Over the last month or so, Australia has experienced some truly devastating fires, resulting in both land and property damage. While we cannot predict the actions of others or the occurrence of these fires, there are certain measures we can take to help protect our homes as much as possible. Fire resistant building materials are vital in helping to prevent the spread of fire in both residential and commercial buildings. At Solutions Built, we use highly durable, fire-rated external and internal wall materials. Here are the best fire resistance materials used at Solutions Built and why they can help lower the risk of property damage.
Fire resistant building materials are usually determined by a fire resistance rating.
Under the Building Code of Australia (BCA), a Fire Resistance Level (FRL) is the grading period in minutes of the following three criteria: structural adequacy, integrity and insulation.
‘Structural adequacy’ is the ability of a structure to maintain its stability and load-bearing capacity during a fire. ‘Integrity’ refers to a structure’s ability to resist flames and hot gases, and ‘insulation’ means the ability of a structure to maintain a temperature below the limit specified on the surface not exposed to fire. For example, if the required Fire Resistance Level for a wall is 90/60/30, this means that the wall must maintain its structural adequacy for 90 minutes, integrity for 60 minutes and insulation for 30 minutes.
The CSIRO operates a comprehensive Fire Resistance Level test which combines full-scale fire test capabilities to stimulate several fire scenarios. Tests include fire resistance of walls, floors, concrete tunnels and building materials.
If your area is prone to bushfires, a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) can measure the severity of a home or building’s potential exposure to either ember or direct flames. There are six bushfire attack ratings; ‘BAL Low’, the lowest rating means there is an insufficient risk and ‘BAL FZ’, the highest rating means your property is in direct exposure to flames, heat flux and ember attack.
Hebel is one of the many fire resistant building materials renowned for being non-combustible. This system has been tested by the CSIRO and has proven to achieve Fire Resistance Levels between 60 minutes and 240 minutes. It also meets the requirements for all six Bushfire Attack Level categories. If you live in a bushfire prone area, this material is perfect for constructing homes, aged-care facilities and schools. The Hebel PowerShield panels, often used in the Utilities and Infrastructure industries, provide fire and acoustic wall systems, designed to withstand heat of up to 1300 degrees.
Logicwall is an AFS permanent formwork system for both internal and external concrete walling. This fibre-cement based system is typically used to construct multi-residential and commercial buildings and is bested used in projects that require load-bearing walls with high levels of fire and acoustic performance. Logicwall has also undergone the CSIRO testing system. A 120mm-thick wall, used for party walls and external faҫades was tested to have a Fire Resistance Level of 240/240/180.
In addition to Logicwall, AFS offers multiple fire resistant building materials for construction. Rediwall, is a PVC-based system featuring extruded components that snap or slide into place for rapid assembly. It is ideal for applications including foundation walls, basements and retaining walls. Similar to Logicwall, Rediwall has undergone the CSIRO testing system, and a 150mm thick load-bearing wall achieved a Fire Resistance Level of 240/240/240.
Clay bricks are both excellent fire resistant building materials. It is non-combustible due to the fact that it is fired at a temperature around 1000 degrees celsius. What this means is that brick does not does not burn when exposed to fire.
Our team are highly experienced in using these fire resistant building materials for both commercial and residential construction projects. If you would like to know more about these materials or fire resistant construction, please get in touch.