From the 1st July 2017, cables sold within the European Union need to comply with the Construction Products Regulation 305/2011 (CPR). From this date, it is mandatory for you to specify CPR CE marked cables.
CPR - how it works
The CPR creates a harmonised standard for the fire rating of cables. Ratings (class) are classified from A to F depending on the flame characteristics. Additional properties cover smoke, flaming droplets and acidity. Cables rated A have the best performance, with those rated F the lowest.
- high performance, products which practically cannot burn, PCS
- no or very little burning (30 kW flame source), FIGRA, FS, H, HRR, THR
- very little burning (20.5 kW flame source), FS, THR, HRR, FIGRA
- continuous flame spread, limited fire growth limited heat release (20.5 kW flame source), FIGRA, FS, H, HRR, THR,
- continuous flame spread, moderate fire growth, moderate release (20.5 kW flame source), FIGRA, H, HRR, THR,
- products with a small flame attack, do not cause a large flame spread, H
FIGRA, fire growth rate index, test method EN 50399
FS: vertical flame spread, test method EN 50399
H: vertical flame spread, test method EN 60332-1-2
HRR: the maximum value of heat release, test method EN 50399
PCS: the gross heat of combustion, test method EN ISO 1716
THR: total heat release, test method EN 50399
B1ca to Dca include additional tests: smoke production EN 60134-2, flaming droplets EN 50399, and acidity EN 60754-2.
CPR considers the reaction to fire inline with EN 50575 "Power, control and communication cables. Cables for general applications in construction works subject to reaction to fire requirements", and resistance to fire EN 50577 "Electric cables. Fire resistance test for unprotected electric cables (P classification)". The CPR fire test takes into consideration five properties:
- Flame spread
- Heat release
- Smoke production, s1 (best, good visibility) to s3 (worse, low visibility)
- Flaming droplets, d0 (best, no droplets) to d2 (worse, long/persistent droplets)
- Acidity, a1 (low acid cables) to a3 (standard cables)
The full classification of a cable is the combination of its class and additional properties, for example, Cca -s1b, d1 a1.
The CPR cover all cables, at all voltages, including power, control and optical fibre, which are installed in fixed installations. There are, however, options (special applications), which may be exempted by a countries National Regulations. Countries National Regulations and Authorities may specify particular CPR classifications for different types of installations.
Labelling and Certificates
Manufacturers are obliged to provide labelling containing mandatory information and a declaration of performance (DoP).
You should check your countries regulating authorities for details on the specifications of cables.
In the absence of guidelines, industry practice would recommend class Eca or higher, Low Smoke Zero Halogen insulated and sheathed cables. For fire sensitive installations, higher classes should be used.