NFPA 285

NFPA 285 Test

Building and energy codes are extremely complex, and understanding them can feel next to impossible.  Metal Design Systems, Inc. (MDSI) wants to take all your concerns away.

According to IBC 2015, (generally speaking and baring exceptions) Metal Composite Material (MCM) is a combustible component of an exterior wall panel assembly.  When it is used in Type I, II, III and IV construction, it can only be installed to a height of 40’ before it must comply with the criteria of NFPA 285.  If foamed plastic insulation is included in the wall assembly, the height exemption is eliminated and all walls (regardless of height) must comply.   The National Fire Protection Association NFPA 285: Standard Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components is a full scale, 2-story, assembly specific test.

In 2017 the NFPA will be releasing the new addition of the 285 which incorporates additional language which requires certain panel joint location parameters and makes the test much more difficult to pass.  The new 2017 standards will negate any previously acceptable test reports that do not comply and force many manufacturers to re-test. The added difficulty may likely hinder some assemblies and components from regaining compliant status without significant changes.

NFPA 285 Test

Metal Design Systems, Inc. is ahead of the “burn” for the 2017 NFPA 285.  We have recently passed two completed assemblies, including one with polyisocyanurate insulation that is compliant with the new NFPA 285 criteria.  We didn’t just find ways to beat the test, (things that will never be incorporated into actual construction assemblies); we applied real world, constructible assemblies in our wall and window details.  This allows us to provide you with real world solutions to project requirements.

When you are Specifying or Purchasing exterior cladding products make sure you look for compliance with the NFPA 285 2017 edition and that the details are practial.  Let us here at Metal Design Systems, Inc. help you with your cladding system needs.


We can bring your design to life.
Let’s talk.