Single Burning Item Test

Single Burning Item Test (SBI, EN 13823)


Most construction products sold in Europe need to be tested and classified using a test method called the Single Burning Item (the SBI) EN 13823. The construction products directive of the European commission requires that all European Member states use this, instead of the traditional regulatory methods used in each country, to classify most building products.The Commission defined the criteria for assessing building products into classes A-F. Though other test methods are required the SBI is needed to classify all non flooring products into the classes A2, B, C and D which are the major classes inhabited by most products other than those that are principally inorganic classified as non-combustible.



The Single Burning Item (SBI), is a method of test for determining the reaction to fire behaviour of building products (excluding floorings) when exposed to the thermal attack by a single burning item (a sand-box burner supplied with propane). The specimen is mounted on a trolley that is positioned in a frame beneath an exhaust system. The reaction of the specimen to the burner is monitored instrumentally and visually. Heat and smoke release rates are measured instrumentally and physical characteristics are assessed by observation.

A general schematic of the Test Apparatus is shown at the top right.



FTT supplies, installs, and trains clients in the use of this apparatus. FTT will also supply any of the components to clients wishing to part design and build their own equipment.

The main components of the FTT SBI are:

  • The test apparatus. 
  • Gas analysis instrumentation for heat release measurement. 
  • Smoke seasurement system. 
  • Burner, gas train and controls. 
  • Data acquisition and analysis software. 

Test Apparatus 
Includes (see right):

  • Trolley, which holds the specimen (see above right) and which docks into the frame. 
  • Frame (see right), which is housed in the test room. 
  • Primary and secondary burners. 
  • Exhaust, fitted to the top of the frame, which includes:
    • Collector with baffles, fitted to the hood. 
    • Ducting with guide vanes. 
    • Duct section containing gas sampling probe, bi-directional probe and thermocouples for mass flow measurement and smoke measuring ports. 

Gas Analysis Instrumentation 
These are mostly housed in a 19″ rack (see right) that contains:

  • Oxygen analyzer (paramagnetic) with temperature and pressure compensation, for primary heat release measurement. 
  • Carbon dioxide analyzer (infrared) for use in heat release measurement. 
  • Soot filter, refrigerant cold trap, drying column(s), pump and waste regulators for conditioning the sampled gases prior to analysis. 
  • Controls for the smoke measurement system (if purchased). 
  • Data logger (if purchased). 

Clients owning an FTT Dual Cone Calorimeter can utilize the instrument rack from the cone for this function. Similarly clients purchasing this equipment will own a substantial section a FTT Dual cone calorimeter and later be able to commission a cone calorimeter with significant savings.

Smoke Measurement System 
Consisting of (see right):

  • White light source and lens built in accordance with DIN 50055. 
  • Silicon photodiode detector and voltage output of transmission 
  • SBI support cradle 
  • Full set of calibration filters. 
  • Analysis is via software. 

Burner, Gas Train and Controls: 

  • Two non-aerated sandbox burners and an ignition system. 
  • UV burner flame detector units for safe gas supply monitoring. 
  • Gas Control Box(see right) housed next to the test room observation window so the operator can simultaneously see the test specimen and digital propane mass flow rate (mg/s). This unit includes three flow level controllers, warning lights and override facilities. 
  • Gas Diverter (see right) consisting of a mass flow controller to control the propane gas flow. Solenoid valves and flash back arrestors in both gas supply lines for automated safe operation of the gas flow to the burners. These are housed close to the test frame to decrease the response time of the burners by reducing the pipe length between the solenoids and burners. 
  • The mass flow and the corresponding heat release (kW) are additionally displayed on a PC.

Data Acquisition and Analysis 

  • A windows based software package enabling simple data collection and manipulation to determine the various parameters needed for heat release determination. The software generates files that integrate with the current spreadsheets, (which are also supplied) for the calculation the Fire Growth Rate Index (FIGRA) and Smoke Growth Rate Index (SMOGRA).
  • Data logger, which features a 3-slot cardcage with 6½ digit (22 bit) internal DMM enabling up to 120 single-ended or 48 double-ended measurements, collects signals from the instrumentation. Scan rates up to 250 channels/s are available with a 115kbaud RS232 interface as standard. Also supplied with GPIB interface.
  • Available in most languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese. 


FTT supplies all instrumentation and ducting for the SBI and can help in laboratory designing, supplying of additional items or supervision of local building works or installation of essential services. The test may produce large quantities of combustion products so smoke handling facilities and suitable extinguishing agents may be needed.

You will also need:

  • Minimum height of 4.5m to house full apparatus Test Room (3m x 3m x 2.6m) 
  • Extraction, (0.50m3/s to 0.65m3/s) Air Supply 
  • Oxygen free Nitrogen Drying Agents 
  • Calibration gas of CO/CO2 (if CO selected) Commercial Propane Supply 
  • Electrical power providing 230VAC 50/60 Hz 16A at the instrument rack must be available


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