OETI – Institute for Ecology, Technology and Innovation on Flooring Technology

Just a little knowledge refresher during the summer: European requirements for testing and classification of the burning behaviour of floor coverings

Testing and assessment of reaction to fire performance of construction products (including, but not limited to, floor coverings) is uniformly regulated within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), whereby the testing of floor coverings is in accordance with EN ISO 9293-1 (Radiant Panel Test) and / or EN ISO 11925-2 (Single Flame Test), and the classification is to be carried out in accordance with EN 13501-1.

The burning behaviour of floor coverings is expressed in classes A to F, with subscript fl (fl stands for flooring), where classes A (A1 and A2) are “non-flammable”, classes B and C are “low flammability”, classes D and E “normally flammable” and class F is “easily flammable”. In addition to the fire behaviour, an indication of the smoke development (smoke emission) is also made in the classification; the suffix “s1” means “low smoke emission”, the suffix “s2” stands for “strong smoke emission”. Thus, the former designation “hard-to-burn / low-smoke” (B1/Q1) in Austria, fire index 5.3 in Switzerland and B1 in Germany is now expressed by the European classification “Cfl-s1” or “Bfl-s1”.

Regarding the required fire classes for the individual types of buildings and areas of application, there is no unique European regulation; here, the respective national regulations still apply. However, it can be assumed that, at least for most public areas, a Cfl-s1 classification is required, while for private areas the fire classes Dfl and Efl are usually sufficient. In that context, it should also be noted that construction products with the fire classification F are generally prohibited or severely restricted in some Member States.