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FP200 Gold and fire resistant cables from Prysmian Cables UK

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FP200 Gold and fire resistant cables from Prysmian Cables UK

Welcome

FP200 Gold and fire resistant cables from Prysmian Cables UK

Setting the record straight on fire resistant cables in Ireland
Posted: 14/11/13 10:33:40

Setting the record straight on fire resistant cables in Ireland

Lives and property can depend on fire resistant cables performing as expected in the event of fire. So, ensuring that cables purchased and installed meet the correct criteria for building projects is of paramount importance. This is as true in Ireland as it is across the whole continent. 

Codes of Practice

IS 3218:2009/AC1:2010+AC2:2011 “fire detection and alarm systems for building – system design, installation, servicing and maintenance” is one of the codes of practice that sets the criteria for fire resistant cables and IS 3217: 2008 “emergency lighting” is the other. Both identify what fire performance is required of a cable and which applications they are needed for.

IS 3217 is currently under review by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) so we can expect an updated version in due course. In the current version of this emergency lighting standard, however, there is just a single requirement, PH120. So for emergency lighting systems in Ireland PH120 is currently the only criteria.

PH120 refers to the 120 minute classification in the fire test IS EN 502000 which is an 850 °C flame and shock test that excludes any water spray testing. The test duration is 120 minutes of course but considering the lack of water test, this may not be the solution you are looking for in the event of fire.

The water spray test alongside flame and shock provides an aggressive method that thoroughly tests the insulation quality of the cable and provides a good indication of circuit integrity.

Fire Alarm Standard in Ireland

For the fire alarm standard in Ireland, IS 3218, the picture is more advanced. It tells us that two types of fire resistant cable are required depending upon the application just like in the UK. It also demands that both types require more than just PH120. 

The first type required for IS 3218 must meet PH30 classification of IS EN 50200 and also Annex E. The other type, or ‘enhanced’ cables, must meet PH120 of IS EN 50200 and they must also meet the requirements of BS 8434-2. This last point is particularly noteworthy.

'Enhanced' Cables

We are familiar with cables that meet PH30 IS EN 50200, for example Prysmian’s FP200 Gold. This is a ‘standard’ fire resistant cable which passes the PH30 IS EN 50200, including Annex E, but it also passes the longer PH120 test. It is here that some of the information is mixed-up because some cables that pass PH120 do not pass the BS 8434-2 test and are therefore not true ‘enhanced’ cables.

BS 8434-2 is a tough test to pass and this is where ‘enhanced’ cables have to step up to the mark. The test temperature is increased by 100 °C to 950 °C. The time is extended from 30 to 120 minutes. Most importantly, however, the test includes a 60 minute water spray. Only the highest performing fire resistant cables can meet the requirements of BS8434-2, such as Prysmian’s FP PLUS. This is why IS3218 calls for BS 8434-2 when ‘enhanced’ fire resistant cables are required.

So, for emergency lighting systems in Ireland, PH120 is sufficient but this is likely to change when the IS is revided. For fire alarm systems however, PH120 is not sufficient for the UK or Ireland. Fire alarm systems require an increased fire performance for both the ‘standard’ and ‘enhanced’ cables – don’t be caught out. Delayed commissioning or re-wiring of circuits costs installers’ money – always check the cable you intend to use:

  • ‘standard’ fire resistant cables – meet PH30 AND Annex E of IS EN 50200
  • ‘enhanced’ fire resistant cables – meet PH120 AND BS 8434-2

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