In Europe some fire disasters pointed out the importance of safety in the event of fire. The European Commission, supported by a Group of National Fire Regulators, proposed a completely new classification system, based partially on existing test methods, but partially, and critically for many construction products, on a completely new test, the so-called “single burning item” (SBI) test.
In consequence, all national classes have been replaced by “Euroclasses”. Traditionally each country had its own fire tests which created barriers to free trade. The introduction of new European standard tests (ENs) and classifications has simplified this and provides a better view on differences between the Member States. However the test methods are equal today, all Member States are allowed to implement the classifications differently.
The ‘Euro classification’ became valid 1st.Januari 2001 and after that date, the traditional, national fire codes and classifications for construction products were recognized on the national market for a period of time (5 years). At the end of this period, only European classification should have been valid, at both national and European levels. The implementation of the so called ‘Euro classification’ took a lot longer than 5 years but slowly these fire standards and classifications are known and accepted by the whole European building industry.
The European classification standard EN 13501-1 ranks construction materials in 7 classes with regard to their reaction-to-fire fire behavior: A1, A2, B, C, D, E and F.