Foam sheathing can be used in a variety of buildings and assemblies requiring fire resistance, where properly tested. Below find resources for using foam sheathing in fire rated applications.

Top Resources:

  • North American Modern Building Alliance (NAMBA) 

    Focused on addressing fire safety through the development and enforcement of building codes that rely on a clear understanding of the performance of plastic materials in building envelopes, NAMBA believes that performance/outcome-based testing is at the center of smart fire regulations and works to advance nationally accepted and standardized fire testing of plastic building materials and assemblies.
  • Code Compliance, Type I, II, III, and IV Buildings 

    Research report covering the use of foam sheathing when used as exterior wall sheathing or in exterior walls in Type I, II, III, and IV construction as defined by the IBC. Available as a sealed code compliance report.
  • Code Compliance, Type V Buildings

    Research report covering the use of foam sheathing when used as exterior wall sheathing or in exterior walls in Type V construction as defined by the IBC. Available as a sealed code compliance report.

Tools & Education

Fire Safety & Foam Sheathing Use

In view of international fire events, this flyer examines U.S. codes and standards (IBC and NFPA 285 requirements) as well as the practice of engineering evaluations, emphasizing the importance of keeping the focus on compliance and enforcement.

Decision Tree: Is My FPIS Wall Assembly Required to Comply with NFPA 285 Testing?

Foam plastics used in buildings of Types I-IV construction require an assessment of their ability to resist vertical and lateral flame spread. Determine if your assembly is required to comply with NFPA 285 Fire testing with this decision tree.

Educational Program: NFPA 285 - Engineering Analysis of Tested Assemblies

Building code requirements relating to NFPA 285 testing requirements and the use of the alternative materials provision of the code to extend those test results to similar wall assemblies of equal or better performance.

Visualizing the Importance of Fire Safety in High-rise Buildings

This infographic from the North American Modern Building Alliance (NAMBA) highlights the need for fire safety in high-rise buildings and shows how the U.S. is leading the way for facade fire testing and safety regulations.

Design Example: NFPA 285 Testing & the Use of Engineering Extensions in Wall Assemblies Using FPIS

This course assumes that the Building Designer has reviewed the building code requirements and has verified that a NFPA 285 compliant assembly is needed for the project. • For guidance on determining when a NFPA 285 compliant assembly is required, consult the NFPA 285 Compliance Decision Tree.

Comparing Fire Test Methods: NFPA 285 vs. FM 4880

NFPA 285 Standard Test Method has been part of the International Building Code and previous model building code requirements for many decades. NFPA 285 is used to evaluate the suitability of exterior wall assemblies that are constructed using combustible materials or that incorporate combustible components where exterior walls are required to be non-combustible. 

NFPA Exterior Walls Interactive Tool (login required)

NFPA has developed this free interactive tool to help navigate the code requirements that apply to exterior walls containing combustible components. It also helps determine when those requirements apply for testing to NFPA 285.

Practical Research

Research Report: Engineering Analysis of NFPA 285 Tested Assemblies

Code requirements for specific testing are often questioned in the industry. For example, is actual testing required, or is engineering analysis permitted? Engineering analysis would fall under the category of alternative materials due to the fact that many tests are conducted as an assembly, and, therefore, any substitutions of products are labeled as alternative materials.

NFPA 285 - Extending Data with Comparative Engineering Analysis

This article discusses engineering judgments and their use as a practical tool to assist designers and building officials with assessing the compliance of exterior wall assemblies with the acceptance criteria of NFPA 285.

Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report

This review of UK regulations examines building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement, with a focus on high rise residential buildings. This final report sets out over 50 recommendations for government as to how to deliver a more robust regulatory system for the future.