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Fire protection classification of buildings

Depending on the risks inherent to each type of building (height, number of employees, activity, etc.), the regulations classify the buildings and indicate the fire protection requirements for each type of building.
The regulatory texts are the sole reference documents and must be consulted in their entirety.

  • Public buildings (E.R.P.) : order of 25/06/80 amended
  • High-rise buildings (I.G.H.) : order of 18/10/77 amended
  • Residential buildings: order of 31st January 1986 amended Classified installations ICPE: Law of 19/07/1996 and standard orders for facilities subject to reporting
  • Workplace: French Labour Code and order of 05/08/1992 amended

Public buildings (E.R.P.)

E.R.P. are classified in five categories.
Building type depends on the nature of the business. Building categories are based on the numbers of public and staff that frequent them.

  • Category 1: over 1500 people
  • Category 2: (701 to 1500 people)
  • Category 3: (301 to 700 people)
  • Category 4: 300 people or less, excluding category 5 buildings
  • Category 5: establishments covered by Article R 123-14 in which the number of members of the public does not reach the figure set by the safety regulations for each type of operation

High-rise buildings and skyscrapers (I.G.H. and I.T.G.H.)

An I.G.H. is a building exceeding 50 m in height for residential buildings or more than 28 m in height for other types of buildings.

An I.T.G.H. is a building that exceeds 200 m in height.
Order of 18th January 2012, amended (replacing the order of 18/10/1977) includes general measures common to all classes of I.G.H. buildings and specific provisions for the various classes of buildings.

  • GHA : residential buildings
  • GHO : hotel buildings
  • GHR : education buildings
  • GHS : archive deposit buildings
  • GHU : health facilities
  • GHW1 : office buildings: 28 m PBDN* 50 m 
  • GHW2 : office buildings: PBDN* > 50 m
  • GHZ : buildings of mixed use or containing a public building (E.R.P).

*PBDN : Floor level of top floor

Fire regulations

The fire regulations apply to every building category. All buildings must comply with fire resistance requirements according to their activity.
Reaction to fire encompasses the sum of all the properties of a given material in relation to how it impacts on the origin and propagation of a fire. According to the amended decree of 21st November 2002, Euroclasses (the classification system for the reaction to fire of materials) are determined by new test methods harmonised at European level. The table opposite presents the equivalence between Euroclasses (A1 to D) and the former reaction to fire classes (M0 to M4).

The methods of fire resistance testing and the resulting classifications are detailed in the order of 22nd March 2004 (replacing the order of 3rd August 1999). Three criteria are used to assess the various degrees of fire resistance of the structures tested.

Mechanical strength (European classification “R”)

For horizontal structural members, this criterion is deemed to be met if the deflection achieved does not exceed 1/30th of the span or if the rate of deflection does not exceed 3 mm/min per metre of span. For vertical structural members, this criterion is deemed to be met if the rate of collapse does not exceed 3 mm/min per metre of height or if the collapse does not exceed 1/100th of the height.

Tightness against flames and hot, flammable gases (European classification "E")

This criterion is no longer considered satisfied when the following occurs:

  • · Ignition of a hydrophilic cotton sheet placed in close proximity to the sample
  • · Penetration of a defined opening size
  • · Passage or sustained production of flames on the unexposed side

Thermal insulation (European classification “I”)

This criterion is satisfied when the temperature rise of the surface not exposed to fire does not exceed 140°C on average or 180°C at any given point.

Euroclass equivalences

Building regulations and fire classification

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