With fire safety continuing to be a top priority in the construction industry, The Metal Construction Association (MCA) has published a new white paper, Fire Safety of Insulated Metal Wall Panels. This important document contains detailed information concerning the efficacy of insulated metal panels (IMPs) in the context of insulation and fire safety requirements in the United States and other countries.
IMPs are lightweight composite exterior wall and roof panels with two layers of coated thin sheet metal, typically steel or aluminum, wrapped around a rigid foam core to form a stiff composite. IMPs are manufactured to meet the performance and testing requirements of the building codes and insurance listing agencies. They are tested for fire, structural, thermal transmittance/resistance, foam core properties, water leakage, and air pressure differential. Insulation is an essential part of modern building construction as the most effective way of lowering energy use and providing environmentally friendly buildings.
Some insulation materials, such as fiberglass, mineral wood, or polyimide foam, do not typically need flame retardants to meet code requirements. In some cases, each component of a product can get good fire test results while the entire assembly burns vigorously, and vice versa. Therefore, United States codes typically require composite assemblies to be fire tested both as a complete assembly and as separate components, particularly foam plastic insulation materials. It’s a misconception that non-combustible materials are always preferable to foam plastic materials in exterior claddings. IMPs can be used safely in exterior claddings and should continue to be a significant part of building construction. The comprehensive 12-page white paper can be downloaded for free from the MCA’s website.
The MCA brings together a diverse industry for the purpose of expanding the use of metal in construction through marketing, research, technology, and education. Companies involved in the MCA gain tremendous benefit from association activities that focus on research, codes and standards, market development, and technical programs. The MCA’s market development efforts increase the use of metal materials in construction through the education of the building and design communities about the benefits of metal.