Fire and smoke tests

Stan­dard fire tests

IFAB is an accred­it­ed test lab­o­ra­to­ry accord­ing to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 for car­ry­ing out fire tests as approval of effec­tive­ness for water based fire-fight­ing sys­tems. The record­ing of mea­sured vari­ables such as tem­per­a­tures, sys­tem pres­sures of the fire-fight­ing sys­tem and gas con­cen­tra­tions (oxy­gen and smoke gas­es: car­bon monox­ide and car­bon diox­ide) belong to it. Full scale fire tests and mea­sure­ments are car­ried out accord­ing to valid norms and guide­lines of IMO, FM, CEN, DIN, VdS for stan­dard build­ings, indus­tri­al build­ings and plants as well as accord­ing to the ARGE guide­line and UNI 11565 for rolling stock.

Addi­tion­al mea­sured vari­ables (vis­i­bil­i­ty, flowrates of gas­es and liq­uids, gas con­cen­tra­tions and humid­i­ty and oth­ers) that are required to be record­ed in the norms and guide­lines can be deter­mined with our mobile IFAB mea­sure­ment sys­tem. The deter­mi­na­tion of heat release rate is car­ried out in real time by approved cal­cu­la­tions meth­ods.

Stan­dard smoke tests

IFAB car­ries out smoke tests for the already above men­tioned appli­ca­tions such as indus­tri­al build­ings, tun­nels, metro sta­tions or rolling stock. IFAB owns the nec­es­sary equip­ment of heat sources, fog gen­er­a­tors or smoke pow­ders. This gear is used for the approval of effi­cien­cy of smoke extrac­tion sys­tems, the dis­tri­b­u­tion of smoke gas­es or posi­tion­ing of smoke detec­tors in rail vehi­cles. The fol­low­ing norms and guide­lines have already been applied for smoke tests:

Stan­dardTitle of the stan­dardTest item
ARGE-Guide­line – Part 1: 2018Fire-fight­ing in Rolling Stock: Func­tion­al proof pro­ce­dure for the posi­tion­ing of fire detec­tors in rooms acces­si­ble to per­sons, in elec­tric cab­i­nets and in areas of com­bus­tion enginesFire alarm sys­tem
DIN EN 54Fire detec­tion and fire alarm sys­tems
DIN EN 54 – Part 12Smoke detec­tors – Line detec­tors using an opti­cal light beam
DIN EN 54 – Part 20Aspi­rat­ing smoke detec­tors
DIN EN 54 – Part 22Reset­table line-type heat detec­tors
VDI guide­line 6019 Page 1Engi­neer­ing meth­ods for the dimen­sion­ing of sys­tems for the removal of smoke from build­ings – Fire curves, ver­i­fi­ca­tion of effec­tive­nessSmoke extrac­tion

Hot smoke tests for rail vehi­cles

A spe­cial fea­ture is the hot smoke test­ing in rail vehi­cles accord­ing to ARGE-Guide­line part 1. It is used as func­tion­al proof pro­ce­dure for the posi­tion­ing of fire detec­tors. The pri­ma­ry objec­tive is to mea­sure response times of detec­tors with stan­dard­ized test pro­ce­dures. There might be also some oth­er objec­tives like locat­ing the fire which is essen­tial for trig­ger­ing auto­mat­ic on board fire sup­pres­sion sys­tems or shut­down of HVAC sys­tems. Hot smoke tests are the most prac­ti­cal and real­is­tic way to test fire detec­tion sys­tems in rolling stock.

The test itself is non-destruc­tive and does not cause any harm to per­sons or to the vehi­cle. IFAB’s test equip­ment ful­fils ARGE-guide­line require­ments. The response times of detec­tion sys­tems are mea­sured in order to assess pass and fail cri­te­ria. It is very impor­tant to ensure that all pos­si­ble vehi­cle oper­at­ing sce­nar­ios are test­ed, e.g. HVAC on/off, doors open/close, as such con­di­tions have dif­fer­ent impacts to smoke move­ments. Oth­er detec­tion meth­ods, based on e.g. tem­per­a­ture or flame cri­te­ri­on, may be used in com­bi­na­tion with smoke detec­tion. These can be assessed either exper­i­men­tal­ly or part­ly by using CFD in addi­tion. IFAB is able to test such detec­tion sys­tems using dif­fer­ent fire sce­nar­ios.

Non-stan­dard fire and smoke tests (ad-hoc tests)

IFAB offers all fire test ser­vices and smoke test ser­vices from a sin­gle source, which elim­i­nates the need for any lengthy and cost­ly dis­cus­sions with third par­ties. Our team takes of the entire process, start­ing from the exper­i­men­tal con­cept, fol­lowed by the coor­di­na­tion and orga­ni­za­tion with oth­er test lab­o­ra­to­ries and author­i­ties up to the sup­ply of cus­tomized mea­sure­ment solu­tions includ­ing the mea­sure­ment record­ing and eval­u­a­tion.

Besides the accred­it­ed test pro­ce­dures for full scale fire tests, IFAB devel­ops as an inde­pen­dent test lab­o­ra­to­ry appli­ca­tion-spe­cif­ic test pro­ce­dures which are not stan­dard­ized. Appli­ca­tion exam­ples are:

 • Atria and glass facades,
 • Slopy seat­ing in the­aters and great ceil­ings heights,
 • Indus­tri­al plants stor­ages with con­vey­or belts,
 • Esca­la­tors,
 • Coat­ing plants,
 • Tun­nels,
 • Com­pact archives,
 • Stor­ages of syn­thet­ic mate­ri­als,
 • Deep fat fry­ers.

IFAB devel­ops test con­cepts in accor­dance to the meth­ods from DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 that serves the approval of the effi­cien­cy of the fol­low­ing plants:

 • Fire detec­tion sys­tems or fire alarm sys­tems,
 • Fire-fight­ing sys­tems and extin­guish­ing sys­tems,
 • Smoke extrac­tion sys­tems and heat extrac­tion sys­tems.

Spe­cial atten­tion is applied to the devel­op­ment and dimen­sion­ing of design fires and design fire sce­nar­ios. These ones have to be con­fig­ured in a way that on the one hand the appli­ca­tion case is rep­re­sent­ed and on the oth­er hand it has to be suf­fi­cient­ly pre­cise repro­ducible. Such require­ments are ensured by the use of suit­able aux­il­iary fire loads with well-known burn­ing prop­er­ties.

The devel­op­ment of such test series is car­ried out in close con­sul­ta­tion of the licens­ing offices (VdS Schaden­ver­hü­tung GmbH, TÜV Nord, TÜV Süd or TÜV Rhein­land or the DEKRA). There­fore, the pass of eval­u­a­tion cri­te­ria that were defined in the test con­cept leads to an approval of the test­ed appli­ca­tion.