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Factory Mutual (FM) certification: what it is and why it is important

Sandwich Panel, Certifications

FM, voluntary certification for building safety

1 Dec, 2021

We hear about certifications but sometimes, while knowing the name, we are not able to fully understand the meaning and the importance of each one. Also because, in the world of construction, the number of available certifications has grown and they cover a variety of fields of interest.

Some stand out, however, for their particularly strict criteria and for pursuing increasingly important themes in construction safety and preventionFM, Factory Mutual, is one of them: an international certification focusing on safety.

FM Approvals is part of Factory Mutual Global, one of the largest insurance companies in the United States, dedicated exclusively to commercial and industrial properties around the world.

Of this group, the FM Approvals section focuses on research and testing, also aimed at satisfying high prevention and safety standards in the field of products.

Certification is obtained through a process of several stages, which finishes with the assignment of a marking, FM Approved, appreciated across the globe and also requested in Europe and Italy.

The meaning of the FM Approved marking

FM approved markings are one of the highest quality markings and they guarantee the technical integrity, the performance of a product and, therefore, lower risks of loss of value and performance of the building. This marking is issued by one of the largest insurance companies in the world: FM Global. 

FM Approvals is the quality marking issued only to products that satisfy strict requirements.

Once strict tests are passed, the certified products are considered safe for architects, builders, insurance institutes, which naturally also include FM Global. For this reason, materials certified by FM Approvals are chosen by experts in the sector and used by major companies. 

The FM marking is the outcome of voluntary certification, globally recognised, that adds an additional level of assurance to product performance.

It is therefore as useful assessment tool for architects, builders and owners, in their choice of materials and products intended specifically for protecting buildings against atmospheric agents and dangers, such as fires.

Fire behaviour and the FM marking

In terms of fire safety, assessing product certifications in the design stage can considerably reduce the risk of opting for lower quality products. 

FM Approvals performs research and test activities in four technical areas:

  1. Construction materials 
  2. Electrical systems 
  3. Fire protection 
  4. Flooding.

The Factory Mutual marking excels especially in the fire fighting field. So much so that in some cases the fire fighting products approved by FM are offered by insurance companies against property and the insurance against fires.

The benefits of FM approved products 

 

Building therefore a building with FM Approved products is advantageous for the builder, the owner, the insurance company. In fact, these products are tested for the safety of constructions, for fire behaviour and for wind loads...

For example, one of the requirements to stipulate an insurance policy with FM Global is that the materials and installation systems used for a building being insured are FM Approved.

Being one of the main real estate insurance companies in the world, FM Global wants to be certain that everything it insures is the topmost quality to reduce the risk of loss.

This offers a dual advantage: it not only increases the intrinsic quality of the building, but it also reducesthe risk of damage and could also reduce the insurance premium for the owners. It is not surprising therefore that the Factory Mutual marking is becoming a point of reference on a global scale.

When a product passes the FM Approvals tests, it can benefit from being referred to as FM Approved, which is proven by the diamond shaped "FM" quality marking stamped on the product or on the package label.

The quality is also monitored later at the testing stage, through an auditing system, which is based on the assessment of the manufacturer quality system and on periodic audits on system components, to ensure the maximum reliability of the products and components over time.

FM marking and construction safety

The quality level of the FM certificate is one of the highest that can be obtained and, for manufacturers of elements intended for building construction, making the best products is a priority, also in relation to safety.

Also in Europe, projects are spreading, often large scale, that choose to adopt FM Approved product quality. This certification stands alongside those existing and in force in the country of construction, making the approach to safe, efficient, long-lasting construction even more solid and structured.

Sandwich panels with FM Approval

Fm Approval, of the various construction materials, also deals with building envelopes. This certification, recognised by the main worldwide regulatory authorities, can be applied to an entire product or system, or to a single performance-related characteristic.

As for sandwich panels, with the Factory Mutual certification system, all of the specifications on its use are taken into consideration: fire behaviour, behaviour in the presence of natural calamities, such as wind, hail, UV rays for example and all intended uses: wall, ceiling, roof.

 

Written by

Rocco Traini - Technical Office Coordination
Rocco Traini - Technical Office Coordination

Engineer, and coordinator of the technical office, Mr Rocco Traini, supports the sales department to help customers find the best technological solution. With more than 10 years of activity in the Isopan world, he is today an expert in sandwich panels and their applications.

Visit the author's page

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