Fire Rated Construction Hoarding: Complete Guide

10 July 2024 Insights

Whether it be construction hoarding, external hoarding or internal hoarding, site accommodation hoarding or weatherproof hoarding, all hoarding products used in construction and fit out project works require a fire rating.

 

As construction hoarding experts, having worked on many large internal site segregation projects such as the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme, 40 Leadenhall Street, and One Sherwood Street, Westgate Global have extensive experience regarding the complexities of fire safety regulations for temporary construction hoarding.

 

With increased scrutiny since the Grenfell disaster (where cladding on the outside of the building was not fit for purpose), it’s more crucial than ever before to ensure that you understand the ins and outs of fire safety in products used for construction or fit out and refurbishment works.

 

We know construction hoarding fire ratings are complex and may seem quite confusing. In this helpful guide we aim to explain the types of fire rated hoarding available, provide a breakdown on fire rating classifications, de-jargon related terminology (e.g. flame retardant and flame resistant may not necessarily mean fire rated), and help you understand everything you need to know.

 

It’s important that in addition to speaking with businesses like ours who can consult and supply fire rated insulated hoarding panels for your project, that you seek expert fire safety advice from a fire safety professional. This will ensure your selected panel choice and its classifications meet the exact needs of your specific project requirements.

 

Fire rated hoarding for Mace Construction

Internal hoarding supplied to Mace for 40 Leadenhall Street

 

What is ‘fire rating’?

 

Fire rating is a way of determining how much time a passive fire protection system can withstand fire; time over temperature.

Even if a hoarding panel is fire rated, it’s important to remember that nothing can be fully ‘fireproof’. Everything has a burning point, and given enough energy anything can be burned, melted or vaporised. In the context of buildings, over a sustained period a fire can damage the very fabric of the building itself. Even materials like bricks can crack, and metal can warp under prolonged heat.

Passive fire protection systems that compartmentalise a building using fire rated walls and gap filling measures, can work to reduce that exposure time, so that a fire can be controlled before structural damage can occur.

 

 

What is fire rated hoarding?

 

There are many types of construction hoarding panels available. The environment (e.g. construction sites, shopping centres, offices, hospitals) combined with the use (e.g. construction, fit out or welfare rooms creation) and the type of project (internal or external), would all be a factor in which hoarding to select for your project;

 

  • Plywood hoarding: a common and traditional type of hoarding made from plywood sheets
  • PVC hoarding: lightweight interlocking coextruded panels made from uPVC
  • Steel faced hoarding: rockwool or PIR foam filled panels with a steel face on both sides
  • Metal/steel hoarding: a common solid surface for external use, more durable option compared to plywood
  • Mesh hoarding: used externally, see through, lightweight, ideal for short-term projects

 

Fire rated hoarding is a panel, sheet or board that has passed a series of British Standard and/or European Standard tests. These tests enable each panel to be classified, and with assigned fire rating classifications, inform you how resistant to fire that product is.

 

It’s important to note that not all types of hoarding are fire rated. Within our Hoardfast range of hoarding panels, we provide a standard uPVC panel, and also steel faced internal hoarding panels that offer various fire ratings. These steel faced panels can also be used externally on construction projects to create site perimeter hoarding or weatherproof hoarding.

 

 

What is the UK construction hoarding regulations for fire safety?

 

Fire rated hoarding is a must during construction, building, fit out and refurbishment project works to ensure the safety of workers and public. The UK hoarding regulations state that temporary works should identify sources of fuel and ignition and establish general fire precautions. This includes the use of hoarding as material that has the potential to burn.

 

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) states that a responsible person, usually the main or principal contractor in control of the site “must carry out, and keep up to date, a risk assessment and implement appropriate measures to minimise the risk to life and property from fire”. It is therefore imperative that any hoarding used on a construction site is assessed for its resistance to fire.

 

The Joint Code of Practice (JCoP) for Fire Prevention on construction sites was first established in 1992, has since been revised (10th edition) to reflect changes in standards, practice and modern materials and construction methods. Regarding the use of hoarding erected to create temporary welfare areas within a building under construction, the JCoP sets out expectations in section 13.5. “Temporary accommodation must be constructed with materials which do not significantly contribute to the growth of a fire or propagation of smoke and/or corrosive fumes”, and must also meet additional criteria. To achieve a compliant fire break, any hoarding must be installed slab-to-slab with any gaps fully sealed (firestop) to constitute a fire rated barrier.

 

We work with heads of industries including fire and construction to ensure we follow best practice and guidelines relating to the use of temporary hoarding within construction.

 

What are the UK and EU standards for fire rated hoarding?

 

The British Standard for fire ratings includes multiple classes, such as A1, A2, C which all carry the prefix BS (or EN which is British Standard versions of the European Standards). Any classification which carries a BS or EN prefix will have the same status of authority.

Building regulations stipulate the rules and degree of fire resistance.

 

The British Standard 476 (BS476) dictates the appropriate fire tests for these elements and grades the level of fire resistance. The tests (designed to test flame spread and propagation) that are relevant to the Solid Surface industry (and therefore relating to construction hoarding) are BS476 part 6 and BS476 part 7:

 

  • BS 476 part 6: Fire Propagation Test
  • BS 476 part 7: Surface Spread of Flame Test

 

The BS 476 part 7 test produces a fire rating of Class 1, 2, 3 or 4 depending upon how far a flame travels over a surface. Class 1 is the best rating i.e. the lowest flame spread.

 

Class 0 fire rating (a classification for fire safety within and around buildings) is outlined in Parts 1 and 2 of the Fire Safety: Approved Document B. To achieve a Class 0 Fire Rating, products must achieve Class 1 in the Part 7 test and also pass the Part 6 test.

 

In Europe, testing is standardised through EN 13501-1: Fire classification of construction products and building elements. Hoarding panels that have achieved an EN fire rating will show the properties of a product based on three criteria, and look like: A2, s1, d1.

 

There are 7 reactions to fire classifications levels available. The reaction to fire classification determines how much (if any) a material contributes to the spread of flame:

  • A1, A2 = Non-combustible materials
  • B, C, D = Ranges from very limited to medium contribution to fire
  • E, F = High contribution to fire

 

The ‘s’ part relates to total smoke propagation, during the first ten minutes of exposure.
These determine a ‘smoke’ index:

  • S1 = a little or no smoke
  • S2 = quite a lot of smoke
  • S3 = substantial smoke

 

The ‘d’ part relates to ‘flaming droplets and particles’ during the first 10 minutes of exposure.
The index is:

  • D0 = none
  • D1 = some
  • D2 = quite a lot

Table

 

Since the Grenfell Enquiry, there has been a full review of regulations relating to Solid Surface classifications. There is encouragement for the industry to transition to EN standards for consistency, as EN standards are increasingly being recognised as a more comprehensive and up to date standard for fire resistance testing elements in construction.

 

Which internal hoarding panels are fire rated?

 

Hoarding panel fire ratings comparison table

 

Our Hoardfast fire rated products are tested to the European/BSI standards. BSI are members of the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN). The classifications of the tests are based on research carried out by thousands of technical experts. The descriptions of results of classification are taken directly from the standards.

 

It’s useful to note that it is the ‘panel’ which hold the BS or EN classification. When panels are purchased as part of a ‘system’ (which includes any support mechanisms), more often than not, the system itself is not covered under the classification.

 

Our comprehensive Hoardfast range meets industry standards for building regulations and compliance when it comes to fire rating certifications, insulation, acoustic reduction and dust control. With their ability to insulate, control dust and reduce noise caused from works, Hoardfast internal hoarding panels allow live environments and facilities to remain fully operational while construction, fit out or refurbishment works are taking place.

 

Hoardfast uPVC is a co-extruded hollow-fluted panel with a lower classification in fire rating compared to other panels within the range. If you require a panel that can insulate as well as reduce noise, Hoardfast Soundscreen is an acoustic hoarding panel. It is perforated to one side and mainly used across fit out projects, being designed to absorb, and reduce the impact of, noise created from works within live environments. It provides an average of 34db in sound reduction and is manufactured from materials with limited combustibility (even on perforated side).

 

 

60 minute fire rated hoarding

 

Fire rated hoarding panels that offers 60 minute protection, are suitable for use as;

 

  • internal construction hoarding
  • internal or external access tunnel hoarding
  • external weatherproof hoarding
  • internal site accommodation hoarding
  • external site perimeter hoarding

 

Hoardfast Firescreen is our steel faced insulated 60 min fire rated hoarding panel. It has a laminated steel faced finish to both sides and is filled with mineral wool to provide a non-combustible fire rated panel. It won’t give way under intensity to heat, but it will increase in temperature over time as the panels are designed to contain the heat source.

 

Airport fire rated hoardings

Hoardfast Firescreen installed at Manchester Airport and Birmingham Airport to create passenger tunnels and walkways

 

 

By having Hoardfast Firescreen installed, rather than treated plywood, you’re maximising the safety of your site. But also improving the look with an aesthetic finish that can enhance customer or passenger (in the case of airports) experience.

 

The interlocking panel can be assembled and installed quickly and safely, and can achieve a fire rating of up to 60 minutes: providing a cost-effective alternative to traditional hoarding methods like timber and stud partitioning.

 

For internal set ups requiring Hoardfast Firescreen with 60 minute fire resistance, we supply fire rated doors, and can also provide windows and vision panels to complete the set up.

 

There are also fire rated hoarding panels available which achieve 120 minute resistance to fire. These panels can be considerably heavier than 60 minute fire rated hoarding panels. They are not as easy to move about site due to their size/dimensions, and therefore weight, which makes them less practical and higher in cost. Even though they maybe less cost effective than a 60 minute hoarding panel, in some instances it may be imperative to have 120 minute fire rated panels.

 

 

What is the difference between Fire Rated, Flame Retardant and Fire Resistant?

 

When researching the types of internal hoarding panels available, combined with levels of classification for fire resistance or flame retardancy, even a simple Google search can serve up differing terminology.

 

It’s easy for the process of internal hoarding panel selection to become quite daunting, with different terms used to explain what a panel does or doesn’t do in the event of a fire. When something is ‘designed to resist or withstand fire’, what does that actually mean?

 

Below we provide a quick guide to the terms you often read when talking about fire rated insulated hoarding panels and other passive fire protection systems;

Fire rated terms table

 

Key considerations for selecting fire rated hoarding

 

  • Type of environment – understand what regulations you need to comply with for the environment you are working in
  • Type of project – understand the needs of the project (internal/external, long or short term etc)
  • Fire Ratings – choose a panel with a fire rating that meets your exact environment and project needs
  • Material Type – does it need to be composite, tough, robust, interlocking, aesthetic etc
  • Useable working space – is there enough space for a hoarding system within the workable area
  • Installation – what equipment will you need for the installation and is the area accessible

 

Hoardfast Firescreen in use in live environment

Used at One Sherwood Street, London for Wates. Hoardfast Firescreen offered dual purpose needs – to create internal site offices plus also create external weatherproof walls

 

Once you have selected which panel to use for your project, another factor to take into consideration is the use of firestopping. Our fire rated hoarding panels can be fitted floor-to-ceiling (slab-to-slab), but to comply with health and safety, you must ensure that any gaps (no matter how small) are sealed to create a firestop – this is a mandatory requirement as outlined in the UK and Ireland Building Regulations and JCoP. Cables, pipes and ductwork can cause breaches and often go unnoticed.

 

A competent person, employed by a certified contractor or an individual who is trained and certified by an authoritative body, are the only persons capable of carrying out this work. We work with firestopping contractors, suitable professionals with the required certifications, to ensure our solutions are fit for purpose. We can either put you in touch, or as part of your Westgate Global hoarding project bring them in within our subcontract.

 

Fire rated construction and fit out hoarding panels should not be confused with fire rated plasterboard for domestic use. For dwellings, 60 min fire board is used to create stud walls, floors and ceilings within a residential building. Timber stud partitions are more flammable than metal studs, so fire-rated plasterboard can stop the chances of timber studs causing a fire to spread into partition walls. The government provides documentation for fire safety in the form of building regulations for dwellings, which can help you to improve fire safety in residential buildings.

 

As experts with experience in the supply and install of fire rated hoarding, we hope we have explained the types of fire rated hoarding panels available, and you now know the difference between a fire rated insulated hoarding panel and a flame resistant panel.

 

Still unsure about which type of hoarding you need? Call us and talk this through with a member of our construction and fit out hoarding team; we can discuss your project and provide further information on our fire rated hoarding panels which you can share with a fire safety professional to ensure it meets the needs of your project, and the safety and protection of your workers and public.