New, online interactive tool helps decode exterior wall requirements and navigate building codes

Blog Post created by tracyvecchiarelli Employee on Aug 3, 2017

tool to help decode exterior wall requirements

The tragic fire that occurred in London represents the latest in a series of high-rise fires that have occurred worldwide over the past decade - from Melbourne to Jakarta to Berlin to Las Vegas. All of these fires involved high-rise buildings with exterior wall coverings or insulation that include combustibles, like MCMs, HPLs, EIFS, or foamed plastic insulation.


NFPA 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components, provides a straightforward test method for evaluating these walls. The issue is determining when NFPA 285 applies... because it can get complicated.


With that understanding, NFPA has developed a free, interactive online tool to understand the code requirements for exterior walls containing combustible components, whether you follow NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code® or the ICC’s International Building Code (IBC).

The tool helps navigate code requirements quickly and easily, asking a series of questions about the building’s construction type and height, along with the specific features of the combustible components. Based on the selections made, the tool will lead to the appropriate code section within the 2015 edition of NFPA 5000 or the 2015 edition of IBC. There are also pop-ups within the tool to provide additional information, diagrams and videos. Here's a brief overview of how it works:



Check out our new landing page for a wide range of information and resources on exterior walls containing combustible materials, including the new NFPA 285 tool at