Effective 1st May 2006, the Building Code of Australia (BCA) – Class 2 – 9 Buildings, calls for specific requirements regarding Fire Ratings of floor coverings that supercede the requirements of AS/NZS 1530.3. The new testing regime is referred to as:
AS/ISO 9239-1: 2003 Reaction to fire tests for floorings – Part 1: Determination of the burning behaviour using a radiant heat source.
This Standard calls for samples to undergo a series of controlled simulative tests, including the Critical Heat Flux Test / Critical Radiant Flux Test. In addition, the Specification sets a maximum limit of 750%-min for smoke generation in occupancies not fitted with sprinkler systems that comply with Specxifdicxation E1.5 of the BCA Specification.
Product Tested Critical Heat Flux Mean Smoke Development Rate
ReadyFlor Uniclic with SRT Coating 6.5 kW/m² 13%-min
With these results, it is believed that Readyflor Uniclic with SRT Coating can be used in an Class 2-9 Building in terms of Fire Rating Requirements. Copies of test reports or information on the Smoke Developed, Spread of Flame, Heat Evolved or Ignitablity Indicies is available by contacting your local Premium Floors Office.
The information provided above has been simplified for easier understanding. Information regarding specific requirements for any use and regulations should be sought from the services of an appropriate professional.
Wet pendulum test machine – The Pendulum is swung across the surface 5 times, with the average result recorded (SRV).
Slip testing and results for all Premium Products are performed in accordance with the Australian Standard AS4586, and in line with the relevant Hand Book HB198:2014. All products are tested using the Wet Pendulum method, as prescribed in the standard. This method is universal, quick to perform, and mobile, so results can be easily compared, and tests can be performed on site if necessary.
The test results in a “P” number which is referenced in the Hand Book and Building Code of Australia (BCA). The higher the P number the more slip resistant is the surface. This system is used in preference to the Wet Ramp method (R rating) due to its relevance and ease, and International acceptance. All test are performed by a certified 3rd party body, and a Certificate produced for each type of product.
The test results are affected by the surface texture and gloss level of the product being tested, as such, multiple Certificates may be provided within a single product category to reflect the different surface specifications of these products eg: Semi-Gloss vs Matt Lacquer.
Table A – slip resistance
The flooring is always tested wet, it is assumed that the performance of dry flooring will be superior. In general, a P3 result is considered suitable for most commercial and domestic applications. Table A is a summary of test results for our flooring products, including stair nosing’s. Table B is an excerpt from the BCA providing a basic overview of slip performance requirements in different areas.
Please be aware that the BCA requires all dry internal stair treads or nosing’s to achieve a P3 rating or higher as per this excerpt from the BCA in table C.
When P1 or P2 flooring is used on stairs, a P3 nosing should be used, or alternatively the stair nose treated with Safety Stride non-slip tape (Fine Textured Resilient Clear), which achieves a P4 rating.
Table B – slip resistance
Table C – slip resistance
Thermal resistance – (“R” rating)
The “R” rating is a measure of thermal resistance. In the instance of flooring, it is the measure of the floor system’s ability to resist temperature load from one side of the panei and/or underlay, to the other.
This information is of benefit when assessing the performance if in-floor heating systems. The measure is commonly required when evaluating a building’s all round energy efficiency.
The “R” ratings for ReadyFlor with both Standard Combi-Lay and Quiet Step Combi-Lay Underlays are:
- ReadyFlor 14mm on Premium Combi-Lay R = 0.17
- ReadyFlor 14mm on Quiet Step Combi-Lay R = 0.19
Acoustics – Impact Isolation Class (IIC)
Impact Isolation Class (IIC) is, in basic terms, a measure of sound heard in one room from an impact made on a floor in the space directly above. This issue is commonly raised when installing floor coverings in multi-storey residential apartments. Both the Strata Titles Act and the Building Code of Australia now raise this issue, setting requirements that need to be followed when installing floor coverings in multi-storey apartments.
A complex issue
The Impact Isolation Class of a floor is tested using highly technical tapping machines (used in the testing room) and listening devices (used in the receiving room below). This work is carried out by specialised acoustic engineers. Results of testing are then entered into complex mathematical equations to determine an Impact Isolation Class or the new acoustic results of Ln,w + C1.
How the testing is carried out
By measuring the sound transferred by the tapping machine through a floor across a wide range of frequencies, a series of data is collected. This data is then inserted into complicated mathematical formulas to determine the Impact Isolation Class (IIC)and the Ln,w+C1. While an Impact Isolation Class can only really be determined in a laboratory, field tests are carried out on various installations in service. These tests are recorded as Field Impact Isolation Class (FIIC) tests.
Variables that influence test results
Many variables can influence the IIC or acoustic performance of a floor or floorcovering. Subfloor type (timber or concrete), subfloor thickness, subfloor density, subfloor construction method, frequency of subfloor supports or beams, the presence of a suspended ceiling, the floorcovering itself and underlay used in the testing room and background noises can all have a bearing on the acoustic rating achieved. Whether a receiving room is furnished can also have a bearing on the result. In most cases however, three main factors are looked at to draw broad comparisons. The thickness of the subfloor, the floorcovering used and the underlay used seem to have the most significant bearing on results achieved. To this end, Readyflor has been tested using different underlays on concrete subfloors of varying thicknesses.
Complying with standards
The Strata Titles Act does not ask that a specific Impact Isolation Class be achieved. It simply states that “peaceful enjoyment” be afforded to the occupant below. This subjective terminology has created the need for acoustic engineers across Australia to apportion an IIC that affords “peaceful enjoyment”. In terms of Readyflor, we tend to follow the requirements of the largest apartment developers in Australia, whose acoustic engineers require a product to meet an FIIC55. Early in 2004, the Building Code of Australia introduced acoustic requirements stating that multi-storey apartments achieve a rating no greater than Ln,w+C1 62. It is important to understand that with Field Impact Isolation Class (FIIC) results, the higher the figure, the better the result. Conversely, with Ln,w+C1 testing, the lower the result, the better the acoustic rating.
Indentation resistance of ReadyFlor varies between the different hardwood top layers, some hardwoods being more indentation resistant than others. In Australia, we use the Janka Hardness Rating. To conduct a Janka Hardness Test, a steel ball, 10mm. in diameter is pressed into a sample of hardwood until it has penetrated the sample 5mm. The force applied to the ball to create the indentation is then reported in kiloNewtons (kN). Obviously, the higher the result, the greater the indentation resistance and the better that timber will withstand indentations caused by stilletto heels etc. It is important to note however that we are usually only comparing degrees of resistance in that almost all timbers will show an indentation after being subjected to a falling heavy object. Some timbers will simply show deeper indentations than others, the difference in some cases being incredibly small.
The ReadyFlor range
Below is a list of indentation resistance results for the timbers in the ReadyFlor range. As the Janka ratings have only been conducted on some overseas species, some results have been listed as approximate results. These approximate results have been ascertained using a combination of years of comparative experience, foreign standards and technical data collected on individual species.
- ReadyFlor Blackbutt approx. 9.1
- ReadyFlor Spotted Gum 11
- ReadyFlor Jarrah 8.5
- ReadyFlor Sydney Blue Gum approx. 7.5
- ReadyFlor Merbau 8.6
- ReadyFlor Tasmanian Oak av. 5.6
- ReadyFlor Oak approx. 6.0
The moral of the story is that, like all testing mentioned in this section, indentation resistance is only one aspect of evaluating which timber to select.
Remember that dark, pink or reddish timbers will oxidise, or turn darker in the presence of UV light. This means that Merbau and Jarrah will all turn darker and become generally more uniform in colour over the first six or so months, after which this natural process stops.
There are currently no Australian Standards that cover the manufacture or installation of floating timber floors. It is therefore important both to select a reputable product and to specify that installation should be carried out in strict accordance with manufacturers instructions.
Additional technical data
Additional technical data on ReadyFlor includes:
ReadyFlor is manufactured in accordance with all relevant European and German Standards. In relation to height variation between boards, 0.5mm (total height variation) is acceptable.
Synteco 1352, made by Casco Nobel in Sweden, is the heat cure adhesive used to bond the three layers of ReadyFlor together. In relation to formaldehyde emission, chamber tests have shown that emission value is 0.02mg./m3 formaldehyde. The European Standard requires no more than 0.125m3.
Timber treatment solutions
We use Timbor preservative, a boran compound that is highly effective against insects, which is applied by vacuum pressure. Timbor is in the non-harmful category according to the EC directive and the classification meets the HUD “American Standard” no special precautions are normally required.