LARGE SCALE TESTING

For fire resistance performance

In recent months, there has been an increased focus on the importance of large scale testing of rainscreen cladding solutions in the construction industry. Sotech welcomes this.

 

From the earliest tests of our Optima TFC system at BRE through to the most recent large-scale testing of bespoke systems in Exova, Dubai, ‘safety’ has always been our primary concern, followed closely by outstanding design, flawless finishes and an end to end proactively managed production line.

 

But we can’t do this alone. And we want to take a moment to applaud our partners – contractors, architects and manufacturers – who have worked with us to complete full scale system testing over the years.

Large scale system testing Sotech 2

‘Safety’ has always been our primary concern, followed closely by outstanding design, flawless finishes and an end to end proactively managed production line.

What is a full system test?

Large scale system testing Sotech 1

Full scale system testing involves building a complete model of the proposed build up – including the carrier system, the material, the finish and the firebreaks – and mounting it to a 9 metre demonstration wall to test how it performs under real fire conditions. The aim of the test is to replicate what would happen if a severe fire broke out a window in a block of flats or a story in a high rise building (above 18m).

 

What’s important in these tests is that the full cladding system is tested as a whole to confirm its effectiveness in slowing and controlling the spread of fire in tall buildings. For this reason, the test must assess the cavity barriers and fire stopping, the effectiveness of the construction design and the outcome of the materials specified in combination.

What’s important in these tests is that the full cladding system is tested as a whole to confirm its effectiveness in slowing and controlling the spread of fire in tall buildings.

What is the process for completing a full-scale fire test?

There is a simple three stage process for completing a full scale fire test with Sotech and the earlier our partners contact us, the more we’re able to help in the process. Once confirmed, a certificate will be presented to show that the build-up has passed the BS 8414 fire safety test. This fire testing certificate can then be used to gain suitable insurance.

STAGE 1:

Cladding make up is specified in specification document. An expert member of the Sotech technical team reviews the specification in depth and advises on the best possible build-up of individual parts and highlights potential risks, issues and opportunities. The Sotech team will gladly provide full support in the completion of a specification document. To help the process, we have built an on-site showroom, training room and full scale wall mounts to demonstrate the finished look of the proposed system, material and finish. Our partners are encouraged to visit us for a day to discuss design details and view the options in person,

STAGE 2:

Sotech organises a full scale test at one of the facilities around the world, booking in the test, arranging for the shipment of all necessary materials and organising the required personnel for the test. Our partners are welcome to join us and attend the test days in person or wait for the full report.

STAGE 3:

Full system test is carried out, in confidence that the build up will meet the requirements of the guidance set out in BR 135 – Fire Performance of External Thermal Insulation for Walls of Multi-storey Buildings.

Useful Links

Optima FC - BR135 Classified Rainscreen Cladding Systems

BR 135 CLASSIFIED RAINSCREEN CLADDING SYSTEMS – BS8414

In response to the British Standard (BS) technical specifications, Sotech has completed fire testing on Optima TFC at BRE, Watford.

 

Optima TFC has been tested to BS8414-2 and is compliant to BR135:2013. (Refer to test reports below for specification requirements.)

Sotech Rainscreen Cladding Training Centre

SOTECH FULL TESTING TIMELINE – A HISTORY OF TESTING

Sotech’s commitment to authentic engineering capability has been witnessed over several years in the testing of products as they are being developed.

 

From the earliest Sotech Optima solid aluminium cassette rainscreen system, Optima TFC, tested at BRE, Garston for wind serviceability and safety, air permeability and water penetration for Erie Basin, Manchester projec

BR 135 Classified Rainscreen Cladding Systems - Optima TFC - FR ACM

DOWNLOAD THE FULL SYSTEM AND INSTALLATION DETAILS

Sotech has uploaded the full range of system and installation details for the full Sotech Optima rainscreen cladding range. Click the link to learn more and access each download.

Working with us

We welcome and encourage full scale system testing and can manage the whole process from start to finish.

 

If you have a design in mind for a new project, please contact us as early as you can in the process. We will be on hand to advise in all aspects of the specification process and will work with you to organise and complete a full system fire test of the proposed solution to ensure compliance with BR 135.

Sotech technical team

Speak to an expert

If you require advice with design detail, assistance with a specification or to discuss your project in detail contact our technical department who have over 35 years experience in the construction industry. The team is on hand to provide knowledge and support at every stage of your project.