Understanding how to Reduce the Risk of Fire
How ASC Building Products’ Metal Roof and Siding Helps Protect Your Home from Wildfire.
Many of us have heard, or experienced, how wildfires have become increasingly destructive in recent years. Excessively dry weather conditions, thick forested lands, and increased populations of people living in these areas have made the situation worse than ever. In 2020, California experienced 5 of the largest wildfires on record. According to Cal Fire, in 2020 these five fires alone burned over 2.4 million acres and over 5000 structures were lost.
Building codes have continued to evolve over the years to help reduce wildfire spread, to help prevent property damage and to reduce risk of life. Requirements can vary greatly by state and local jurisdictions, but two of the prominent driving fire codes today are the IWUIC “International Wildland-Urban Interface Code” and Ch.7A “Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure” of the California Building Code (CBC).
Q – What is the IWUIC?
A – “The objective of this code is to establish minimum regulations consistent with nationally recognized good practice for the safeguarding of life and for property protection. Regulations in this code are intended to mitigate the risk to life and structures from intrusion of fire from wildland fire exposures and fire exposures from adjacent structures and to mitigate structure fires from spreading to wildland fuels…”
In other words, the IWUIC seeks to minimize any damage to property or lives from adjacent wild or structure fires.
Q – What are some of the key IWUIC requirements for roofs and how does ASC Building Products help homeowners meet these requirements?
A – Per the Wildland-Urban Interface Code, roofs shall have a roof assembly that complies with a Class A fire resistance rating when tested in accordance with ASTM E 108 or UL 790. While ASC Building Products’ metal roof panels are inherently fire resistant due to their steel construction, that alone does not make an entire roof assembly ‘Class A’ fire rated. Using fire rated underlayments, or non-combustible gypsum deck boards will usually be required to meet the ASTM E108 or UL790 Class A designation per IWUIC requirements.
All of ASC Building Products panels are UL790 Class A fire rated when installed as part of a fire rated assembly as defined in the UL listings. For most homeowners, this is as simple as including a layer of GAF Corp. “VersaShield Underlayment”, Firestone Building Products LLC “CLAD-GARD SA-FR” self-adhered underlayment, or ¼” thick (minimum) G-P Gypsum DensDeck® Barrier Board under the metal roofing panels. Consult the UL listings and the requirements of your applicable jurisdiction to confirm what your project may require.
Q – What are the requirements for walls?
A – As specified in IWUIC, exterior walls shall be a Class 1 Ignition-Resistant Construction. There are several ways to meet this requirement. One is the exterior side of the wall consisting of a non-combustible material. ASC Building Products’ metal wall panels are classified as non-combustible and have undergone ASTM A136 combustibility testing. Our products have also undergone ASTM E84 flame spread testing and have flame spread rating of ‘0’ (no flame spread).
Q – What about the CBC Ch. 7a “Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure” requirements?
A – The purpose of CBC Ch. 7a is to “establish minimum standards for the protection of life and property by increasing the ability of a building located in any Fire Hazard Severity Zone within State Responsibility Areas or any Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Area to resist the intrusion of flames or burning embers projected by a vegetation fire and contributes to a systematic reduction in conflagration losses.”
CBC Ch. 7a generally mirrors the IWUIC requirements for roof and walls. For roofs, ASC Building Products’ helps satisfy the stringent Class A fire resistance requirements when approved UL 790 roof assembly construction methods are followed. For walls, as with the IWUIC, our products are tested and classified as both a noncombustible material as well as an ignition-resistant material.
Reduce the Risk
With the increased focus on wildfire safety, ASC building Products’ strongly recommends homeowners and contractors working with the local jurisdictions to confirm code requirements. In addition, other requirements may exist within IWUIC, CBC Ch7a, etc. that are tied to metal roof and wall construction that one may need to be aware of (soffit venting restrictions, etc.).
It is important to note that even though proper building materials and construction will go a long way to saving your home in the event of a wildfire, it is incredibly important (if not mandatory with some codes) to maintain a defensible space around your home. A home cladded in metal roofing or siding will improve the chances of your home surviving a wildfire, but these steps won’t be enough if a defensible space is not maintained around your home. Attached wood decks, adjacent wood landscape mulch and vegetation, or firewood stacks could assist wildfires in gaining access to your home. Defensible space requirements (or recommendations depending on your jurisdiction) can be found in the IWUIC.
As we’ve discussed, the non-combustible nature of ASC Building Products’ metal roof and siding panels make them an excellent choice for your home, or any structure, to help protect your valuable investments and what matters most. Click HERE to learn more about our residential offerings.
Your partner in metal roofing and siding – ASC Building Products.
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