A fire test is a means of determining whether or not fire protection products meet minimum performance criteria as set out in a building code or other applicable legislation. There are a number of fire test methods that have been developed over the years. One of these that have become more recognized recently is the NFPA 285: “Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components.”
This standard was developed by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), an international non-profit organization established in 1896. In 1998, the NFPA developed this standard with the intent to evaluate the inclusion of combustible components within wall assemblies/panels that are required to be of non-combustible construction. It is intended to simulate the multi-story flammability fire performance of entire exterior wall assemblies.
The most recent version, NFPA 285-2006, is contained in the 2009 version of the International Building Code (IBC), Section 2603.5.5. It has been included in the IBC since 2000, and requires that exterior wall systems of any height that incorporate foam plastic insulation must meet the requirements of this standard. Foam plastic insulation can consist of open and closed cell spray polyurethane foams, extruded polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, rigid board stock, or polyisocyanurate products.
It is important to realize that this test is an assembly test and not a component test and so a product cannot be referenced to meet NFPA 285.
In 2009, several NFPA 285 fire tests on various exterior wall systems incorporating their rigid insulation materials were performed. As part of this testing, the testing association had looked at the performance of a number of materials to be used as a weather-resistive barrier. One of these products was our Air-Shield LMP vapor permeable air barrier, a one-component, fluid-applied, water-based material that exhibits excellent resistance to air leakage, as well as controlling water intrusion into the substrate. It was reported that the configurations of wall systems they had tested will meet the performance requirements of NFPA 285.