It is essential that specifiers know entrance matting meets the New Zealand fire safety standards required. Entranceways are also exits, and if there was a fire in the building, it is critically important that this area be unobstructed.
The only way to be sure is to request an independent fire safety test certificate for the entrance matting product from the supplier. But note, while a test certificate may be produced, it is also essential to check that the product has actually passed the standard for the particular application the product is being used in.
At times certificates have been provided, but some have a result of less than 1.1Kw/m² when tested to ISO 9239-01 standard. This result simply would confirm that the product failed.
So what is required?
There are a variety of tests that are carried out in different parts of the World. In New Zealand, the requirement is ISO 9239-1:2010. In simple terms, this test will give a result that shows how much energy is required to keep the flooring material burning after it is ignited. The lower the amount of energy required, the greater the fire risk, and naturally the higher the result, or more energy required to keep it burning, the safer it is.
For most entrance ways in commercial buildings, the minimum standard is a Critical Radiant Flux (CRF) 2.2Kw/m². The minimum for sleeping areas in buildings without sprinklers the minimum standard is CRF 4.5Kw/m². There is an exemption where non-compliant product can be used in small entrances with a total aggregate surface area of no more than 5m².
So when specifying any particular entrance matting product, look at the test result and make sure the result shows a good healthy margin above the usual minimum of CRF 2.2KW/m².
It's also important to note the development of materials used in entrance matting. Appearances can be deceiving as two materials can look identical, but one can fail while another supplier may have an identical looking product that has outstanding safety performance.
This is the case with many polypropylene infills used in aluminium frame mats. This infill is popular because it is very hard-wearing and easier to clean, but some on the market today fail when tested, due to the flammable backing used. As a specialist manufacturer of aluminium and infill entrance mats, Alumat Flooring Solutions source polypropylene ribbed carpet made with a special fire retardant latex backing for all their mats exclusively from Vebe in the Netherlands. This gives outstanding fire safety protection, yielding a CRF of 8Kw/m². This assures specifiers that any of the Alumat range of entrance mats will meet the required safety standard.
Remember: When specifying entrance mats, ask the manufacturer for a copy of the fire test, to be on the safe side and see what the CRF rating is.