Why do I need Class 0?

The Building Regulations state that surface linings of the walls and ceilings in common areas must (a) adequately resist the spread of flame over their surfaces; and (b) have, if ignited, a rate of heat release or rate of fire growth which is reasonable in the circumstances. Class 0 is the standard given that satisfies this requirement.

What exactly is Class 0?

A material is Class 0 if it achieves the required ratings in 2 different British Standard fire tests – BS 476 Part 6 (fire propagation) and BS 476 Part 7 (surface spread of flame). The material must achieve both a “Pass” in the Part 6 test and a “Class 1” rating in the Part 7 test.

Where do I need Class 0?

On the walls and ceilings of the communal areas of any residential building that has 2 or more front entrance doors within it.

Why is paint a problem?

Normal decorative paints will burn vigorously when exposed to flame if they are a free film (not stuck to anything). However, if they are stuck to a non-flammable surface – a plaster or concrete wall for instance – then they will be protected from burning for 2 reasons. Firstly, the plaster or concrete draws heat away from them (acts as a heat sink) and secondly, the paints are also protected by virtue of remaining stuck to the plaster or concrete surface and thereby not having both sides exposed to the air. The problem comes when repeated painting leads to a build-up of multi-layers. The uppermost paint layers are now insulated from the plaster/concrete by the under layers, so the heat sink is greatly reduced causing heat to build up in the uppermost layers. Blistering and delamination of the uppermost paint layers can then result causing rapid ignition and rapid and uncontrolled flame spread.

What do I need to look out for when choosing paints for communal areas?

The surface linings of the walls and ceilings you have now will dictate what sort of paint you can safely choose to ensure you end up with a Class 0 fire rating. The paint you choose must be able to achieve a Class 0 fire rating in combination with what is there already. The only way to tell is to carry out an assessment of walls and ceilings you want to paint.

How can I get my communal areas checked?

Companies that specialise in the development and manufacture of Class 0 protective coatings will be able to carry out site specific assessments and provide painting specifications that match the level of protection required to the level of risk identified.

Can’t I just use water based paints – they don’t burn do they?

This is a common misconception. All normal water based decorative paints will burn as a dry free film. The reason is that once the water has evaporated, the majority of what is left is the binder and the pigments. The binder is highly flammable (in simple terms it is a film of plastic) so it is not safe to assume that water based paints are fire safe just because they were applied using water as the carrier.

The paint I’m using says it is fire retardant on the tin – that’s good enough isn’t it?

This is another common misconception. There are many levels of fire retardancy. At one end of the scale a fire retardant paint might only be able to fire retard itself and would provide little or no protection to flammable paint layers underneath it. At the other end of the spectrum a fire retardant paint would be able to protect many layers of highly flammable paint underneath it. This type of paint is generally referred to as fire upgrading paint due to its ability to improve the fire performance of a surface rather than just maintain it.


Are Integra systems difficult to apply?

No – all our systems are easily applied using brushes and rollers. No specialist equipment is required.

Are Integra systems environmentally friendly?

Yes – all our products are either water-based or solvent free.

Do we have to use approved contractors to apply Integra systems?

No – application is open to all trained painters and decorators. We offer tool-box-talks to familiarise painters with best practice where required.

Do Integra systems come in a wide choice of colours?

Yes – all our systems are available in 100’s of colours. A colour-matching service is also available.

Are Integra systems difficult to get hold of?

No – delivery of materials to site within the UK is usually within 3 days from date of order.

Do Integra systems have a strong lasting smell?

No – most of our systems are very low odour water-based products and are routinely used in enclosed residential environments.

Do Integra offer a Specification service?

Yes – we strongly recommend you call us in to assess the surface linings in your communal areas and issue a site specific fire upgrading Class 0 specification.

Do Integra systems come with a guarantee?

Yes – we offer a 10-year Class 0 guarantee for specified work.

Can Integra systems also be applied outside?

Yes – Integra systems can also be applied externally.

Can Integra systems be applied in cold weather?

Yes – our systems can cure at low temperatures – in fact as low as 0 degrees centigrade in some cases.