Fire Hazards of Exterior Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components

Blog Post created by mikehazell Employee on Feb 12, 2013

Many combustible materials are used today in commercial wall assemblies to improve energy performance, reduce water and air infiltration, and allow for aesthetic design flexibility. These assemblies include Exterior Insulation Finish Systems (EIFS), metal composite claddings, high-pressure laminates, and weather-resistive barriers (WRB). The combustibility of the assembly components directly impacts the fire hazard.  There have been a number of documented fire incidents involving combustible exterior walls, but a better understanding is needed of the specific scenarios leading to these incidents to inform current test methods and potential mitigating strategies. 

The Foundation has initiated a project with a goal to develop the technical basis for fire mitigation strategies for exterior fires exposing exterior combustible wall systems.  An RFP has been issued for the first phase of the work, which includes a review of incidents involving combustible exterior wall systems, compilation of relevant test methods and listing criteria, and development of fire scenarios and a testing approach for a Phase 2 evaluation.