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During and prior to the early 1900's, the construction of a fire-resistive assembly or building was an art. Development of the testing procedures in ASTM Methods E 119 and the resultant fire-resistive rated assemblies and building units have replaced the “art” that once governed. Variations in physical test facilities and the broad provisions contained in the standard have, however, resulted in conflicts and differences in the conclusions reached by different testing facilities.
To provide closely related test results from different testing facilities requires more definitive requirements for physical facilities and correlation tests among testing agencies. Refinement of standards for preparation of test specimens and testing methods is essential to correlate test results.
The evaluation of fire test reports by the fire prevention engineer seeks the answer to the following questions:
1. Where was the test conducted, who supervised the test and wrote the report?
2. Does the report accurately record the test assembly to the point that the tested assembly may be duplicated in the field construction?
3. Does the report clearly show that the fire test was conducted in accordance with all and not part of the provisions of ASTM Methods E 119?
Fire test reports are of little value for building code purposes or to the fire protection engineer unless they can be translated into similar assemblies in the construction of buildings that will, under conditions of field fire experience, perform equally as well as the test assembly.
Carlson, R E
Fire Prevention Engineer, Office of California State Fire Marshal, Sacramento, Calif.