metsec metframe

Fire tests increase assurance

voestalpine Metsec has played a key role in supporting the Steel Construction Institute’s (SCI) most recent fire tests which have demonstrated the performance of cavity barriers in light steel construction situations.

Fire tests for cavity barriers are typically tested with masonry elements on either side. Whilst they are widely used in light steel construction, limited test data existed to prove their efficacy in such applications, clearly leaving a gap in knowledge within the market. The SCI testing, undertaken early in 2022, sought to close this gap with a programme of testing undertaken by UKAS-accredited test authority, Warrington Fire.

The programme included tests with masonry cladding and either masonry or light steel frame inner leaves, enabling a direct comparison to be made between the different construction methods.

voestalpine Metsec provided a number of 2m x 0.45m frames assembled from its light gauge steel framing system, SFS, with leading cavity barrier manufacturer, Siderise supplying its EW cavity barriers. The frames and cavity barriers were incorporated into a variety of light steel frame wall constructions incorporating different sheathing boards and external insulations.

Testing was carried out in accordance with EN 1366-4: 2021 – Fire resistance tests for service installations. Linear joint seals – and demonstrated that the performance of cavity barriers between masonry cladding and an inner leaf of light steel framing is equivalent to the performance between two leaves of masonry.

voestalpine Metsec’s Research & Development Manager, Owen Johnson co-ordinated the company’s involvement in the test programme. He comments, “Our own previous testing with cavity barriers proved the efficacy of SFS with cavity barriers and, as one of the industry’s leading manufacturers, we were only too happy to support the SCI initiative.

SCI Cavity Barrier Report

“These new tests bear out our own findings and lend the industry’s weight to the use of cavity barriers with light steel frame construction, providing specifiers and contractors with much-needed assurance in the performance of this efficient construction system.”

Details on the testing have been published through the SCI’s Technical Information Sheet P438 – Cavity barriers in light steel framed buildings which can be found at