prEN 16733: Standard draft for testing and classifying the propensity of construction products to undergo continuous smouldering

In the past, the smouldering of construction products has led to a larger number of fires. A well-known example is the blaze of the Berlin Philharmonic Hall (“Berliner Philharmonie”) in 2008[1].


Source AFP/DDP

With Germany as the main instigator, the European Commission initiated the Mandate M/385 to develop a standard regarding the smouldering of construction products. The European Technical Committee for standardisation CEN/TC 127 „Fire Safety in Buildings“ was requested to develop this test method to determine possible glowing combustion behaviour in building products. In defining the test method, the standards Nordic NT Fire 002 and Austrian Önorm B 3800 (Schlyter-test) were considered.

Meanwhile, the draft standard prEN 16733[2] is available since 2014. It specifies a test for determining the propensity of products to smoulder continuously when exposed to an open flame under the influence of natural convective airflow. The document is to be used for all building products classified to EN 13501-1 (“Euroclasses”). In addition to the test method, it is foreseen to include a classification system of the continuous smouldering of building products and to publish the standard in 2016.

A test specimen vertically mounted in a frame is exposed to a gas burner flame. Smouldering is detected by measuring temperatures using thermocouples installed at defined distances within the vertical test specimen and the observation of sustained flaming following re-ignition.

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Source BASF

In the European classification and testing system, this standard will address smouldering as an important cause for fires and help to optimize the fire safety of construction products.