The Critical Role of ASTM A & C Classifications in Building Safety

Updated May 16, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of commercial construction, understanding the nuances of fire safety standards is not just a requirement but a commitment to excellence and safety.

When getting up to speed on ASTM E84 and ASTM E119 certifications, it's crucial to distinguish between the classifications of flame spread, particularly ASTM A and ASTM C. Grasping this distinction both ensures compliance with safety regulations and reflects your dedication to providing the highest standards of safety in our industry.

Deciphering ASTM E84: The Significance of ASTM A & C Classifications

ASTM E84, also known as the Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials, measures the flame spread and smoke developed indices of materials. In this context, ASTM A and ASTM C are classifications within the standard that pertain to the flame spread index.

  • ASTM A refers to a flame spread index of 0-25. Materials with this classification are considered to have the best performance in terms of limiting flame spread and smoke generation. This classification is often required for materials used in corridors, exits, and other critical areas in buildings, especially in healthcare facilities.
  • ASTM C refers to a flame spread index of 76-200. Materials with this classification have a higher propensity to allow flame spread compared to ASTM A materials. These materials are typically used in less critical areas and where stricter fire performance criteria are not mandatory given lower occupancy density or traffic.

ASTM E119, known as the Standard Test Method for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials, is different from ASTM E84. It measures the ability of a building element (like a wall, column, or floor) to withstand fire exposure while maintaining its structural integrity.

ASTM E119 does not classify materials based on flame spread indices. Instead, it provides a fire-resistance rating in hours, indicating how long a building component can resist fire under controlled test conditions.

Understanding these standards is crucial for ensuring the safety and compliance of materials used in commercial construction. To learn how STARC’s temporary walls help you meet fire safety requirements, download our infographic, Fire Safety & Temporary Walls: One Critical Question.

Interested in More Information on STARC Systems?

Download a Catalog