Garden Building Fire Safety and Cladding Fire Ratings

Choose your Garden Building cladding very carefully. It is tempting to select something just for its wonderful appearance, however the cladding selection greatly impacts the fire safety of the building. In this article we will provide an outline of what to look for when selecting your cladding for your Garden Building.

British Standard 476: Fire Tests on Building Materials and Structures

Construction products have one of the following 3 labels. The three labels relate to a products mandatory reaction to fire classification in the UK. This can be achieved through the National classes, using the BS 476 suite of tests resulting in one of the following 3 labels:

  • A1 / non-combustible
  • A2 / of limited-combustibility
  • B-F / combustible

BS EN 13501-1: Fire Classification of Construction Products

BS EN 13501-1 is the standard fire classification assigned to construction products that enable products to be CE Marked, as required by The Construction Products Regulation (EU) No 305/2011

To CE Mark products, they must be classed through the Euroclass system. The Euroclass system has 7 levels/ratings. This is the first measurement of BS EN 13501-1 classification:

  • A1 – Non-combustible
  • A2 – Limited combustibility
  • B – Combustable
  • C – Minor contribution to fire
  • D – Medium contribution to fire
  • E – High contribution to fire
  • F – Easily Flamable

The second measurement of BS EN 13501-1 classification is smoke emission during combustion:

  • S1 Quantity/speed of emission absent or weak
  • S2 Quantity/speed of emission of average intensity
  • S3 Quantity/speed of emission of high intensity

The third measurement of BS EN 13501-1 classification is the level of production of flaming droplets/particles during combustion:

  • D0 No dripping
  • D1 Low dripping
  • D2 High dripping

So, now we have our definitions, let’s look at how this applies in a practical application for your project. When you select any construction products, look for the 6 digit code which should be alongside the classification EN 13501. Note you may also wish to look into EN 12467 to check durability and strength classifications at the same time.

Choose Cladding with a Euroclass Fire Rating

  • As a homeowner, the safest method of cladding selection is do not use products which do not have a Euroclass fire rating, specifically for cladding. These cladding products have not been submitted for approval for a reason. It may be because they are not required for approval across multiple geographic regions which use the Euroclass system, however there is no shartage of options for products which do have a rating. We would not recommend products which do not have a clear Euroclass rating, regardless of the manufacturers reasoning for not getting their products tested.
  • Products should be clearly CE Marked, have the classification EN 13501, and have a 6 digit code which includes all 3 ratings.
  • In most cases you will need to find the Declaration of Performance or Product Data Sheet on the manufacturers website as most retailers do not display this information on their websites.

For example, we had a recent project including a Garden Building where the fire rating was classed from day 1 as important to both us and the end customer (and their children most importantly). We used Cedral Weatherboard Fibre Cement Cladding which is rated A2-s1, d0. To break that down that is:

  • A2 – Limited combustibility
  • s1 – Quantity/speed of smoke emission absent or weak
  • d0 – No dripping of flaming droplets during combustion

Building regulations and fire proof materials for Garden Buildings:

The text below is directly taken from the UK government Planning Portal. One key element to note is at the very bottom in bold. if you are building your garden building within 1 mt of your property boundary your garden building must be constructed substantially of non-combustible materials. If you don’t, you can be asked to amend it, or remove it, at your expense. Best to do it properly the first time.

From the Planning Portal:

If you want to put up small detached buildings such as a garden shed or summerhouse in your garden, building regulations will not normally apply if the floor area of the building is less than 15 square metres and contains NO sleeping accommodation.

If the floor area of the building is between 15 square metres and 30 square metres, you will not normally be required to apply for building regulations approval providing that the building contains NO sleeping accommodation and is either at least one metre from any boundary or it is constructed substantially of non-combustible materials.

This section provides you with general information to help you comply with the Building Regulations when constructing a new outbuilding within the boundaries of an existing property, such as:

  • garage or carport
  • summerhouse or shed
  • greenhouse

Building a new garage attached to an existing home would normally need building regulations approval.

Building a new attached carport (open on at least two sides) would not normally require building regulations approval if it is less than 30 square metres in floor area.

Building a detached garage of less than 30 square metres floor area would not normally need building regulations approval if:

  • the floor area of the detached garage is less than 15 square metres.
  • the floor area of the garage is between 15 square metres and 30 square metres, provided the garage is at least one metre from any boundary, or it is constructed substantially of non-combustible materials.