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The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) initiative was introduced for cables in 2017. Since then, there’s been some confusion about what cable to specify and use across different installations and environments, what the legal requirements are, and what documentation should be made available.
The process has been simplified here to help you make the right product selection – first time, every time.
Cables are classifed based on their reaction to fire, which can cover flame spread, heat release, smoke production, and flaming droplets & smoke acidity. This can be seen in the table below
Currently, there are no cables in the market that meet the Aca or B1ca standard. All cables that meet the B2ca or Cca level will have been through a rigorous flammability test. The test also measures the amount of heat released during the test. Furthermore, the factory where the cable is manufactured is independently audited to assess its procedures and processes. This all adds another layer of complexity to the regulation. Cables that pass the ‘higher’ classes continue to go through testing and auditing in order to maintain the classification that it achieved originally.
If a cable has been classifed as Dca, it will have gone through the same rigorous flammability and heat release test. However, auditing of the factory will not have taken place, and therefore it cannot achieve anything higher than a Dca classification - irrespective of the flammability & heat release test result.
Cables classified as Eca will have been subjected to a simple 60-second vertical flame test under BS EN 60332-1-2, with no factory audit.
Cables classified as Fca haven’t passed Eca, and are either cables not designed for use as building wires, or they’re made from combustible materials such as PE that are suitable for outdoor use only.
What to look for when specifying cables
All cables classifed between Eca and Aca have been tested at an Approved Body (AB) test house in the UK, so you can be confident that it’s a fully independent process. Declarations of Performance (DoP) must be available for any product classified.
Each reel of cable should have its own CPR label, which shows the buyer the CPR classification, any relevant subclasses, the DoP number, and the Approved Body that tested the product – plus other useful supporting information.
In the UK it’s the specifier’s or the installer’s responsibility to choose the most appropriate product, and to ensure that it carries the correct labelling, documentation, and testing. Generally speaking, the more difficult the building is going to be to evacuate, the higher the class of product that should be considered for the application.
Wiring Regulations, BS6701 & Class Cca s1b, d2, a2
In the wiring regulations, BS7671 guidance on CPR is to consult BS6701:2016+A1:2017. It’s recommended that cables intended for permanent installation behind walls, above ceilings, or below floors - or where access to them is limited, meet a minimum requirement of Cca s1b, d2, a2. This has led to an increase in the requirement for cables to meet this classification.
Please ask our expert team about the products available.
It’s the responsibility of the individual specifier, installer or building designer to satisfy themselves that they’re specifying or using the most appropriate product for the application.
Wherever possible, use products that are Low Fire Hazard, LSNH, LSHF, LSOH, and OHLS, and that meet the correct CPR classification.
Ensure that your cable is supplied with a CPR label and request your DoP.
Finally, always confrm with your supplier the classification that they’re quoting or supplying before you receive your product.