Aluminium Solar Shading Fire Safety

Posted by: solinear 10/07/2017

How Do Solinear Ensure Our Systems Are Safe?

Here at Solinear the safety aspect of our brise soleil, solar shading and architectural louvre systems are of paramount importance. The devastating fire at Grenfell tower block in London last month causing irreparable damage to both the building and the lives of those affected, serves as a harsh reminder that there can be no compromise when it comes to fire safety.

All our external solar shading systems are designed, manufactured and installed by our team, with the greatest care and emphasis on safety. Working closely with Principle Contractors, each Solinear project is fully reviewed, approved and deemed 100% compliant with CDM, building and fire regulations before any installation takes place.

Working in accordance with our numerous quality and health & safety accreditations, we retain material certification for every project we undertake, ensuring that each and every system we create has the relevant documented evidence of our diligence with regards to safety compliance.

Are Aluminium Solar Shading Systems Fire Safe?

The simple answer is, Yes! Aluminium has a melting point of approximately 600-660°C, with hundreds of thousands of tonnes heated past melting point in order to recycle the material each year, if it were possible to burn aluminium, this recycling would be impossible. This is why we love the stuff.

The non-combustible properties of aluminium alloy make it a widely used material within the construction of buildings, rated A1 under the current classification system, it achieves the highest possible rating a material can achieve.

What the Euroclass System Classification Means?

The Euroclass classification system categorises materials with regards to their reaction and performance when faced with fire. Aluminium alloy proudly sits in the top spot of A1, but for those of you unfamiliar with the Euroclass system this classification may not be completely clear. We’ve put together a summary below to give you a better idea of just how fire-safe aluminium actually is.

 

EUROCLASS SYSTEM TABLE

Classification Contribution to Fire Example Material
A1 Non-Combustible, No contribution to fire Aluminium Alloy, Concrete, Stone, Glass & Steel
A2 Extremely Low Contribution to Fire Mineral Wool, Thin Paper Gypsum Boards
B Very Low Contribution to Fire Fire Retardant Wood Products, Thick Paper Gypsum Boards
C Limited Contribution to Fire Paper-Based Coverings on Gypsum Boards
D Acceptable Contribution to Fire Untreated Wood
E Medium Contribution to Fire Expanded Polystyrene Foam, Synthetic Polymers
F Combustible, High Contribution to Fire Untested, Combustible Materials

What Aluminium Alloy Is Made From & How Is It Tested?

The material within our systems guarantees the highest levels of compliance to all building and fire regulations, but what exactly is in aluminium alloy? We’ve broken down a typical piece of aluminium we use on our brise soleil systems.

Composition:

Material Compostition
Magnesium .45 – .9%
Silicon .2 – .6%
Iron .35% Max
Manganese .1% Max
Copper .1% Max
Chromium .1% Max
Zinc .1% Max
Aluminium Remainder – 97%

This short list of ingredients, mixed together forms what we all know as aluminium. Sourcing only the best aluminium from our highly accredited, vetted and responsible suppliers, we ensure that each length of material can be successfully traced and identified. This means that we can be positive that the aluminium used within the manufacture of our solar shading systems has been vigilantly tested and approved. Firstly, a non-combustibility test to EN ISO 1182 is performed, followed by a gross calorific potential test to EN ISO 1716, with only the finest materials, successfully tested, approved and granted a place without our systems.

What About Painted Aluminium?

You’ve probably noticed our brise soleil, solar shading and architectural louvres can be installed in a vivid array of colours, not just a natural aluminium finish. So, does this addition of powder coated paint affect the aluminium Euroclass A1 rating and more importantly the safety of the building?

Our aluminium systems are powder coated to BS EN 12206:2004 standards, with the paint also in compliance with British Standard 476 Part 6 & Part 7. Part 6, ‘Fire Propagation’, which measures the level of contribution to fire growth ensuring the acceptable levels required for use on buildings are not exceeded. Part 7, ‘Surface Spread of Flame’ measures the actual spread of flame due to the paint.

The Class 0 building regulation approval our powder coated paint has achieved, together with the A1 Euroclass aluminium rating creates a non-combustible, safe and sturdy brise soleil system that gives our clients complete piece of mind, alongside a beautiful but functional system.

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