What are the fire risks of facade cladding?
Facade cladding and fire safety: much has been written or told about this combination. When combustible materials are used for cladding or when materials are applied in the wrong way, there are increased risks regarding fire safety.
But luckily, when you make the right choices, facade cladding is a completely safe option. Knowing the facts will help you make the right decisions.
The risks of using combustible materials in facade cladding
Combustible materials can add to the spread of smoke during a fire and increase the risk of spreading to another floor or room. Thus, the fire can spread and escape routes become impassable, trapping inhabitants in the building.
Combustible materials and smoke formation
Smoke inhalation causes more fire-related deaths than the fires themselves. All combustible materials produce some amount of smoke when they burn. How much toxic smoke will be emitted depends on the material, the amount of oxygen available and how long it burns.
In the early stages of a fire before flashover, smoke will come from the first items ignited, often furniture, electrical devices and other contents of the room. As the fire grows and hits the flashover point, the volume and toxicity of the smoke it produces increases greatly.
The fire then continues to consume the room contents as well as combustible building materials. This includes the building exterior if the fire breaks through windows. This feeds the fire further and expands the amount of smoke. Fire and smoke spreading through the building and up the facade will threaten occupants even if they are not near the starting point of the fire.