Tech Today

Update on fire testing

In January 2006, the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA) and NRCA released "Fire testing of membrane roof systems." This report summarizes a long-term study of fire-resistance properties of new and aged membrane roof systems and questions the variability within the fire test method used for evaluating roof systems.

Although there have been several recent developments addressing some of the test method concerns raised, unresolved issues remain.

The issues

The MRCA/NRCA study raised concern regarding the variability associated with the spread-of-flame portion of ASTM E108, "Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Roof Coverings." ASTM E108 and a similar standard, UL 790, "Standard for tests for fire resistance of roof coverings," serve as the technical basis for determining many roof systems' external fire-resistance properties with regard to building code compliance.