The majority of suspended ceilings are required primarily for aesthetic, acoustic and energy saving reasons. Although any building will have a fire strategy, in many instances the building itself may already have some degree of fire protection, generally through the installation of fireline boards etc.

When it comes to ceilings, there are effectively two properties that may be required involving fire.

1. Reaction to fire / Combustibility

This is a measure of how a specific tile will react when in contact with fire. Previously, different countries had various classifications, however technical standards in Europe have recently been aligned. Please note the below table showing building regulations by area and both old classifications and new Euroclass classifications that relate. (Although each member state may have a different performance level required for different areas or building types within their own national building regulations.)

Euroclasses rate from A1 to F, with A1 being the best reaction to fire performance and F being the worst. The Euroclass rating may also include additional information pertaining to smoke production and flaming droplets. Smoke production is rated from s1 (least smoke produced) to s3 (no limit to amount of smoke produced) and flaming droplets are rated from d0 (no flaming droplets) to d2 (no limit to flaming droplets.)

Building Regulations area (non-residential) Euroclass Old Classification
Circulation Areas A1 Non-Combustible
A2-s3, d2 Limited Combustibility
B-s3, d2 Class 0
Other Rooms (over 30m2) C-s3, d2 Class 1
Small rooms (up to and including 30m2) C-s3, d2 Class 2
  D-s3, d2 Class 3
Product cannot be used E-d2, F Class 4

A fire requires an ignition source (heat), oxygen from the air and also combustible material as a fuel. When as many non-combustible products as possible are used, the risk of fire will be limited. A ceiling tile with an A1 combustibility rating does not fuel a fire but please note that this does not necessarily mean that the same tile can be used to create a fire-rated ceiling.

The below tile is the most cost-effective available that has a Euroclass A1 (non-combustible) rating: Rockfon Artic.

2. Fire-rated Ceilings / Structural Fire Protection

In some instances, a fire-rated ceiling will be required. Generally speaking, this is only required in certain areas, for example in corridors that are used as fire escapes. A fire-rated ceiling will have been tested by the manufacturer to retain structural integrity for a set period of time (usually 30 or 60 minutes) and indicates how effectively the ceiling can hold back fire and prevent it from spreading from room to room. Please note that we can generally advise on fire rated ceiling requirements but the final call is down to building control/regulations to dictate the requirement.

There are many national testing methods used to establish the structural fire protection performance of a suspended ceiling system and several European norms that are acceptable in most European countries. Please note that there is not yet one single European test method that is acceptable to all member states.

In order to achieve a fire-rated ceiling, the entire construction of the ceiling is key. As a result, technically no ceiling tile itself is fire-rated; although when utilised with a certain grid combination and fixing method the same tile may be used as part of a fire-rated ceiling. If you need advice on which product combinations can be utilised to achieve a fire-rated ceiling, please contact our office and a member of our sales team will be more than happy to assist.

When a manufacturer is looking to achieve certification for a fire-rated ceiling system, they will pay a company to observe the effect of fire on a test rig. As these tests are expensive, it is only cost effective to test a specific tile in a specific grid system, generally with specific installation methods. Therefore although the various manufacturers’ grid systems are based around the same theme, only the grid system utilised in a successful test can be used in conjunction with the tested tile.

The material the suspended ceiling is being installed under will also have an impact on the tile and grid combination required and also the fixing method that needs to be employed.

Fire-rated ceilings are available under the following materials:

  • Structural Steel Beams
  • Timber Floors
  • Mezzanine Floors

In many cases (dependant on the material the suspended ceiling is being installed under and the tile and grid combination utilised) the following also needs to be considered:

  • Main runners are fixed at 1200mm centres in a standard (non-fire rated suspended ceiling). In some fire-rated ceilings, main runners may need to be fixed at 600mm centres.
  • Hanger centres may also need to be increased
  • A minimum void depth is often required
  • Hold down clips may need to be utilised to hold tiles in place
  • Tiles will often be available with various edge details, for example square-edged (that sit flush with the gridwork) or tegular-edged (a rebated edge causing the body of the tile to protrude below the grid.) Do note that a fire-rated ceiling may require the use of a specific edge detail.

Please also note in view of specific tile and grid combinations used and the fixing methods that relate, if you currently have a fire-rated ceiling in situ, it is very easy to unknowingly "downgrade" a ceiling from the original intended fire rating; most commonly through the removal of hold down clips for easy access into the ceiling void or by the patching up of gridwork or tiles with component parts from different manufacturers.


For advice and further information regarding fire-rated ceilings, please don’t hesitate to contact our sales team who will be more than happy to run through your options; whether you have a requirement for a new ceiling that requires fire-rating or already have one in situ and need to repair or replace some elements.

If your requirement is for a new fire-rated ceiling, we can advise the most cost effective fit for your requirement, but will need the following information:

  • What material the ceiling is being installed under (Structural Steel Beams, Timber Floors, Mezzanine Floors.)
  • The fire-rating required for the ceiling.
  • The area you are covering; ideally via room dimensions so we can accurately calculate wastage.

Should you need to repair a fire-rated ceiling and replace some grid/tile components, we will need to identify your existing grid and tile combination in order to provide the same items and not jeopardise the fire-rating of the ceiling. To assist us in doing this, please note the following links to assist identification of tiles and grid.

Identifying a Tile

Identifying Grid