Guidelines for the use of expanded foam polystyrene panel systems in industrial buildings so as to minimise the risk of fire
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelReport/Research Essay
Degree NameResearch Report
Many of New Zealand’s primary food producers depend on buildings that are constructed using expanded foam polystyrene panel systems (EPS) for processing and controlled atmosphere storage. It is now the most commonly used wall and ceiling lining building element in these industrial applications and has been in use for over 30 years. During this period the material has been exposed to and involved in many fires and this rate is now approaching one fire every month. A review of New Zealand Fire Service data from the last four years shows that the major causes of fires in buildings containing EPS remain unchanged. They are: electrical faults, heating from solid fuel equipment, and hot work (welding gas cutting, braising). Electrical faults are twice as likely to start a fire than any other cause. Overseas experience is compared with some recent selected New Zealand case studies of fires to identify areas of potential concern. The report concludes with a list of guidelines that encompass the lessons learnt from the case studies. These can be used to assist designers, constructors, renovators and maintainers of industrial buildings where EPS is present in significant quantities.