Who sets the rules of the game?
The basic requirements for safety in the event of a fire are found in the Planning and Building Act, PBL. The law applies to all types of construction works, i.e. buildings or other facilities.
The law is interpreted and clarified in the Housing Board’s Building regulations, BBR, which contains rules on fire protection and describes the minimum requirements both for the construction of new buildings and for the alteration of existing ones. In BBR section 5, binding regulations and general advice are given.
The fire protection requirements for a specific building are determined by the fire technical building class. In turn, the building class is determined by the risk of personal injury in the event of a collapse of the building part during a fire. The division into classes takes into account factors that affect the evacuation possibilities and the risk of personal injury in the event of a fire.
On the basis of which building class the building falls within and the function of each construction part, a relevant fire technical class is determined.
The fire technical class is what the client uses as a basis when choosing products, materials and constructions.
Five basic requirements
The safety regulations specify five basic requirements.
- The building's bearing capacity in the event of a fire must last for a certain period of time.
A building must not collapse during a certain period of time when it is on fire.
- The development and spread of fire and smoke within a building must be limited
Spreading is to be limited both within a fire cell and between fire cells.
- The spread of a fire to buildings in proximity must be limited
Regulates distance between detached buildings and building technology solutions for attached buildings.
- In the event of a fire, people must be able to leave the building or be rescued in another way
Includes, for example, alarm devices, emergency lighting and requirements for the design, number and dimensions of escape routes.
- Consideration for the safety of the rescue team
Requirements for accessibility and installations for fire fighting and rescue operations so that the safety of the rescue crew is ensured.
Which regulations apply to folding walls and movable walls
Of the basic requirements in BBR, mainly two concern folding and movable walls.
1. Development and spread of fire and smoke must be limited (BRF 5.5)
Materials in ceilings, walls, floors and fixed furnishings must have such properties that they:
- are difficult to ignite
- do not contribute to quick spread of fire
- do not quickly develop large amounts of heat or fire fumes
- do not get deformed at low fire exposure so that danger may arise
- do not fall or in any other way change
- do not melt or drip outside of the immediate vicinity of the fire
The level of requirements for materials depends on the amount of heat and fire gas that may be allowed to develop in the building.
Based on the building class and the function of each construction part, the fire technical class which shall apply is determined.
For class division of building parts, these designations are followed:
- R - loading ability
- E - integrity
- I - insulation
The designations R, RE, E, EI and REI are accompanied by a time indication, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 180, 240 or 360 minutes.
In terms of folding and movable walls, the relevant classification bases are Integrity (E) and Insulation (I), i.e. the wall's preconditions for preventing the spread of fire.
E means integrity against fire and is a tightness requirement which means that fire in the form of stab flames and the like does not penetrate the construction.
I means insulation and is a requirement for maximum temperature increase on the non-fire side of 140C˚ and of 180C˚ at individual points. The I-requirement is always combined with the E-requirement and cannot be used independently.
Winab’s folding walls are approved according to fire class EI30. Our movable walls meet both EI30 and EI60.
2. Persons must be able to leave the building or be saved in another way in the event of a fire (BRF 5.3)
Buildings must be designed so that there is an opportunity for satisfactory evacuation in the event of a fire. People evacuating must not be exposed to falling building parts, high temperature, high heat radiation, toxic fire gases or poor visibility that prevents evacuation to a safe place.
In terms of folding and movable doors, it must be taken into account that the wall, through its location, parking and shape, must never become an obstacle to planned escape routes.
Existing doors used for evacuation must be outward in the direction of escape and easy to identify as exits.