How to Choose the Right Fire Test for Your Product or Assembly

May 20, 2024   -  

Fire testing is an essential component of ensuring the safety of your building products and assemblies. But choosing the right test — and testing facility — should be carefully considered.

There are several complexities involved in this process, and making the right choice is essential for the viability of your test and the accuracy of the results.

From understanding test parameters to managing budget constraints, each aspect contributes to a reliable testing process. For help choosing the right fire test for your building material or assembly, keep reading.

Types of Fire Tests for Building Products and Assemblies

When it comes to building products and assemblies, there are two main types of fire tests: standardized and non-standardized.

Standardized tests follow established test method procedures and adhere to standard time-temperature curves. Non-standardized tests do not follow established test method procedures and often employ variable time-temperature curves.

At NGC Testing Services, we always advocate for standardized fire testing that follows established test methods and accurately simulates real-world fire conditions in which a product or assembly will exist. Our comprehensive fire testing facility is fully equipped to test materials big and small, with high-capacity cranes, multiple movable test frames, and large access openings.


Considerations for Choosing the Right Fire Test

Are you testing a single material or an assembly?

Testing a single material versus an assembly is a major factor in determining the test you need, and it requires varying levels of preparation, timeframes, and costs.

For a single product, think about the types of systems or assemblies you anticipate it being used for. You’ll also want to be sure to ask your testing provider how much of the material you’ll need to supply them with to conduct the tests.

Testing an assembly is more complex, as you’ll have to consider each individual component, such as framing, insulation, fasteners, finishing mechanisms, and more.

Regardless of whether you’re testing a single material or a complex assembly, a reputable testing provider will be able to help you determine the right fire test for its intended use.

What do you want the test to measure, demonstrate, or verify?

Fire tests serve many purposes, which allow various aspects of a product or assembly's fire performance to be tested. Understanding what you want the test to measure, demonstrate, or verify is crucial in selecting the most appropriate evaluation method for your product or assembly.

Depending on the industry and application, fire tests may need to demonstrate compliance with specific criteria. This could include things like transit vehicle fire tests, aircraft interior fire tests, or other specific evaluations.

What test parameters are needed to simulate a realistic application of your product?


The right test parameters for your product or assembly ensure that the test conditions most closely resemble those that your product might encounter in a real-world scenario. Here are key elements to consider when determining the test parameters:

  • Time-temperature curve
  • Duration of exposure
  • Load-bearing or non-load-bearing
  • Size requirements
  • Mounting method
  • Environmental conditions

You’ll also want to determine whether a single test is sufficient or if multiple tests are needed to capture the most accurate results and replicate real-world conditions effectively.

Which test standards apply to your product?

Different industries often have specific standards that outline the testing protocols and criteria for evaluating fire performance. Identifying these standards helps you stay aligned with requirements and industry-specific safety regulations.

To determine which test standards apply to your product or assembly, start by researching the regulations and guidelines within your industry. Understanding the specific standards that govern your product allows you to tailor the fire testing process so that you’re aligned with the requirements that matter most for safety, compliance, and market acceptance.

Here’s where engaging with fire testing experts familiar with the intricacies of these standards can truly streamline the process.

Do you want your product certified or UL-labeled?

Once you’ve determined the appropriate fire test for your product, the next thing to consider is whether you want your product to be certified or UL-labeled.

These distinctions hold significant weight in the market and are often critical for regulatory compliance and consumer trust. Here are some key elements of each choice:


  • Certification involves undergoing a comprehensive evaluation by a third-party certification body. This process ensures that your product or assembly meets specific safety standards and regulatory requirements.
  • In some industries, certification is a regulatory requirement. It demonstrates that your product has undergone rigorous testing and adheres to established safety standards.

UL Labeling

  • UL Solutions is a globally recognized organization that provides testing, inspection, and certification services. A UL label signifies that a product has met specific safety and performance criteria.
  • Products with UL labels often gain enhanced market visibility and acceptance. This label is widely recognized and trusted by consumers, architects, and regulators.
  • UL offers a variety of testing services that allow you to tailor the testing process to your specific needs.

While some industries may have specific certification requirements, others prefer UL labeling, so understanding what your industry expects is important. It also affects consumer perception — some view certification as the go-to for demonstrating safety and reliability, while others prefer UL labeling.

Navigating Budget and Time Constraints When Choosing a Fire Test

While making sure you’re getting a thorough evaluation of your product, it's important to keep your budget and any time constraints in mind. Here are some things to consider:

Prioritizing Accuracy and Testing Turnaround


Balance short-term costs with long-term value. Choosing a provider based solely on cost may compromise accuracy. Assess the overall value, including reputation, expertise, and the reliability of the testing results over time.

Look for reputable fire testing providers with a track record of reliability. Check customer reviews, past projects, and certifications. A provider with a solid reputation and ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation will help ensure laboratory competence and offer accurate results.

Meeting Project Timelines

Start planning beforehand with the testing facility so they help you meet project timelines and avoid delays. In some cases, laboratories offer fast-track testing services that expedite the evaluation process.

The Importance of Planning

For peace of mind, start the fire testing planning process early — ideally in your product development cycle. Early planning allows for better budget allocation and more efficient scheduling and addresses potential challenges and hiccups early on.

No Matter Your Test, Work With an Accredited Laboratory

Partnering with an accredited testing laboratory gives you direct access to experts who know fire. They can help you choose the right fire test for your product or assembly and can assist in optimizing testing plans to suit your budget and time constraints.

If you need help in the fire testing process, NGC Testing Services has successfully performed thousands of fire tests for almost 60 years. For cost-effective, efficient, and always reliable fire testing solutions, reach out to the team today.


Contact Us

NGC Testing Services features one of North America's most comprehensive and unique fully accredited testing facilities. Contact us today to visit our 50,000-plus-square-foot facility located in Buffalo, New York.