Entranceways to buildings must meet a certain fire rating code of compliance. This is especially important as the entrance is usually the egress to a building, and if there is a fire, it is crucial that the entrance be a safe zone for occupants to safely evacuate.
Recent law changes have made flooring manufacturers step up the performance of products to meet more stringent safety standards. The way floor coverings are tested is by matching the products' performance to the EN ISO 9239-1 test, where a CRF (Critical Radiant Flux) measurement is determined in Kw/m². The NZBC requires different Kw/m² results, depending on the type of building and where it is being used.
In simple terms, the amount of energy required to sustain a burning product is measured. Obviously, a lower level of energy to keep a material burning would indicate a less safe product, whereas a product that required a higher level of energy to keep the material burning would be safer.
The usual acceptable standard is 2.2Kw/m², but in some situations up to a minimum 4.5Kw/m² may be required.
Entrance matting has come under some scrutiny with the new changes. The problem why some products may fail is not always the visible tread surface of the mat, but the backing. Bitumen has been widely used, but generally has failed to comply due to its combustible nature. There are however alternatives that perform very well indeed and responsible manufacturers have procured suitable replacements.
Alumat has a supply arrangement with a specialist Dutch carpet manufacturer to produce an exceptionally high performing carpet infill for their mats. The tight looped polypropylene carpet may look the same as others, but is backed by a special flame retardant backing, which means it can be used anywhere. The laboratory test results show a minimum performance of CRF 8.0 Kw/m² — well above every standard required. See Alumat's test information for further details.
This means Alumat aluminium entrance mats can be used anywhere with confidence, knowing they will always meet the minimum fire safety standards.
Photos: Alumat 10 W at Auckland Council Albany Stadium Pool, which was tested to ISO 9239-1 CRF 8.0 Kw/m², meeting all fire safety standards.