Flame Spread Testing for the Building Industry

As a nationally accredited laboratory, the SwRI Fire Technology Department evaluates building materials and products in accordance with all required fire test standards, including ASTM E84.

Using its Steiner Tunnel, SwRI conducts flame spread testing for building products.

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) performs testing to determine the surface burning characteristics of building materials, products, and assemblies in accordance with standards referenced by ASTM E84, NFPA 255, UL 723, UBC 42-1, CAN 4-S102. To meet the demands of industrial fire testing requirements, the Institute's test program offers the following facilities and capabilities:

  • 4,000-square-foot conditioned building
  • State-of-the-art measurement system and computerized data processing
  • Immediate tabulation and printout of results
  • Nationally recognized reports issued within days of the test


The SwRI Department of Fire Technology is accredited by the International Accreditation Service, Inc. (IAS), which encompasses the three major model building code jurisdictions in the United States, as a qualified testing laboratory and a third-party quality assurance and inspection agency in accordance with IAS Report Nos. TL-214 and AA-665, respectively. The Department has been designated a "Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL)" by OSHA and has been accredited in all major state and local jurisdictions throughout the U.S., including the city of Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County, and the city of New York. The Department has been accepted by the U.S. Coast Guard to provide testing and follow-up programs in support of Type Approval per the IMO FTP Code. Internationally, the Department is recognized by The Standards Council of Canada, Lloyd's Register of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), and the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

The SwRI Department of Fire Technology is one of the world's largest organizations devoted to fire research and testing.

This flyer was originally published in January 1997. For more information about flame spread testing for the building industry, contact
Nicholas Middleton, Department of Fire Technology, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division, Southwest Research Institute, P.O. Drawer 28510, San Antonio, Texas 78228-0510, Phone (210) 522-2406, Fax (210) 522-3377.

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