This final report summarises progress in the fourth and final year of this multi-year project intended to characterise the fire performance of decorative wood room-linings and finishes. Forintek is often asked when decorative wood panelling is permitted in our export markets as a wall lining, a ceiling lining and as wainscoting. The question is challenging because both building code requirements and fire test methods for room linings vary from country to country.
A literature review was undertaken that demonstrated that different countries apply different test methods to regulate the use of combustible interior finish. The single-burning item test is used in Europe and is likely to be adopted in China; the cone calorimeter test is used in Japan, Australia and New Zealand; and the Steiner tunnel test is used in North America. Since Canadian wood products are sold in a variety of markets, it was decided that Forintek should document how they perform in each of these tests.
As globalisation intensifies, there is much interest internationally in comparing the performance of products as assessed by the different test methods used in various jurisdictions in order to facilitate trade. The room-corner test is proving useful in this regard. Although expensive and time-consuming to run, of all the test methods used to quantify the performance of lining materials, it is most representative of real-world fire scenarios. Consequently the room-corner test has become a reference scenario whereby the results generated in other tests can be understood. In fact, as countries move towards harmonisation of standards, there is a tendency to base product acceptance on performance in either the national fire test method or in the ISO room-corner fire test.
An agreement was made with Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to conduct tunnel tests (ASTM E84), cone calorimeter tests (ISO 5660 / ASTM E1354), single-burning-item tests (SBI / EN 13823) and room-corner tests (ISO 9705) on several wood products. The wood products were white pine boards, white oak boards, OSB, Douglas fir plywood and FRT Douglas fir plywood. Due to equipment problems, the final report was not forwarded to Forintek until March 27. This has left little opportunity for analysis of the results. However, Forintek scientists have reviewed some of the raw data and have concluded that, in the reference scenario, the room-corner test, wainscoting performs very well.
A detailed analysis of the test data generated for Forintek by SwRI will be undertaken and an amendment to this final report will be made by the end of the First Quarter in 2006-2007.
The results of this study will allow Forintek scientists to respond appropriately to questions from members about when decorative wood panelling is permitted in our export markets. Because the project has involved testing in the internationally sanctioned reference scenario, the room-corner test, the results of the study also allow Forintek to recommend where it may be possible to recommend relaxations in requirements for room lings and wainscoting in our international markets.