Balcony Fires – Whats Happened?

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell on 14th June 2017, this has understandably prompted a complete review of the claddings used on high rise residential buildings.

While the final results of this are still being discussed, it seems likely that some significant changes will be made to the relevant legislation.

Balcony fire in Brixton with timber decking Balcony fire in Manchester with no soffits and timber decking Balcony Fire at West Hampstead Square

Current Regulations & Compliance

Summary of relevant documents used in compiling our Whitepaper.

  1. Approved Document B2: 2013 (fire safety) volume 2: buildings other than dwelling houses (2006 edition incorporating the 2010 and 2013 amendments)
  2. BS 9991: 2015 Fire safety in the design, management and use of residential buildings – Code of practice
  3. C Holland, M Shipp and D Crowder, Fire safety issues with balconies, BRE Global Ltd 2016.
  4. Centre for window and cladding technology, Standard for systemised building envelopes, Part 6, Fire performance, Sept 2008.
  5. British Standard EN 1365-5: 2004 Fire resistance test for loadbearing elements-Balconies and walkways.
  6. Fire performance data for aluminium extrusion can be obtained from the results of BS 476 Fire Test Series. Subject to a severe fire emerging from an apartment the aluminium would be expected to weaken (and melt at 660 deg. C).

What are Sapphire doing?

In order to better understand the protective effect of soffits on the balcony in the event of fire, Sapphire have recently commissioned some fire testing at the Exova test centre in Warrington. For one of these tests, a full size balcony Cassette® was constructed to fit the furnace size. This was fitted with class C decking (the least non-combustible product currently used by Sapphire), and a variety of soffit panels were fitted so the relative effect of these could be monitored.

You can learn more about what Sapphire are doing by attending a 15min Fire CPD presentation 

Sapphire advocate the use of aluminium soffits on all balconies. However, where soffits have been omitted or are perforate (for architectural or cost reasons) there is a clear evidence to suggest the use of class A decking should be considered to reduce the risk of rapid fire development via the balconies.

Further details can be found in our recently published whitepaper. Request your copy below.

Book a CPD Today!

Our 15min CPD looks at current case studies of the balcony fires that have happened this year, explores common causes and how these can be designed out. It also gives clarity on the current fire regulations and Sapphire’s active product development. These solutions are above what is currently required but will give advice on what regulations we feel balconies will likely need to meet in the future.

Book Yours Today!

WHITEPAPER: The effects of fire on balconies in high rise residential blocks.

Balcony Fires Whitepaper, Fire Regulations for balconies, Class A1, A2 and B rated decking Balcony Fires Whitepaper, Fire Regulations for balconies, Class A1, A2 and B rated decking

Due to the increase in balcony fires during June and July, aided by the heatwave, we have completed some in-depth research around the regulations currently in the industry, understanding recent fires, common causes for balcony fires and our recommendations to reduce the risk of fire on your balcony(ies).

To request a copy of the whitepaper, please use the form below.

Balcony Fire Resource Form

Please use this form to request a fire whitepaper, fire presentation, a meeting with one of our experts or a callback.