NFPA 286 Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Evaluating Contribution of Wall and Ceiling Interior Finish to Room Fire Growth Date:
February 03, 2023
NFPA 286 applies to interior wall and ceiling finishes that are intended to be installed in buildings that are regulated by codes or standards related to fire safety. These include, but are not limited to, products such as:
Paints and coatings
Wall coverings, such as wallpaper and vinyl coverings
Textile wall hangings
Acoustic materials, such as acoustic tiles and panels
Composite materials, such as laminates and wood products
Other interior finish materials, such as gypsum board and plaster
NFPA 286 is widely recognized and referenced in building codes and regulations, including the International Building Code (IBC) and the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Life Safety Code.
Many state and local building codes in the United States also reference NFPA 286, and some jurisdictions require compliance with the standard for certain occupancies or fire hazard classifications. For example, in California, the state building code requires compliance with NFPA 286 for interior finishes in Group I-2 and I-3 occupancies, which include hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional facilities.
And even if NFPA 286 is not specifically required by regulations in a particular jurisdiction, compliance with the standard may be necessary in order to meet the general requirements of the building code or to ensure adequate fire safety in a building.
NFPA 286 uses a full-scale room fire test to evaluate the fire performance of interior finishes. The test involves constructing a test room that is representative of a typical building interior and installing the finish material on the walls and/or ceiling of the room. The test is designed to evaluate the contribution of the finish material to room fire growth, which includes heat release, smoke production, and flame spread.
During the test, a fire is ignited in a corner of the room, and the fire growth and spread are monitored and measured. The heat release rate, smoke production rate, and flame spread are all measured using specialized equipment and instrumentation. The test is conducted under controlled conditions, and a range of parameters are specified in the standard, including the size of the room, the fuel load, and the ignition source.
The results of the test are then used to evaluate the performance of the finish material and to determine whether it meets the requirements of the standard. The standard includes criteria for maximum heat release rate, maximum smoke production rate, and maximum flame spread, as well as other performance measures.
NFPA 286 specifies a range of requirements for the fire performance of facing materials used as interior wall and ceiling finishes. These requirements are based on the results of a full-scale room fire test and are intended to ensure that the facing materials meet minimum fire safety requirements and do not contribute significantly to the spread of fire. Some of the specific requirements for facing materials in NFPA 286 include:
Maximum heat release rate: The heat release rate (HRR) of the facing material must not exceed a specified limit during the fire test. The HRR is a measure of the rate at which heat is released from the material during a fire and is an important indicator of the fire hazard associated with the material.
Maximum smoke production rate: The facing material must also meet a maximum smoke production rate (SPR) requirement, which limits the amount of smoke produced by the material during the fire test. Smoke can be a significant hazard in a fire and can obscure visibility, making it difficult for occupants to escape.
Maximum flame spread: The flame spread of the facing material is also limited by the standard. Flame spread refers to the rate at which fire spreads across the surface of the material and is an important indicator of the potential for fire to spread throughout a room or building.
Performance with substrate materials: In addition to the requirements for the facing material itself, NFPA 286 also specifies requirements for the performance of the facing material in combination with substrate materials, such as gypsum board or wood. These requirements are intended to ensure that the facing material does not significantly increase the fire hazard associated with the substrate material.
The ICTT fire test laboratory has the IAS internationally recognized qualification of NFPA 286 standard, has a professional technical team, complete equipment and instruments, and is dedicated to providing you with efficient fire and flame retardant test services for building materials.
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