A useful overview of the current texts and standards.

The regulatory requirement is set, in France, by law, decrees, orders and circulars (or by certain insurers). It makes it possible to set the level of performance to be achieved according to the safety objective applicable to the installation.

The protection objective results directly from an analysis of the risks inherent to the installation, the number of people occupying it, the height of the structure, and the specific risks. They are not the same in a hospital, a high-rise building, a mountain chalet or a tunnel and energy production and storage plant.

– For fire resistance, the level of performance is defined in terms of duration, expressed in minutes. An EI120 product will be impervious to hot gases and smoke, and will insulate hermetically for two hours.- For reaction to fire, a reaction to fire classification of the material used is required.

NUVIATech Protection solutions allow each site to be equipped according to its characteristics.

Sensitive sites / Structures classified for environmental protection (ICPE)

In France, in addition to the provisions of the Labor Code, when an establishment is subject to the legislation on classified facilities for the protection of the environment, it must comply with the provisions of Title I of Book V of the Environmental Code. These works include electricity and water production and distribution sites, the hydrogen industry, SEVESO classified sites, as well as engineering structures and buildings.

Most of the ministerial orders issued in application of these texts contain fire prevention measures (location, design of structures, fire-fighting means, etc.).

The NUVIATech Protection range offers state-of-the-art solutions to meet these requirements.

Establishments receiving from the public (ERP)

In France, ERPs are classified according to their activity and the number of employees they can accommodate. Based on this dual classification, the regulations include various provisions against fire risks (location of buildings, structure of installations, smoke extraction, separation of high-risk activities, means of fighting fires, etc.)

The amended order of June 25, 1980 – Ministry of the Interior – approves the general provisions of the safety regulations against the risks of fire and panic in ERPs. These provisions are in addition to those of the Labor Code.

In particular, 5th category ERPs have measures similar to those of the Labor Code.

High-rise buildings (IGH)

High-rise buildings are classified into different types according to their activity. According to this classification, the regulation provides for a series of measures against the risk of fire (location of buildings, structures of installations, smoke extraction, separation of activities at risk, means of fighting…).

The order of December 30, 2011 amended – Ministry of the Interior – carries safety regulations for the construction of IGH and their protection against the risks of fire and panic.

Residential buildings

The modified decree of January 31, 1986 – Ministry of the Interior and Ministry in charge of housing – relates to fire protection of residential buildings (structure of buildings, clearances, etc.).

Timber construction

As for all other types of structures, the law regulates the fire protection of wooden structures.

Wooden structural elements directly exposed to fire depend on the NFEN1995 standard (EUROCODES 5).

According to their calorific value, building materials are classified in 5 families with the correspondences of the table below:

For timber construction, the fire classification depends on the type of wood – hardwood, dense wood, softwood, as well as its dimensions and moisture content.

The fire behavior of wood and wood-based materials can be considerably improved with NUVIATech Protection products. The range contains several penetrating fire retardant products which, once applied at the time of manufacture or by impregnation in an autoclave, will provide fire protection and make wood classified as hardly flammable (C or M2) into wood classified as non-flammable (B or even A2 or M1).

Tunnels / Engineering structures

Concerning tunnels, fire regulations distinguish three types of infrastructure: tunnels in guided public transport systems, road tunnels and rail tunnels.

In France, regulations are included in the Highway Code, the Transportation Code, the Urban Planning Code and the Defense Code. Regulations on the safety of linear transportation infrastructure tunnels are defined by several legislative and regulatory texts:

Naval / Marine

As far as the navy is concerned, large ships, yachts and cruise ships must have products that meet the SOLAS – Safety Of Life At Sea and IMO – International Maritime Organization standards for passive fire protection.

Work establishment

Articles R. 4216-1 to R. 4216-30 and R. 4216-32 to R. 4216-34 concern building owners during the construction of workplaces. They relate to the provisions concerning fire prevention and protection that must be observed by the client during construction or during modifications, extensions or transformations of the workplace. They include provisions concerning clearances, smoke extraction, space heating, storage and handling of flammable materials.

Articles R. 4227-1 to R. 4227-41 and R. 4227-55 to R. 4227-57 concern user employers. They relate to the provisions concerning fire prevention and protection in the workplace that employers must observe. In particular, they include provisions concerning clearances, emergency lighting, space heating, storage and handling of flammable materials, extinguishing means, alarm systems and fire safety instructions.

Law ESSOC/ELAN

ELAN: law introducing since 2018 major changes on fire safety for all categories of buildings. In particular, it creates the notion of Medium Height Building for buildings that are not IGH but which present high risks given their height.

ESSOC: law introducing for construction the concept of “permits to do” allowing for exemptions from regulatory provisions, particularly in terms of fire safety, with the aim of promoting technical and architectural innovation. In this case, proof must be provided that equivalent results to the regulatory construction provisions are achieved.

Overview of testing / grading standards

Test standards :

  • define how the performance of a solution is measured,
  • describe the equipment needed to perform the test, the type of load applied, its duration, how performance is measured and sometimes what needs to be included and in what form in the test report.

Rating standards :

  • issue a classification report indicating the level of performance (REI) achieved by the solution tested according to the test standard.

In France, the decree of March 22, 2004, amended by the decree of March 14, 2011, imposed the new European testing and classification methods. It also specifies the methods of proof required on French territory, i.e. a fire classification report drawn up by an approved French laboratory (CSTB, EFECTIS, CERIB, LNE, etc.).

The fire tests of NUVIATech Protection products have been carried out in accordance with the European standards cited in the NFEN13501-1 standard as regards reaction to fire and, NFEN13501-2 and higher as regards the fire resistance of construction elements, according to the modified decree of 22 March 2004 of the Ministry of the Interior.