A fire regulation specific to each type of installation

Regulations impose strict fire safety standards when designing or rehabilitating buildings. They vary according to the activity, the number of occupants, the number of floors… In France, there are different categories of structures and therefore different regulations (decrees, circulars, codes). The main texts that govern the various structures are as follows:

  • Residential
    • French Construction and Housing Code
    • French Town Planning Code
  • Office, business
    • French Labour Code
    • French Commercial Code
  • Public Establishment (ERP)
    • French Construction and Housing Code
  • High-rise building (IGH)
    • French Construction and Housing Code
  • Warehouse
    • French Labour Code
    • French Commercial Code
  • Classified installation
    • French Environmental Code
  • Nuclear facility
    • French Environmental Code
    • French Nuclear Pressure Equipment Construction Code
  • Industrial facility
    • French Environmental Code
  • Tunnel, bridge
    • French Highway Code
  • Ship, yacht, boat
    • French Defense Code
    • French Maritime Labour Code

However, fire regulations for structures are complex and can only be dealt with by type of structure and for a defined use.

Fire sectorization / The principles associated with the caulking of crossings

A building is composed of multiple technical penetrations (passage of cables, pipes …), which make the walls and floors lose their original fire resistance capacity.

The purpose of the penetration caulking is to seal these openings in order to prevent the spread of smoke, heat and flames from one room or floor to another through these openings. The solutions must be tested and CE marked according to EN1366-3.

There are other categories of equipment or products that perform fire sectorization functions (fire doors, non-load-bearing walls, joint caulking…) and which benefit from their own test standard and specific classifications.

 

Protection of equipment against fire / Principles associated with the protection of cable trays

Some facilities need to maintain power supply or the control/command of specific equipment to either operate a safety scenario or, for example, to allow the evacuation of people.

The purpose of cable tray protection is to maintain the operational capacity of the cables thus protected even during a fire. The solutions must be tested and CE marked according to EN1366-11 depending on the type of application: functionality, heat subtraction or anti-propagation.

There are other categories of equipment or products that perform fire protection functions (protection of steel structures, load-bearing walls, etc.) and which have their own test standard and specific classifications.

Reaction to fire

The “reaction to fire” is the way a material (concrete, wood, paper…) behaves as a combustible when it catches fire. This reaction is defined after standardized tests in accredited laboratories.

In France, the reaction to fire of materials is defined by the decree of November 21, 2002.

For construction materials, the EN 13501-1 standard defines the European classification of Euroclasses, from A1 for incombustible to F for a highly flammable material.  Two additional classifications make it possible to characterize the production of fumes and ignited drops.

Fire resistance / Example of caulking products

The “fire resistance” indicates the time during which, during a fire, a construction element (wall, floor, ceiling, door, …) retains its mechanical and thermal protection properties.

Each caulking product must be tested in an official laboratory to give it a fire-resistance rating, indicating its fire resistance time.

Fire resistance classifications attempt to harmonize existing systems within the European Union. There are three classes:

These letters are followed by 2 or 3 numbers giving the resistance time in minutes.

Example: EI 120 for caulking products encompasses the R criterion and expresses a fire resistance degree of 120 minutes for hot gas tightness, no flame generation (E) and thermal insulation (I).

Earthquake

Seismic risk is the possibility that an earthquake-type hazard will occur and cause more or less significant damage, both human and economic as well as environmental.

In this case, France, with the exception of the West Indies and other French archipelagos, is a country with moderate seismicity.

In France, regulations for earthquake-resistant construction have periodically changed. As of May 1, 2011, a new regulatory framework classifies “normal risk” structures into 4 categories as well as “special risk” structures.

The seismic zoning in force since 1991 has itself been modified on this occasion, dividing the French territory into 5 types of zones: from zone 1 (very low seismicity) to zone 5 (high seismicity).

Radioactivity

Radioactive contamination occurs when a radioactive product is deposited on an object or being, or is ingested or inhaled. Contamination is distinct from irradiation, in which the object or being is subjected to ionizing radiation.

In the case of contamination, the object or being is in permanent contact with the radioactive source until it has been eliminated. In the case of irradiation, it is sufficient to isolate or move the object or being away from the source of radiation for the effect of the irradiation to diminish.

Because of the radioactive materials they contain or produce, nuclear power plants for electricity production, industrial fuel production sites or nuclear waste treatment sites, certain research laboratories, hospitals using radioactive sources and certain industries are potential sources of contamination and irradiation.

ATEX

ATEX-certified equipment guarantees that it is not a source (thermal, electrical, …) that can cause an explosion in potentially explosive atmospheres (presence of explosive gases or vapours, dust, powdered products …).