The parameters that determine the fire-reaction rating are measured using laboratory tests performed in compliance with the standards that guarantee their repeatability. The standards define the fire model, the equipment, the procedures and methods used for the tests. The standard defines the criteria for attributing a particular rating on the basis of the test results.
EU standard UNI EN 13501-1 regulates the classification of reaction to fire of products and construction elements. The fire-reaction rating is determined according to the standard EN 13823:2002 using the test entitled “S.B.I. Single Burning Item”, which is used for all materials except those laid as flooring. The standard EN ISO 9239-1:2002 is used for flooring, performed on a radiant panel (Burning behaviour of floorings, using a radiant heat source). In this case the materials are rated according to Euro-classes A1, A2, B,..., F. Materials rated A1 are non-combustible and those certified with A2, B, C, D, E, F ratings burn in ascending order. The European classification system also rates smoke, droplets and other parameters used to define the fire-reaction ratings with specific abbreviations, such as: B-s1,d0, in which s stands for smoke and d for droplets. This additional classification goes from 0 (absent) to 3 (high).
In addition to the EU rating system, in Italy it is necessary to comply with national standards as prescribed by the DM (Italian Ministerial Decree) of 6 March 1992. Only the Ministry of the Interior is authorised to perform the tests for compliance with this standard. Paint and varnish products thus tested are effective if they comply with the application constraints imposed by the standard UNI 9796.
The only products not required to comply with Italian standards are construction materials for which a European product standard exists and that bear the CE mark (construction elements permanently incorporated into construction works). It is not possible to make a direct comparison between Italian and EU ratings because the evaluation methods and criteria are completely different. However, the D.M. of 15 March 2005 introduced a comparison table for Italian and EU ratings in order to facilitate the interchange within the EC of materials certified according to different local standards.
See comparison table
The parameters determining fire-resistance are assessed by laboratory tests performed in compliance with the standards that guarantee their repeatability.
These standards also define the fire model, the equipment, the procedures and methods used for the tests and the criteria for certifying the product.
The EU reference standard is UNI ENV 13381-7:2002 (Test Methods For Determining The Contribution To The Fire Resistance Of Structural Members - Applied Protection To Timber Members). This method makes it possible to rate the performance of a reactive varnish with a complex series of tests whose results are summarised in an assessment report. This document divides the various degrees of increase in fire-resistance by resistance rating and by quantity of varnish applied.