The Resilient Journey of Qube Building’s Bio-SIP™ in the EN1365-1 Resistance Fire Test
Qube Building’s journey to validate their Bio-SIP™ system’s fire resistance was a testament to innovation meeting stringent building regulations. To be viable for construction, the Bio-SIP™ had to pass the EN1365-1 resistance to fire test, a daunting challenge considering the extreme temperatures involved.
The Bio-SIP™ Resistance to Fire Challenge
The test required the Bio-SIP™ panel to endure temperatures up to 842°C for 30 minutes with a 10kN load, a condition so intense that even metals like aluminium melt. Costing £15,000, this test was binary – a straightforward pass or fail. Founders Justin and Jaffa were acutely aware of the difficulty and necessity of passing this test.
An initial small-scale test using intumescent paint on a 1500mm x 1500mm panel only lasted 7 minutes, far from the required duration. The challenge was to find a fire mitigation solution that was effective yet aligned with their commitment to sustainability.
A Race Against Time
With the official EN1365-1 test at BRE Global already scheduled, time was of the essence. The team decided to explore Magply MOS board (Magnesium Oxysulfide) as a potential solution, balancing their environmental principles with the need for enhanced fire protection.
Test Day at BRE Global
On January 8th, the team transported a 9m² wall system in a car to BRE in Watford, a surprising sight for the staff used to seeing such walls arrive in large trucks. The Bio-SIP™ system was set up in the test facility, ready for the January 10th trial.
The Testing Process
The test began, and the team watched through observation windows as the furnace rapidly heated up. Within 10 minutes, it reached 680°C, simulating real-world fire scenarios. Fifteen minutes in, smoke emission made it difficult for Justin and Jaffa to keep watching, fearing an early failure.
Surpassing the Minimum Requirement
However, Bio-SIP™ endured beyond the critical 30-minute mark. They had ambitiously booked a 60-minute test slot, but at 53 minutes, BRE stopped the test as they had a potential issue with their test equipment. Analysis showed that the combination of Magply and Bio-SIP™ maintained full integrity for 45 minutes.
While the full 60 minutes wasn’t achieved, the team is confident that with minor modifications, it is within reach. The next goal is passing the reaction to fire tests EN ISO 11925-2 and EN 13823 at BRE in the spring. Success in these tests could position Bio-SIP™ significantly ahead of traditional SIP panels, potentially eliminating the need for additional fire mitigation in the construction of residential park homes and leisure lodges. Qube Buildings have solved one of the hardest (and most important challenges) and have proven that we can integrate sustainable materials into a fire-safe buildings.
Qube Building’s journey with the Bio-SIP™ system through the EN1365-1 test was a blend of resilience, innovation, and a commitment to sustainability. It highlighted the team’s dedication to not just meeting, but exceeding industry standards, paving the way for a new era in sustainable building solutions.