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Fire retardancy in shade structures: requirements and solutions

October 4th, 2019 / By: / Expo News

David Dean, director of research and development at Glen Raven/Sunbrella, led the campfire session, “Fire Retardancy in Shade Structures: Requirements and Solutions” during Expo 2019 in Orlando, Fla.,

According to Dean, in the U.S. there are currently no federally-mandated fire retardancy (FR) regulations for shade structures. The few regulations that have been passed include those at a state level (California and Florida), county level and city level (Las Vegas). The reasoning behind this lack of federally-mandated regulations is because in the U.S. there has never been a fire where an awning was the source of ignition.

However, the federal government is now beginning to move toward implementing more FR regulations, especially for shade sails, PVC screen windows, car ports, playground structures and umbrellas.

As the federal government begins to increase its involvement in regulation requirements, Dean recommends that businesses become more aware of FR regulations. Areas to be especially attentive to include commercial buildings, schools, hotels and restaurants. He says the regulations businesses should be familiar with include:

  • ASTM E84 (flame spread index)
  • NFPA 701: 01 and 02
  • California Title 19 (div 1, chapter 8)
  • CPAI 84
  • IMO
  • CN, BS, M&B (not valid in the U.S.)

For businesses looking for more answers to FR-related regulation questions, Dean recommends contacting the local fire marshal or fire department, manufacturer or distributor, and associations like IFAI or PAMA.