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Is Concrete Furniture Fire Safe?

Structural fire prevention

A building is always exposed to the danger "fire". The task of planners and architects is to already consider fire protection or a possible fire in the design phase, because the prevention of a fire is as important as the actual firefighting by the fire department in an emergency.

While the fire brigade intervenes only when a structure is already burning, the structural fire protection should contribute to ensuring that fires do not occur at all or are confined to spaces as narrow as possible. Therefore, components, structures and, at best, the furniture must be able to withstand a fire to a certain extent.

The materials used in the construction and interior design and their fire behavior (flammable / non-combustible) have a significant impact on the fire. The risk potential present in the building depends primarily on fire loads. They significantly influence the course of a fire.

Fire protection through concrete

In order to safeguard general security and, of course, from an economic point of view, meaningful structural fire protection must meet the following protection goals:

• Personal protection,
• Property protection of buildings that have fallen victim to fire or adjacent buildings
• Environmental protection by minimizing the resulting smoke, toxic gases and contaminated extinguishing water.

When using components or furniture made of concrete, it is possible to build residential buildings in such a way that all three protection goals are achieved simultaneously.

What can concrete do in case of fire?

In a natural fire, temperatures of up to 1,000 ° C may arise. Which properties does the material concrete develop in this case? :

• Concrete remains largely solid
• Concrete does not contribute to the fire load,
• Concrete does not increase the fire,
• Concrete does not smoke,
• Concrete does not release toxic gases.

These positive properties of concrete allow planners and architects to create safe buildings for the building owner against fire hazards.

Classifications in fire prevention

Building materials are classified according to DIN EN 13501 Part 1 in classes for fire behavior.

Class A contains: non-combustible building materials with subclasses:

- A 1: should not show any prolonged ignition
- A 2: ignitions for a period of up to 20 seconds

Class B, D, E and F contains: "combustible building materials" with the subclasses:

- B: fire-retardant building materials,
- D and E: normally flammable building materials
- F: highly flammable building materials

The mineral building material concrete meets the requirements of class A 1, because it is effectively non-flammable. That is, concrete is not flammable under the temperatures commonly encountered in a fire.

In Part 2 of DIN EN 13501-2, the classification of construction products and types of fire behavior according to fire resistance classes is carried out with the following classification:
R 15, R 20, R 30, R 45, R 60, R 90, R 120, R 180, R 240 and R 360.
This states that the component being classified withstands the temperature and strength stresses of the fire test over a period of more than 15 to 360 minutes.

With the use of the material concrete, all fire resistance periods can be achieved.

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