­ty.

Bautex Blocks Achieves a Four Hour Rating with its EPS Composite Concrete Blocks

The Bau­tex™ Wall Sys­tems is a 90 per­cent EPS com­pos­ite con­crete block that pro­vides sig­nif­i­cant fire resis­tant with­out the need for an igni­tion bar­ri­er or oth­er fire­proof­ing mate­ri­als. Bau­tex Blocks also do not burn or cre­ate dan­ger­ous smoke con­di­tions when exposed to fire. Bau­tex Blocks have an ASTM E119 fire rat­ing of four hours (four times the typ­i­cal one hour require­ment), and an ASTM E84 report­ed val­ues for flame speed of zero and smoke devel­op­ment of twen­ty. Because the Blocks meet the ASTM E84 and NFPA 286 they meet the NFPA 101 Life Safe­ty Code. Along with excel­lent fire resis­tant capa­bil­i­ties, the Bau­tex Wall Sys­tems exceeds the ener­gy effi­cien­cy require­ments of the ASHRAE 90.1, lim­it ther­mal con­vec­tion, are easy to install, noise reduc­ing and storm-resis­tant. The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem is a smart and cost effec­tive solu­tion for design­ing a high-per­for­mance build­ing that is both ener­gy effi­cient and fire resis­tant.

Build­ing codes spec­i­fy a wall’s fire rat­ing based on the walls loca­tion in the struc­ture. The codes also man­date walls made of non­com­bustible mate­ri­als, includ­ing the insu­la­tion. How­ev­er, insu­la­tion, like EPS, is flam­ma­ble if not installed cor­rect­ly with a fire bar­ri­er or incor­po­rat­ed in a mate­r­i­al like cement. Bau­tex Blocks com­bine EPS, which is high­ly insu­lat­ing, and cement, which is durable and fire resis­tant. Bau­tex Wall Sys­tems cre­ates a fire resis­tant wall that ensures the safe­ty of those that work and live in a struc­ture, along with the integri­ty of the build­ing. Vis­it Bau­tex Wall Sys­tems for more infor­ma­tion on fire resis­tant con­struc­tion.