Combustible Exterior Wall Assemblies – Fire Hazardsx

Many combustible materials are used today in commercial wall assemblies to improve energy performance, reduce water and air infiltration, and allow for aesthetic design flexibility. These assemblies include Exterior Insulation Finish Systems (EIFS), metal composite claddings, high‐pressure laminates, and weather‐resistive barriers (WRB). The combustibility of the assembly components directly impacts the fire hazard. For example, the insulation component of EIFS, and other emerging related systems (for example Structural Insulation Finish Systems (SIFS) is combustible foam which exhibits rapid flame spread upon fire exposure. There have been a number of documented fire incidents involving combustible exterior walls but a better understanding is needed of the specific scenarios leading to these incidents to inform current test methods and potential mitigating strategies.

The purpose of this project is to develop the technical basis for fire mitigation strategies for exterior fires exposing exterior wall systems with combustible components.