I have recently returned from a week in Pennsylvania advising Symonite Panels Ltd on the NFPA 285 testing of their Reynobond and Reynodual cladding systems.
Both tests passed with flying colours. It was an exciting opportunity which enabled me to gain extensive knowledge on the subject of NFPA 285 cladding system tests and their failure methods both through my research and preparation for the test and undertaking the live fire tests. I also had the opportunity to discuss the New Zealand compliance situation with a NFPA 285 committee member.
Despite the knee jerk reaction of some regulators it was interesting to note how the results of the test (as expected) dispelled some of the misapprehensions in the industry surrounding NFPA 285 tests, and raised some other issues that have been largely ignored to date.
Please note that these test are specific to the Symonite cladding systems including fixing, substrate, panel details etc and cannot be assumed to apply to other suppliers and installers of NFPA 285 tested systems.
As with other proprietary systems commonly used in New Zealand the actual details of the test remain commercially confident. Symonite are hoping to release the test certification over the next week.
Yes there was a test on RAB with a timber frame which passed (as we expected). The fixings,installation details etc are properitary to the manufacturer, system specific to Symonite and not transferable . What fire engineers will need to appreciate is that it is not necessarily a generic result, despite quashing some of the claims out there that RAB and timber framing posed a risk to vertical fire spread. Applying the result to different manufacturer or installer would be a bit like making up your own GIB fire rated system with fyreline and your own fixing/spacing; it might work but its not a tested system.
To date as far as I am aware Symonite has the only tested system applicable to NZ construction with RAB and timber framing.
Hopefully some of the other installers or manufacturers will follow suit and test their systems for use in NZ.