The impact of fireside where Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) sandwich panels feature in building construction are often catastrophic. Insulated metal panels are commonly used as walls or wall/ceiling combinations in industrial and commercial buildings. Typically they need an EPS core, but modern panels also utilise non-combustible mineral wool, or fire resistive PIR (polyisocyanurate) or Xflam. But variety of recent – and enormous – losses have the insurance industry talking. The global insurance market during this sector has been contracting since 2001 and to make sure your facility can maintain its optimal levels of canopy at the simplest possible premium rates, there are variety of critical factors to think about. Essentially, your business will got to demonstrate first-class risk management practices, disaster/crisis recovery strategies and business continuity planning. Whether or not one agrees with the insurance industry reaction, this is often the present reality. Eps Fire risk
WHAT’S the difficulty WITH EPS?
Modern insulated sandwich panels have excellent insulating properties, are light and straightforward to put in, and supply a clean, easy to take care of finish. However, panels with a polystyrene core can present a severe fire hazard.
When exposed to heat, polystyrene will initially shrink far away from the warmth source, but the froth will eventually vaporise.
If it ignites, fire spread are going to be rapid, destroying the structural integrity of the panels and allowing fire to flash across the exposed foam and collapse. Radiant heat will then quickly weaken the building’s structural frame, potentially resulting in destruction of the whole building or fire area.
The heat content of polystyrene is analogous to petrol, emitting a dense black smoke containing oily, sooty and toxic particulate, which may contaminate a whole building or area and present serious health and environmental risks. In effect, this is often like a three-dimensional flammable liquid fire.
Manual fire-fighting are often hazardous thanks to the building’s structural instability and fire burning inside the panels. Fire brigades may elect to not enter the building for his or her own safety, further adding to the physical damage.
Fire retardant additives don’t significantly affect the burning characteristics of polystyrene aside from they’ll delay its ignition.
Where EPS panels are installed, robust management controls are needed to stop ignition. this could include an awareness of the hearth hazard, identification (signage) of the topic panels, stringent procedures concerning physical works (penetrations, cutting etc) and prompt repair of any damaged metal coverings to stop bare foam from being exposed to an ignition source.
In addition, any electrical switchboards and forklift battery chargers fixed to the wall should be removed or physically separated with a non-combustible barrier, and any cable penetrations should be appropriately fire stopped.
Replacement or new works should utilise panels with a mineral wool, PIR or Xflam core instead of EPS.
Where automatic sprinkler protection is installed, it should be designed to FM Global Data Sheet 1-57, which specifically addresses the EPS fire hazard. Without this level of protection, automatic sprinklers designed just for the occupancy hazard could also be ineffective.
AN INSURANCE PERSPECTIVE
There are a limited number of insurance companies in Australia, and globally, that are willing to hide EPS risks largely thanks to the high severity of losses once they occur. Recent events mean we’re already seeing a retraction in insurer capacity and increased pricing. Consequently, risks with large policy limits got to utilise Australian and overseas insurers so as to realize one hundred pc cover.
This highlights the importance of risk management controls aimed toward preventing a fireplace within the first instance. Especially, every operator with this sort of artifact should have a fanatical risk management plan for the building and therefore the associated operations.
Insurers are, and can still be, paying particular attention to pre-loss risk management also as post-loss business continuity planning. If your facility is made with EPS panels, you’ll got to make sure that you’ll provide current risk engineering survey reports to your insurer, or broker getting to the insurance market on your behalf.
All risk recommendations
Particularly those concerning hot work permits, housekeeping, thermographic scanning, unsealed openings in panels and impairment notices – will got to be promptly and properly addressed. Insurance companies will apply an excellent deal more scrutiny in assessing EPS risks before deciding where they’re going to commit their capital. So, where capital is restricted, risks that are well-managed will have the simplest chance of securing the duvet required.
If your company isn’t ready to demonstrate an acute awareness of the exposures and appropriate risk management responses, you’ll find it much more difficult to get the proper level of canopy and avoid significant premium increases.
The bottom line for any insurer is in their confidence that your company is proactive in minimising its own risks instead of solely counting on an insurance firm if anything goes wrong. Eps Fire risk