Fire Safety is our Responsibility. Yours Too.
Fire safety of cables and wires – status of implementing the CPR requirements
Two years after the entry into force of the CPR Regulation (Construction Products Regulation – Regulation 305/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council), it can be assumed that the market has reacted and implemented new standards. These requirements (inter alia) regarding the use of defined fire reaction classes are more and more often implemented in project documentation, thanks to which contractors select adequate cable constructions that take into account increased fire safety standards. This positive trend also indicates that the market adopts new changes connected with the use of relevant requirements and recommendations introduced by the CPR Regulation. However, at the level of national regulations in Poland, just like in the vast majority of European countries, the guidelines adopted in the CPR Regulation do not indicate full requirements regarding, among others assignment of appropriate fire reaction classes to a given type of buildings and structures. Therefore, current legislative works are aimed to prepare transparent guidelines, the implementation of which involves the performance of social and industry consultations on a large scale. It will certainly cause that they will be implemented in the required form at the earliest in a dozen or so months or even a few years.
Thus, the majority of mature markets are supported by numerous recommendations issued by national expert associations, which (based on the analysis and researches on the availability of cable products) assign appropriate fire reaction classes for use in constructions and public buildings. Among others, in Poland, since September 2017, we have the SEP-E-007:2017-09 standard, which in a simple and transparent way divides buildings into escape routes and the rest of them, assignment to the identified rooms adequate cable constructions in fire reaction classes. This division system, i.e. system of division into two “zones”, has also been adopted by some EU countries, including Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Expert national regulation - SEP-E-007:2017-09 standard
In SEP-E-007:2017-09, high class B2ca—s1b,d1,a1 was adopted for escape routes. On the other hand, class Dca-s2,d1,a2/a3 was assigned to the rest of the building. However, the small cubic capacity is Eca class. As it can be deducted, these requirements are not too restrictive compared to the guidelines adopted in other countries, including in Germany, Belgium, Italy or Spain. These countries assigned the minimum required Cca fire reaction class for use in public buildings. Noteworthy is also the only official document, i.e. Implementing Commission Regulation (EU) No. 2019/776 of 16 May 2019, which requires the use of at least B2ca-s1a, a1 cable class in railway tunnels or the performance of a risk assessment if a lower class is used.
Cables permanently installed in buildings are subject to national and European regulations
Currently, the basic question that should be asked by a designer on the Polish market is: “How to comply with the requirements of the SEP standard?”. In response, TFKable Group prepared a wide offer of cables and wires in the power products segment that meets the guidelines indicated in the standard, supporting its scope with numerous information explaining their use in the design of cable routes. Moreover, in response to the market demand associated with the lack of 750V cables in Dca fire reaction class and aluminum equivalents of 1 kV cables in halogen-free version, TFKable Group has developed and examined constructions that meet these requirements in a notified laboratory.
Modern 750V halogen-free cables in Dca fire reaction class
FLAMEBLOCKER 750 HDX(p) cable in round and flat version – it is an equivalent to the well-known YDY(p) 750V with the proviso that in the described construction, besides the use of halogen-free coating, an aramid tear thread (the so-called RIPCORD) was also introduced. This solution significantly improves the functionality during assembly, i.e. it makes it easy to tear the coating of a cable without the need to use specialized tools, while minimizing the possibility of insulation damage. An additional element improving the installation method, especially in difficult lighting conditions, is the introduction of the characteristic convex marking of the “ŻO” conductor’s position. It enables to (accurately) identify the position of the protective conductor. When it comes to CPR tests, FLAMEBLOCKER 750 HDX(p) wire from TFKable obtained the Dca-s2,d1,a1 fire reaction class in the accredited laboratory.
Furthermore, it is worth paying attention to the aluminum equivalent of the FLAMEBLOCKER N2XH cable, i.e. FLAMEBLOCKER NA2XH in 1kV version. It is not a new design on the market, but testing it for the high B2ca class (sector and multi-core round conductors) and Cca class (single-core cables) enables to classify this product in the category of very high fire resistance.
Further products in the power cable segment offered by TFKable Group are: FLAMEBLOCKER N2XH in B2ca class, FLAMEBLOCKER N2XCH in B2ca, Cca and Dca classes, FLAMEBLOCKER H07V-Z and H07V-R single-wire cables in Cca and Dca classes and 500V FLAMEBLOCKER NHXMH wire in B2ca class.
It should be mentioned that constructions of FLAMEBLOCKER product line by TFKable Group have been strengthened with LSOH coating and tested. This enabled to obtain the Dca class or higher class due to the adopted technological solutions. Currently, this is a major advantage due to the availability of similar products in this segment on the Polish market, mainly in the Eca class, which according to CPR standards can be considered as products of lower quality. The Eca class does not define proper compliance with fire safety requirements, due to (inter alia) lack of testing of additional parameters, i.e. smoke (s), acidity (a) or droplets (d). Additionally, the flammability test in this class is carried out on a single sample, where in the case of higher classes they are made on a bundle which gives a larger range of safety variants in the case of risk assessment for potential fire hazard.
Furthermore, TFKable Group offers in the fiber optic cable segment constructions in higher classes, among others WD-NOTKMd – Dca class, in the group of control cables LiHCH in the B2ca class, and J-H(St)H telecommunication cables in the B2ca class. The portfolio of CPR-tested constructions is complemented by medium-voltage Cu-EPR-CWS-LSOH cables with 70 mm2 and 240 mm2 cross-sections, which received the result in the B2ca class.
These constructions work well in cable installations, where it is necessary to maintain high fire safety ratios and compliance with the requirements of the SEP standard. Moreover, FLAMEBLOCKER (N)2XH or (N)A2XH will be perfect as replacements for known polyvinite constructions such as: YKY/YKXS or YAKY, and FLAMEBLOCKER HDX(p), in the case of flush-mounted installations, is an ideal replacement for YDY(p) cables.
It is also worth noting that in the TFKable Group’s laboratories, a number of quality tests were conducted. They confirmed the possibility of using halogen-free 1 kV cables, i.e. FLAMEBLOCKER N2XH or FLAMEBLOCKER NA2XH - directly for laying in the ground. Thanks to this attribute, we obtain cost optimization on the number of constructions, when an underground connection between neighboring buildings is required.
Compliance with CPR
In summary, the cable constructions that meet strict requirements regarding the new fire reaction classes adopted in the CPR Regulation are also available on the Polish market. However, their limited assortment is connected with the lack of clear provisions that would govern their application. The emergence of such requirements will undoubtedly be conducive to the intensification of works on constructions that will have to meet them. Currently, manufacturers, who have introduced appropriate cable markings into the offer (confirmed by DoP,), show a significant change in the “product quality-costs” ratio. Despite this, they carry out further actions connected with the obtaining of adequate certificates confirming the achievement of European standards for fire reaction classes.
Furthermore, taking into account the raising awareness among installers, producers and wholesalers, as well as end users in the area of new CPR regulations – in mid-2019, the Europe-wide information and education campaign has begun. It is dedicated to the promotion of technological solutions in the field of fire safety and it is run by Europacable – a leading association of cable and wire manufacturers in the world.
Information related to the Europacable’s campaign can be found at cpr.europacable.eu This website includes a free training program “My CPR trainer”, most important news, checklists regarding compliance with CPR, questions and answers grouped in the FAQ section or “White Books”. Another form of obtaining information on applicable regulations and requirements is joining the knowledge exchange platform on TFKable products and current industry trends via strefaprojektanta.tfkable.com.