August 23, 2019
In an effort to continue the advancement of societal well-being and improve safety globally, UL is excited to announce a new certification program for thermal barrier coating materials used in conjunction with foam plastic insulation or metal composite materials (MCM). Thermal barriers for foamed plastic insulation are commonly found in cold food storage facilities, food processing plants, ice skating arenas and other climate-controlled facilities.
This new UL certification program evaluates thermal barriers covering foam plastic insulation, as required by the 2015 and 2018 International Building Code (IBC) Section 2603.4.1. The testing requirements for this certification program are in accordance with the acceptance criteria specified in NFPA 275, Standard Method of Fire Test for the Evaluation of Thermal Barriers.
NFPA 275 requires two separate fire tests of the thermal barrier material. The first test is a thermal transmission test that evaluates the material to the fire endurance exposure test of UL 263, Standard for Fire Tests of Building Construction Materials. The second test evaluates how a thermal barrier coating system protects the foam plastic insulation by limiting flame spread and smoke development in accordance with UL 1715, Standard for Fire Test of Interior Finish Material. These 15-minute tests evaluate a thermal barrier’s ability to protect foam plastic insulation from elevated temperatures and exposure to flame.
Section 2603.9 (Special Approval) of the International Building Code (IBC) provides an exception to the requirement for a thermal barrier where a wall system containing foam plastic is specifically approved based on large scale tests such as NFPA 286 (with the acceptance criteria of Section 803.1.1.1), FM 4880, UL 1040 or UL 1715. The large-scale testing must be performed on the wall system that represents the actual end-use configuration using the finished manufactured foam plastic assembly in the maximum thickness intended for installation.
UL Certified products will be found under the UL category for Thermal Barrier Systems for Protection of Foam Plastic Insulation and Metal Composite Materials (CAWO). This certification program complements the equivalent Canadian certification program for products in category CAWO7 and XCLA7 evaluated to CAN/ULC-S124, Standard Method of Test for the Evaluation of Thermal Barriers for Foamed Plastic. The type of certification information for each product is illustrated in example below. Code officials can easily verify code compliant thermal barriers certified by UL and get additional guide information about this category by using our Product IQTM search tool. Product iQ is free, but a one-time registration is required.
As indicated by the table above, the thermal barrier coating material will be certified based on a system’s physical and performance characteristics. The certification will be limited to the specific coating material and foam insulation (or metal composite material) evaluated in accordance with NFPA 275. The certification requires the thermal barrier to be applied in accordance with the manufacturer's application instructions over UL Certified foamed plastic insulation or metal composite materials. Testing can be conducted in one of the UL fire test laboratories located in Northbrook, Illinois (USA), and Rosenheim, Germany. These certifications will begin appearing in Product iQ in the coming months.
For more information, please contact ULRegulatoryServices@ul.com.