After decades of dealing with individual regional or national based fire classification systems, the building and construction industry can finally benefit from a unified European-wide fire testing standard accepted in all EU Member States.
The Single Burning Item (SBI) EN 13823 Test is the first harmonised standard for fire-performance testing of building and construction products. Based on the results from this test products are classified according to the European standard EN 13501-1.
With the SBI Test method polycarbonate sheets showed outstanding results and obtained an excellent rating according to the EN 13501-1 classification. Polycarbonate corrugated and solid sheets up to 6mm thick obtained a Class B- s1, d0 - the best classification possible for combustible materials. Polycarbonate multi-wall sheets obtained a classification of Class B-s1/s2, d0, depending on their thickness.
The SBI test was developed from an existing full scale room corner fire testing method (ISO9705) and is a consolidation of French, British and German testing methods. With the introduction of a harmonised system, the building and construction supply industry can avoid testing for several costly and time consuming individual national or regional based test methods.
The SBI test measures Fire Growth Rate (FIGRA), Lateral Flame Spread (LSF), Total Heat Release (THR), Smoke Growth Rate (SMOGRA) and Total Smoke Production (TSP). These parameters provide building regulators and fire engineers the necessary information to assess the superior reaction-to-fire characteristics of polycarbonate compared to traditional construction materials and other construction plastics, such as PMMA.