In the USA, where cellulose insulation is very big and enjoys a large share of the market, much has been said and observed about the behaviour of cellulose insulation in the unfortunate case of fire in the building.
Studies have shown that cellulose may actually protect a building from damage by fire better than certain glass fibre and polyester insulation alternatives – it is denser and limits the oxygen necessary to burn structural members. It also acts as a massive heat sink.
However, the issue within the industry will continue between the opposing insulation manufacturers. What does matter locally however is what the SA Bureau of Standards is prepared to endorse. Treated with an environmentally-friendly, naturally-occurring fire-retardant, Eco-Insulation is fire-tested under SANS 428 (SA Bureau of Standards) and officially rated as B/B1/2, meaning no spread of flame. See the TIPSASA fire register.
In addition, the issue of electrical downlights in the ceiling and finding a suitable barrier and installation method remains an ongoing challenge to contractors.
Worse still is the fact that many installers of downlights themselves do not adhere to the rules about installing downlights in the vicinity of roof structure elements e.g. purlins. Fires have even occurred even in the absence of insulation, where just the wooden structural members begin to char owing to the excessive heat created mainly by halogen downlight globes and even within 240-12 v transformers.
The topic has come more to the fore recently with the involvement of the TIPSASA organization, who have established a technical working committee to evolve governing standards for their members. Eco-Insulation has devised some special solutions to control the downlighter fire hazard.