By Staff writer
Fire prevention has always been of utmost importance in the design and use of public buildings.
This issue involves each and every component of a building and its systems, among which includes the mechanical and air distribution ducts.
To evaluate the safety of such distribution systems in case of fire, it is not sufficient to analyse the reaction to fire of the materials used in ductwork.
In fact, the highest number of injuries and casualties in the event of fire are caused by the consequences of the development and propagation of combustion smokes.
With this particular issue, one of the regulations taken as reference by many experts is AFNOR NF F 16-101.
This takes into consideration both the toxicity and opacity of fumes and sets up a material classification divided into five classes where F0 is the best and F5 the worst.
The application of this rule, which is particularly used in the railway sector, represents a conclusive trial to verify the real safety level of materials.
P3ductal Technical Handbook on fire prevention is already available and soon a detailed documentation on the smoke issue will be released.
In this document a table comparing the most used insulating materials for air ducts will be presented.
It is essential that designers consider these factors to ensure that fireproofing is carried throughout an entire building, including the hvac systems.
In this respect, the performance of P3ductal pre-insulated aluminium duct from Italian-based P3 are significant.
P3ductal is one pre-insulated ductwork system that has been developed to meet international fire and safety standards.
Thanks to the ecologic foaming technology of the insulation through water (Hydrotec patent), P3ductal ducts ensure a low level of participation to fire, do not drop and any smoke emitted has a reduced opacity and toxicity.
The safety of these ducts has been proven by the optimum results obtained according to the strictest international standards.
With regards to the Italian regulations, the panels have been tested according to UNI 8457: Striking flame and UNI 9174: Flame propagation and radiating panel.
These tests rated P3ductal ducts 0-1, thus confirming their conformity to the recent strict Italian regulations.
The proven high safety standards have further allowed the obtaining of the 0 Class according to the British Standard BS 476 Parts 6 and 7 and class M1 under the French regulations.
P3ductal ducts have also obtained approval according to the rigorous ISO 9705 room corner test, which is the only laboratory test able to simulate a real scale fire.
The performance of the ductwork in this instance obtained the F1 class.
Aiming to ensure even higher safety levels, in particular within applications such as hospitals, commercial centres and public buildings such as theatres and cinemas, P3 has submitted its ducts to further innovatory laboratory tests on a real scale.
The intention is to study the issue in the closest way possible and eventually improve the behaviour of P3ductal products as far as smoke release in a widespread fire in high risk environments are concerned.
Products are available to ensure safety standards, so there is no excuse for taking risks.