1. Introduction
  2. Building Construction
  3. Electrical Engineering & Electronics
  4. Transport
  5. Furniture, furnishings and textiles


1. Introduction

The aim of fire protection is to minimize the risk of a fire thus protecting life, the environment and possessions. The state, as official custodian of public safety, ensures such protection via relevant legislation, laws and statutory orders. Standards and codes of practice based on recognized technical principles are the means of putting the general requirements of fire protection defined in the legislation into practice.

Materials, semi-finished and finished products are tested according to methods laid down in the standards and classified according to the test results. Such tests are carried out by officially recognized materials testing institutes.
The certificate of the test result and classification provides a basis for the use of the material or product. A test mark is frequently required as evidence that the product conforms to fire safety and other specific product requirements.
This implies a quality check on production either by the manufacturer or a notified outside body.

These requirements generally apply to all products used in building construction, transportation, electrical engineering & electronics (E&E), furniture and textiles.


2. Building & Construction

In the European Union (EU), the harmonization of the legislative, regulatory and administrative provisions of the 28 Member States for a single European market is the responsibility of the European Commission (EC).

• 1989 European Construction Products Directive amended by the 2011 Construction Products Regulation

• Aim: Free trade of construction products in the EU

• "Safety in case of fire" one of 7 Basic Works Requirements" BWR

• In all EU Member States same fire classes and tests

• Products fulfilling the ER obtain CE-Mark


The 2011 "Construction Products Regulation (CPR)" (EU 305/2011) has the purpose to allow the free trade of construction products in the EU. It deals with types of products and includes seven Basic Works requirements, which have to be met by a construction product to obtain a CE-Mark. Details are covered in interpretative Documents (i.e. Essential Requirement "Safety in Case of Fire").


In all 28 EU Member States, the CPR requests harmonised fire classes (Euroclasses) and tests. Construction products fulfilling the BWRs described in a product standard obtain a CE-Mark. (The CE-Mark is a "passport" to free circulation of construction products in the EU Member States).


The new "Construction Products Regulation (CPR)" entered into force in March 2011. However, the main parts of its substantial Articles applied later on 1 July 2013. The CPR is a simplified harmonised legislative framework. It contains the new 7th Basic Work Requirement BWR7 "Sustainable use of natural resources". 

The reaction to fire of construction products is classified in the Euroclasses. An example is the classification of surface products (wall and ceiling linings) into the classes A1, A2, B, C, D, E and F:

  • A1 and A2 represent the two degrees of non-combustibility and limited combustibility
  • B-E represent products that may go to flashover in a room and at certain times
  • F means that no performance is determined
  • Additional classes of smoke production (s1 to s3) and of flaming droplets/particles (do-d2) have also been introduced, but they are not mandatory

The European reaction to fire classification and testing system is mandatory for all Member States. However, the fire safety regulations of the single Member States and the fire safety levels laid down therein are not part of European harmonization and remain the responsibility of the Member States.

The reaction to fire testing methods used to classify construction products according to the Euroclasses for surface products (linings) and floor coverings are:

Test Method


Non-combustibility – Furnace test

EN ISO 1182

Calorific value (PCS) – Bomb calorimeter

EN ISO 1716

Single Burning Item (SBI) test

EN   13823

Small flame test

EN ISO 11925-2

Radiant Panel (Flooring) test

EN ISO 9239-1

Fire classification

EN 13501

Standard substrates for product samples

EN 13238


For combustible construction products, the most important fire testing devices are the Single Burning Item test (SBI), the small flame test and the radiant panel (flooring) test.

The SBI test to EN 13823 is a very demanding larger-scale test (samples 1.5 x 1 and 1.5 x 0.5 m) for classification into the Euroclasses A2 to D.





The small flame test to EN 11925-2 is mandatory for classification into Euroclass E and as a preliminary test for the SBI test into Euroclasses B-D.





The flooring radiant panel test to EN ISO 9239-1 provides the classification into Euroclasses A2-D for floor coverings.





 3. Electrical engineering & electronics

General safety requirements including fire safety are defined in European Directives like the Low Voltage (LVD) and the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directives. Specific fire safety requirements and references to flammability tests are contained in national (like Underwriters Laboratories UL in the USA) and international standards like IEC, CENELEC and the corresponding national standards.

Certification of E&E equipment is provided by various systems like the CB scheme, the UL certifications, and approval procedures in Europe.Since August 2003, the CCC (China Compulsory Certification) Mark is required for a wide range of manufactured electrical and non-electrical products before being exported to or sold in the Peoples Republic of China market.


The most important fire tests for E&E equipment are the flammability tests based on UL 94, taken over internationally by IEC and in Europe by EN as IEC/EN 60695-11-10 (HB, V2-V0) and IEC/EN 60695-11-20 (5VA and 5VB), the glow wire tests to IEC/EN 60695-2-10 to 13 and the needle flame test to IEC/EN 60695-11-5.


Flammability tests to IEC/EN 60695-11-10:


Horizontal burning (HB)                                                    Vertical burning (V2, V1, V0)



(www.fibox.de)                                                                (www.fibox.de)








Afterflame time after each flame application

≤ 10 s

≤ 30 s

≤ 30 s

Total afterflame time per set (10 flame applications)

≤ 50 s

≤ 250 s

≤ 250 s

Complete burn up




Afterflame and afterglow time after each flame application

≤ 30 s

≤ 60 s

≤ 60 s

Ignition of cotton wool






The glow wire tests to IEC/EN 60695-2-10 to 13

The glow-wire tests are mainly required in Europe and increasingly in Asia. The European standard EN 60335-1 “Household and similar electrical appliances – Safety – Part 1” contains safety requirements in Section 30 “Resistance against fire and heat. It refers to the glow wire tests described in EN/IEC 606952-10 to 13:


  • IEC 60695-2-10 Glow wire

Apparatus and common test procedure

  • IEC 60695-2-11 Glow wire

Flammability test for end products (GWT)

  • IEC 60695-2-12 Glow wire

Flammability test for materials (GWFI)

  • IEC 60695-2-13 Glow wire

Ignitability test for materials (GWIT)



For non-attended appliances of >0.2 A, the requirements to EN 60335-1, Section 30, are:

  • IEC 60695-2-11 Flammability test for end products (GWT):        750°C < 2 s
  • IEC 60695-2-12 Flammability test for materials (GWFI):             850°C < 30 s
  • IEC 60695-2-13 Ignitability test for materials (GWIT):               775°C < 5 s





4. Transport


In transportation, the fire safety requirements and tests are basically international. While motor vehicle and aircraft requirements originate from the USA, those for ships were developed by the International Maritime Organization IMO. In the European Union, the requirements for railways have been harmonized.


Road vehicles

Specific requirements for materials and components in the interior of cars, trucks and buses are valid and tested all over the world according to FMVSS 302 (or ISO 3795). It is a Bunsen burner test with horizontal specimens. The rate of flame spread may not exceed 101 mm/min. Many car manufacturers have more stringent specifications such as 80 mm/min or less.




The 1995 EU Directive 95/28/EC relates to the fire behavior of materials used in buses and coaches (M3 category of motor vehicles with more than 22 passengers). In addition to the FMVSS 302 test for horizontal burning rate, the small burner test to ISO 6941 for vertical sample burning rate of curtains, and the French dripping test to NFP 92505 for the melting behavior of ceilings are required. The Directive will be revised in light of the amended UNECE Regulation R 118, where all vertical materials must now be tested for vertical burning rate.




Fire safety requirements are part of the European Directive on the interoperability of the trans-European high-speed rail system. The seven parts standard EN 45545 'Railway applications - Fire protection on railway vehicles' has been developed to harmonize classifications and fire testing. EN 45545 Part 2 contains the requirements for the fire behaviour of materials and components.

The most important fire tests used in EN 45545-2 are the flame propagation, the cone calorimeter and the smoke and toxicity tests. They are all based on radiant panels with heat fluxes of 25 and 50 kW/m²:

flame propagation in radiant panel to ISO 5658-2




heat release in cone calorimeter to ISO 5660-1





smoke/toxicity in single chamber smoke box to ISO 5659-2





The International Maritime Organization IMO develops international regulations and standards to improve the safety of sea vessels. IMO has developed the Fire Test Procedures Code (FTP Code), which contains fire testing methods for flammability, smoke and toxicity to meet fire safety requirements for materials and components used on ships.


IMO FTP Code fire tests



The fire tests for surface flammability (Part 5; ISO 5658-2), fire-restricting materials (Part 9; ISO 5660-1), and smoke and toxicity (Part 2; ISO 5659-2) are identical to those mentioned above under railways. However, they differ in requirements details and classification. 



Most countries in the world have adopted the US Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a basis for ensuring airworthiness. (in Europe present as JAA – Joint Airworthiness Authorities).

Big Producers like Boeing and Airbus have defined additional requirements for parts and materials used in their aircraft (BSS, ABD/AITM)

The methods used to test materials and components in the cabins and holds of transport aircraft are described in Appendix F of FAR Part 25 - Airworthiness standards: Transport category airplanes. Bunsen burners are used as for the vertical, horizontal, forty five and a sixty degree flammability tests. In addition, more demanding "improved flammability standards for materials used in the interior of transport category airplanes cabins" tests were introduced later, such as the OSU chamber test for measuring the heat release of materials, the Kerosene burner for seats and more recently, the Burnthrough Resistance test, which determines the fire performance of thermal/acoustic insulation materials in the lower half of fuselage.

OSU Chamber test





Kerosene Burner test for seats





Burnthrough Resistance test





Smoke density is measured in the NBS Smoke Chamber. In addition, aircraft producers such as Boeing and Airbus Industries have defined additional requirements for the toxicity of parts and materials used in their airplanes, which are also measured in the NBS Smoke Chamber.

NSB-smoke chamber



5. Furniture and textiles

• In Europe, compulsory fire safety requirements for upholstered furniture, bedding and seats are asked for specific applications in building and transportation (trains, ships)

• Compulsory requirements for upholstered furniture in private homes only apply in the UK and Ireland

• The European General Product Safety Directive sets minimum fire safety requirements
for upholstered furniture

Under the Consumer Safety Act, the UK Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, Statutory Instrument No. 1324, was published. It essentially limits the mass loss of a small, simulated chair, when exposed to defined fire sources (cigarette, simulated match and wood cribs). The test procedures are described in BS 5852 Parts 1 and 2 and have in the meantime been taken over as European standards EN 1021 Parts 1 and 2 (cigarette and match tests; wood cribs are not included).


UK Fire Tests for Upholstered Furniture

The BS 5852 tests ignition sources are:

• BS 5852 (EN 1021-1, ISO 8191-1) Part 1 Cigarette test

• BS 5852 (EN 1021-2, ISO 8191-2) Part 1 Simulated match (145 mm gas flame)

• BS 5852 Part 2 describes further gas flame tests (240 mm Flame) and 4 wood crib tests (4 to 7 with 8.5, 17, 60, 126 g wood cribs)




Flammability requirements for seating in France

In the French regulations for public buildings ERP, some changes have occurred for building interiors (Aménagements Intérieurs AM). Under Article AM18, the French M tests for seats in cinemas have been replaced by NF D60-013 of June 2006 (Protocol for evaluating the ignitability of upholstered seating – Ignition source equivalent to a burning 20 gram paper cushion – covers and upholstery). The burner is a smaller Belfagor burner. This standard is based on the EN 1021-3 draft, which was finally not adopted as a European standard.