Entrance matting fire certificates should specify the whole matting solution — including the substrate — and clearly confirm the system meets NZBC and ISO requirements.
The shock of London's Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017 has led architectural product suppliers around the world to look closely at the fire performance of their products. Beyond marketing literature, they must provide detailed product documentation that shows their products meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code (NZBC).
In the instance of entrance matting, Advance Flooring recommends specifiers check whether the fire test certificate provided by the entrance matting supplier meets NZBC requirements and the ISO 9239-1:2010 test. It is important to check that the system specified matches that on the fire certificate.
In some instances, an entranceway may be an exitway too, in which case NZBC clauses C1 - C6 apply. Excluding non-sprinkled buildings for detention or care, C/VM2, Verification Method: Framework for Fire Safety Design, For New Zealand Building Code Clauses C1–C6 Protection from Fire requires floor surfaces in exitways to achieve a minimum of 2.2 kW/m².
Materials behave differently depending on the substrate, which is why the ISO 9239-1:2010 test states that "results obtained by this method reflect the performance of the flooring, including any substrate if used." And that "modifications of the backing, bonding to a substrate, underlay or other changes of the flooring may affect test results".
There can be a marked difference between tests done on sheet carpet insert material alone and tests on the carpet insert fixed into its substrate (or system). This can be due to a combination of factors, such as more oxygen in and around the carpet insert strips (compared with sheet material), differences in adhesives, and any effect of the mat componentry.
Advance Flooring's Architectural Series entrance matting systems have been tested as a complete system — as they would be installed in a real building. This gives them the certification needed to ensure the system complies with the NZBC (C1-C6 Protection from Fire) and ISO 9239-1:2010.
Things to check when specifying an entrance matting system:
- Ask for a copy of the independent fire certificate and check that the entrance matting system specified (the whole matting solution — carpet and substrate) matches the name on the fire certificate.
- Make sure the fire certificate confirms that the matting system meets the minimum fire performance standards of the New Zealand Building Code.
- And note that an 'entranceway' may also be an 'exitway' which may have a higher performance requirement.
- C/VM2, Verification Method: Framework for Fire Safety Design, For New Zealand Building Code Clauses C1–C6 Protection from Fire
- ISO 9239-1:2010, Reaction to fire tests for floorings -- Part 1: Determination of the burning behaviour using a radiant heat source