Classification and testing of cables under the European Construction Products Regulation (CPR)

The fire properties of cables are of great importance from a fire safety perspective. As a result, power and communication cables have been included in the classification system under the European CPR published as EN 13501-6 in 2014[1].

In September 2014, CENELEC TC 20[2] published a product standard for cables, EN 50575[3], which is to be published in The Official Journal of the European Union (OJ) in mid-2015. This means that all cable manufacturers who intend to sell cables for use in permanent installations in buildings in Europe must obtain CE-marking for their products. Once the standard is published in the OJ there will be a transitional period, which has not yet been defined.

The European CEMAC project (CE-Marking of Cables)[4] has recently been concluded. The results of the work will significantly reduce the volume of testing required for CE-marking of cables in Europe according to the CLC/TS 50576[5] standard for extended field of application (EXAP). It allows a limited number of cables belonging to a larger group (‘family’) of cables to be fire-tested. The results of these tests are interpolated for the classification of part of, or the entire cable family. This eliminates the need for the extensive testing of the individual cables of a cable family that can be expected to have the same fire behavior. In most cases, EXAP is a prerequisite for CE-marking.

Manufacturers must test the cables specified in their EXAP report in accordance with two compulsory standards:

• EN 50399[6] is the most commonly used fire test for cables. Measured quantities are Flame Spread (FS), Heat Release Rate (HRR), Total Heat Release (THR), Fire Index Growth Rate (FIGRA), Smoke Production Rate (SPR), and Total Smoke Production (TSP). Toxic gas species can also be measured using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR).



EN 50399 test chamber (Source SP)


• EN 60332-1-2[7]. In this test, a flame with 1 kW of heat output is applied to a single cable. The measured quantity, H, is the length of the combusted or charred section of the cable.

The results of the fire tests are presented in reports, which are then used as a basis for a classification report in accordance with EN 13501-6. The classification report provides the manufacturer with the basis for the CE-marking of cables in accordance with EN 50575.

More info available under:


[1] EN 13501-6:2014. Fire classification of construction products and building elements - Part 6: Classification using data from reaction to fire tests on electric cables

[2] European Committee for Electro-technical Standardization, Technical Committee 20

[3] EN 50575:2014. Power, control and communication cables - Cables for general applications in construction works subject to reaction to fire requirements


[5] CLC/TS 50576:2014. Electric cables - Extended application of test results

[6] EN 50399:2011. Common test methods for cables under fire conditions - Heat release and smoke production measurement on cables during flame spread test - Test apparatus, procedures, results

[7] EN 60332-1-2:2004. Tests on electric and optical fibre cables under fire conditions - Part 1-2: Test for vertical flame propagation for a single insulated wire or cable - Procedure for 1 kW pre-mixed flame