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Fire Protection At ETICS

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Fire Protection At ETICS
Fire Protection At ETICS

Video: Fire Protection At ETICS

Video: Fire Protection At ETICS
Video: Fire protection of ETICS Ceresit VWS 2023, December

New fire protection measures have been in place for ETICS since this year. You can find out what the regulations look like here.

Fire protection requirements for exterior wall cladding are regulated in Germany in the state building regulations and additional regulations. Depending on the building class, there are different levels of requirements. In addition, additional requirements may arise from property-specific fire protection concepts, private law requirements and contracts, tenders and special building situations. These requirements apply in general and are independent of the intended type of facade cladding.

Different systems

In order to improve the energy efficiency of a building, the exterior walls of both new buildings and renovations are often provided with a thermal insulation composite system (ETICS). A variety of different system solutions are available for this. The range of systems on offer enables individual adaptation to the property, to the requirements of building law and to the preferences and design requirements of the client. The systems differ, among other things, in the insulation material used, which in turn has a significant influence on the fire protection properties of an ETICS. ETICS are therefore subjected to extensive tests as a complete system as part of the approval process. This includes fire tests, on the basis of which building material classes and system-typical fire protection measures are determined. Examples of possible classifications are listed in the table:

In the course of planning, it is necessary to check which ETICS properties are required for an object under building law and private law (e.g. through a tender). ETICS with insulation made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) are classified as flame retardant if the approved fire protection measures are observed. In view of the emerging trend towards greater insulation thicknesses, the trade association ETICS developed a project ten years ago that would limit the spread of fire on the facade in the event of a room fire. This can be done by installing fall protection over all building openings or by surrounding fire barriers on at least every second floor. The effectiveness of these measures was demonstrated in the course of real fire tests on buildings that were ready to be demolished. The situation of a room fire was considered the most relevant scenario at the time due to the frequency and fire load.

Typical sources of fire

After several fire events in connection with ETICS, the 2012 Ministerial Ministerial Commissioned a group of experts independent of manufacturers to critically examine the fire protection of ETICS. After evaluating the information about fire events collected by the fire brigades, the construction ministerial conference determined that ETICS installed professionally in accordance with the requirements of the general building inspectorate approvals are sufficiently safe against room fires. When analyzing the cases, it also became clear that the frequency of a fire immediately in front of the facade has increased in recent years. Typical fire loads include waste collection bins, attachments made of flammable building materials, e.g. carports and housings for collection bins, as well as parked vehicles.

Base fire

This “base fire” scenario was independently investigated as part of a research project on behalf of the Building Ministers' Conference. It turned out that the fire protection measures, which were previously only applied via openings, are now to be applied above the fire points on the base. In the subsequent tests, therefore, improvement options were identified and successfully tested, with which ETICS with EPS insulation materials can be better protected against this fire risk.

Since January 1, 2016, the protective measures have been included in all relevant general building inspectorate approvals through changes and supplements and must be taken into account in the construction work. Facades are now differentiated according to areas that are only affected by room fires (above the third floor) and those that can also be affected by fires in front of the facade (the lower three floors). The well-known, alternative constructive fire protection measures still apply in the space fire protection zone: fall protection above every opening or horizontal fire barriers on every second floor.

Protective measures

To protect an EPS-ETICS with a plaster layer and insulation thicknesses up to 300 millimeters against the effects of fire from burning rubbish containers, cars or the like, the following measures must now be taken (Fig. 1):

  • A first fire bolt is attached to the lower edge of the ETICS or a maximum of 90 centimeters above the upper edge of the site or used adjacent horizontal building parts, e.g. B. parking roofs, i.e. above the splash water area. This is not necessary for balcony slabs, loggias and recessed staggered floors (see FAQ list of the DIBt on the new fire protection measures for ETICS with EPS).
  • A second fire barrier is to be provided in the area of the ceiling of the 1st floor above the top of the site or adjacent horizontal building parts. The center distance to the fire bolt below it must not exceed three meters. If this is not adhered to, additional bars must be installed on the ground floor.
  • A third fire barrier is to be installed at the ceiling of the third floor above the top of the site or adjacent horizontal building parts. However, a center distance of eight meters from the second fire bolt below it must not be exceeded. In the case of larger distances, additional fire bolts must be installed.
  • If necessary, additional fire bolts are to be provided at transitions of the outer wall to horizontal surfaces, e.g. B. to passageways, rides and arcades, insofar as these are in the area of the 1st to 3rd floors that is exposed to fire from the outside.
  • In addition, a fire bolt ("end bolt") is to be arranged at a maximum distance of one meter below adjacent flammable construction products, e.g. B. at the upper end of the ETICS below a flammable roof.

Execution clearly regulated

Not only the arrangement of the fire bars to protect against external fires, but also their type and design are clearly regulated. According to the current status, these fire bars must consist of non-combustible mineral wool slats and be at least 200 millimeters high. They are to be glued to mineral substrates over the entire surface with mineral adhesive mortar and additionally anchored. The dowels must be approved for ETICS and have a steel expansion element.

The end bar is to be glued over the entire surface with an adhesive mortar. An additional dowel of the end bar is only necessary if this is necessary to absorb loads from wind pressure (wind suction). Internal building corners are designed with a reinforced fabric corner bracket at least in the area of the first three fire bars mentioned above. The plastering system must be applied with a thickness of at least four millimeters. Further details are described in the ETICS approvals.


The measures shown for the base fire protection zone apply to flame-retardant ETICS with glued, glued and dowelled EPS insulation materials up to 300 millimeters thick and with EPS insulation boards up to 200 millimeters thick fastened with retaining rails. With additional information, they also apply to the doubling of existing ETICS.

With some design variants of an ETICS, the execution of the ground floor with non-combustible outer wall cladding or flame-retardant ETICS with non-combustible insulation is mandatory. This is to be arranged above a splash-water base of any design up to a maximum of 90 centimeters above the top of the terrain or used adjacent horizontal building parts up to the height of the ceiling above the first floor, but up to a height of at least three meters. Details can be found in the respective system approvals. This regulation applies to the following two variants:

  1. ETICS with glued and additionally dowelled EPS insulation material with an insulation thickness of up to a maximum of 200 millimeters on solid mineral substrates with glued ceramic or natural stone cladding.
  2. ETICS with glued EPS insulation material with an insulation thickness of up to a maximum of 200 millimeters on substrates of wooden panel construction with a layer of plaster.

The outer planking of the walls up to the height of the ceiling of the 3rd floor above the upper edge of the site or used adjacent horizontal building parts is to be carried out here additionally with non-combustible board materials of building material class DIN 4102-A or classes A1 or A2-s1, d0 according to DIN EN 13501-1. ETICS with EPS insulation thicknesses over 300 millimeters are not recommended by the trade association.

Book tip

The new ETICS & Fire Protection technical system information from the ETICS trade association with numerous examples can be ordered from the association's office at a price of 19.90 euros: www.fachverband-wdvs.de. It contains instructions on how to avoid fire with garbage containers and similar fire loads. The information corresponds to the leaflet of the Construction Ministerial Conference on June 18, 2015 (see DIBt Newsletter 3/2015). The trade association also recommends concluding an inspection and maintenance contract with the contractor. Among other things, the craftsman regularly checks whether the protective plaster layer of the facade system is intact and immediately repairs possible damage.


Ralf Pasker / Werner Ma