Multilayer Paint Analysis

Communal areas in multi-occupancy residential blocks present a potential high fire risk scenario and the painting of surfaces with multiple layers of paint can increase the flammability, with ensuing consequences for life and property.

At design stage and prior to occupation of residential blocks, there is an obligation to incorporate adequate fire precautionary measures to prevent the unrestricted spread of fire and smoke, particularly to circulation spaces, escape routes and other common access areas. There is also an ongoing obligation under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order to ensure that fire protection measures are maintained.

Subsequent decoration and redecoration of surfaces with surface coating products can lead to a build-up of multiple layers of paint causing a reduction in the standard of protection offered to the occupants and a potential fire hazard. Investigations into some serious fast spreading fires have shown that aged and multilayer painted surfaces can be the cause of rapid flame spread.

IFC Certification Ltd (IFCC) provides a bespoke inspection service conducting surveys to determine the condition of the surfaces to be redecorated. These inspections identify fire associated risk and suggest the type of paint system suitable for use in a refurbishment project. Depending on the results of the assessment the options will be one of the following:

  • Strip and repaint
  • Use conventional flame retardant paint over existing paint
  • Use upgrade paint over existing paint

The Inspection Process

IFCC evaluates the condition of the paint on the walls and the ceilings by a process of visual inspection, adhesion testing, adhesion at elevated temperatures and microscopic analysis.

Testing is normally conducted against Code of Practice – Refurbishment of Communal Buildings – The Fire Risk of Multilayer Paints, P11 reference F-02-WFRCI.

Through the testing IFCC will establish the condition of the existing coatings and provide unambiguous and concise recommendations that state the course of action to be taken for redecoration of the inspected areas of the building(s).

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Last Updated: 29/01/2015