Designing for Fire Safety – Complying with NFPA 285 Test Standard for Exterior Walls

Track 2: Design Professionals

Wednesday, March 27, 3:30 – 4:30pm

When considering the building enclosure, fire safety is an important design factor and needs to be considered hand-in-hand with energy code requirements.  The NFPA 285 “Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components” is a common consideration with modern building assemblies that use combustible materials.

This presentation will review the history and scope of the NFPA 285 test standard, and its adoption within the International Building Code (IBC).  It will outline the criteria for compliance, as well as identify triggers and contributors under the standard. The presentation will review how the selection building components such as insulation, air/water resistive barriers and claddings, can affect the fire performance of an assembly, and identify solutions and common paths for compliance. It will also address recent changes to compliance based on the current code and standard development activities.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants in this course will be able to discuss the importance of fire and safety design considerations as it relates to the building enclosure;
  2. Participants in this course will be able to  discuss the history, scope and testing procedure outlined in the NFPA 285 test standard;
  3. Participants in this course will be able to  understand the requirements of NFPA 285 compliant assemblies and the implications of building materials selection;
  4. Participants in this course will be able to identify passive design solutions to achieve compliance and resources available with compliant designs.
Level of content:
Design Professionals
Testing & Inspection

Keith Nelson

ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC

Keith brings over 16 years providing critical evaluation of design details and field review of new and existing building enclosure projects. He has been involved in a broad range of projects throughout North America with services including enclosure evaluation, detailing, design and product submittal review, construction phase observation and evaluation, below-grade waterproofing investigation, testing and repair, and building code analysis.