installation flat roof

Firesmart: New Fire Resistant Bitumen for Flat Roofs

In the UK, there are many residential and commercial owners that have made the switch and invested in flat roofing systems. As required by legislation, flat roofing materials are tested to confirm their fire rating and to ensure they are suitable and safe to use.

There are many different types of felt roofing membranes such as bituminous, cold liquid or synthetic material. These are installed over a thermal insulation board, Polyisocyanurate (PIR) being the most common due it’s thermal resistance. This enables buildings to be kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer. While there are many fire resistant systems for flat roofs in the current market, would you not want the most effective and durable system so your flat roof offers maximum protection to your property?

Thanks to Icopal, an innovative company based in Manchester, North West of England – they have introduced Firesmart for flat roofing systems – and it sure is smart.

What is Firesmart?

Firesmart is the first flat roofing membrane system that has been approved by the Loss Prevention Certification Board, exceeding all of the proposed EU fire standards. Firesmart roofing systems consist of a range of rigid Polyisocyanurate insulation boards as well as a range of vapour control layers that are polyester reinforced and styrene butadiene styrene (SBS) modified bitumen. They can be installed using two methods:

firesmart cap sheets

Firesmart Sheets

  • The Firesmart Flame Free application technology method
  • The Traditional ‘Torch on’ or ‘Pour and Roll’ application method

Firesmart cap sheets are able to provide a fire protection layer, able to shield roofs from the spread of flames and fire penetration.

Firesmart Features

  • Proven fire performance helps lessen the impact of rising building insurance premiums
  • Zero spread of flames means that any potential fire will not spread to any other parts of the system
  • Firesmart roofing system will not support flame and as a consequence emits minimal smoke, the main hazard to life during a fire

How has the Firesmart system been tested?

The Firesmart system has been tested to very high standards and it meets the existing UK fire standard BS476: Part 3: 1958. The two fire tests were undertaken at the Warrington Fire Research Centre. The tests involved placing the roof under great flame intensity that would be caused from fires started by vandals or burning embers.

Test 1
What did Test 1 have in store?
Method: A pilot flame was applied to the roof in an attempt to ignite the Firesmart capsheet. If the capsheet did ignite, the spread of the flame would have been measured.
Result: There was no spread of the flame recorded.

Test 2
What about Test 2?
Method: A Firesmart system including PIR insulation was specifically built to test and measure fire penetration. The system surface was inclined at 15 degrees as well as having a metal cage which contained highly inflammable materials was placed over it. Once this was all set, it was then ignited.
Result: The fire was left to burn itself out and was measured in accordance with the German prEN 1187/1: Test Method 1’ standard. No penetration was recorded.

Check out some video footage!