High volumes of cabling in buildings, (where we spend most of our time), have been recognised as a potential major fire and smoke risk. Fire can rapidly spread through a building via the data cables and its routing. Before CPR, fire safety precautions in this area may have been insufficient.
The new CPR (Construction Products Regulations), mandatory as of 1st July 2017, introduced new fire safety classifications and requires that all cabling sold throughout the EEA (European Economic Area) carries a CE mark and be provided with a DoP (Declaration of Performance) certificate, with the intention of saving lives and protecting buildings in the event of a fire.
Originally, cables were only classified on flame spread, there are now 7 main classifications that look at fire performance, including heat release and flame spread, with 3 additional sub classifications that cover smoke production, flaming droplets and production of acidic gases.
The key aspect that will be shown on the new CE marking and DoP labels is the Reaction to Fire Euro-class. The new classes designated to cabling are as follows:
Aca , B1ca , B2ca , Cca , Dca , Eca , Fca
These classes are in scale of performance, with class Aca essentially being non-combustible and Fca being a cable that usually burns completely. On the whole, the majority of cables intended to be used in buildings will have a minimum performance of class Eca. We would suggest that a higher rating should be used.
For classes, B1ca, B2ca, Cca and Dca there are also sub classes which cover the Evolution of Smoke (sub classes s1, s1a, s1b, s2 and s3), Occurrence of Flaming Droplets (subclasses d0, d1 and d2) and the Evolution of Acidic Gases (sub classes a1, a2 and a3). So a full Reaction to Fire Code covers ‘Class + Smoke + Droplets + Acidity’ and would look something like:
These new Euro-classes and sub classes really are a unique turning point in Data Cabling Fire Safety and should, in conjunction with proper fire stopping along cable routing, go some way to preventing loss of life and building damage in the event of a fire in buildings where new class cabling is installed.
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