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 June 2007
Tech News

Recent Fire Standards Activities Include Approval of Measurement Uncertainty Guide and Development of Deck Structures Standard

A new ASTM International standard will be used to quantify the uncertainty associated with measurements in fire tests in a consistent manner, while a proposed new E05 standard, WK14401, Evaluating the Fire Test Response of Deck Structures to Burning Brands, will determine the fire test response of deck structures.

ASTM meeting and staff manager contact information for Committee E05 can be found at the end of this article.

E 2536, Guide for Assessment of Measurement Uncertainty in Fire Tests

E 2536, under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E05.31 on Terminology and Editorial, will be used to assess the measurement uncertainty in fire tests.

“Users of fire test data often need a quantitative indication of the quality of the data presented in a test report,” says Marc Janssens, director of the fire technology department at Southwest Research Institute and first vice chairman of Committee E05. “This quantitative indication is referred to as the measurement uncertainty.”

Janssens says there are two primary reasons for estimating the uncertainty of fire test results:

• ISO/IEC 17025 recommends that competent testing and calibration laboratories include uncertainty estimates for the results that are presented in a report; and
• Fire safety engineers need to know the quality of the input data used in an analysis to determine the uncertainty of the outcome of the analysis.

E 2536 will be used to quantify the uncertainty associated with measurements in fire tests in a consistent manner. The procedures contained in the new standard are most appropriate for the more engineering-based fire test methods intended for fire safety engineering calculations and particularly those that give results in engineering units and that can be used for fire safety engineering calculations.

Janssens says that the subcommittee is now working on a new proposed standard that will supplement E 2536. The new standard would give guidance on the assessment of uncertainty for other fire test methods. It is important to understand that the new standard addresses uncertainty, which is different from precision, a topic that has been addressed for many years.

“The subject of E 2536 is the uncertainty of fire test results,” says Janssens. “This is more complex than quantifying the uncertainty of individual measurements. Results from many fire tests are qualitative instead of quantitative and their uncertainty cannot be determined. In some cases the results are quantitative, but the effect of some sources of uncertainty cannot be quantified.”


Technical Information: Marc Janssens, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas
Phone: 210/210-5226

WK14401, Evaluating the Fire Test Response of Deck Structures to Burning Brands

Subcommittee E05.22 on Surface Burning is developing a proposed new standard, WK14401, that will determine the fire test response of decks or other horizontal ancillary structures attached to or in close proximity to primary structures. While E05.22 member Paul Hough says that the task group working on WK14401 is already well-represented with manufacturers, regulators, wildland fire experts and fire test experts, additional input from all interested parties is welcome.

Deck board manufacturers and building code officials would be the primary users of WK14401. “We hope that WK14401 will be useful in determining the relative hazard of different types of decking materials and that it could eventually be adopted by the building codes, especially in California and urban interface areas,” says Hough. //


Technical Information: Paul Hough, Armstrong World Industries, Inc., Lancaster, Pa.
Phone: 717/396-4195

ASTM Staff: Thomas O’Toole
Phone: 610/832-9739

Upcoming Meeting:
June 24-27
June Committee Week
Norfolk, Va.