SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 12 April 2016

Exterior Insulation and Finish System Code Requirements and Fire Performance


This paper addresses the current code requirements for the use of exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) specified in the 2015 editions of the International Building Code and the International Residential Building Code. A description of the code sections of interest and the fire performance requirements embedded in those sections is provided. These code requirements and their referenced standards have become significant because they now form the basis for the appropriate use of EIFS. In particular, the fire performance of EIFS is addressed and the various fire tests for the components and the EIFS assemblies are described. This includes information concerning EIFS' fire performance in NFPA 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components. This is the primary fire test to allow the use of EIFS on exterior walls of Types I, II, III, or IV construction. A brief history and description of the test method is provided as well as EIFS' fire performance in this test method. Additionally, the fire performance of EIFS in several actual fire events such as the Monte Carlo fire, the Palace Station fire, and the Luxor fire is discussed. These fires have vividly demonstrated the issues surrounding the use of decorative features applied to or incorporated onto EIFS wall assemblies. Information concerning the appropriate construction and materials for these decorative features is provided. EIFS are among the most extensively fire-tested exterior wall assemblies used in the United States. As such, lessons with respect to EIFS' construction, fire performance, applicability, and use have been developed and addressed.

Author Information

Beitel, Jesse
Jensen Hughes, Baltimore, MD, US
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Developed by Committee: E06
Pages: 130–143
DOI: 10.1520/STP158520140155
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7616-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7615-7