Testing & Certification of Roofing Systems in the UAE

A roofing system is a structure that consists of different types of materials or components such as Tiles, Metal Composite Panels, Insulation, substrates, and supporting structures, to mention but a few.


The CEN/TS 1187:2012 Standard defines a roof as a “covering and sealing system including any insulating layers or vapour barriers normally provided together with their supporting elements including attachment (glued, mechanically fastened, etc.), and roof lights or other closures for roof apertures that are intended to provide a weatherproof surface.”


Terminology definition according to the 2015 International Building Code (IBC)


I. Roof deck


“The flat or sloped surface constructed on top of the exterior walls of a building or other support for the purpose of enclosing the story below, or sheltering an area, to protect it from the elements, not including its supporting members or vertical supports”.


II. Roof covering


“The covering applied to the roof deck for weather resistance, fire classification or appearance”.


III. Roof assembly


A “system consists of a roof covering and roof deck or a single component serving as both the roof covering and the roof deck. A roof assembly includes the roof deck, vapour retarder, substrate or thermal barrier, insulation, vapour retarder, and roof covering”.


UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice – Roofing Systems


The UAE Fire and Life Safety Code (FLSC) of Practice stipulate the Civil Defence’s minimum requirements for the certification, listing, and approval of Roofing Systems to achieve suitable levels of fire safety in buildings.


The UAE FLSC does not address the weather protection of buildings. The FLSC, however, addresses the flame spread on the roof. It is required that the weather protection properties of a building comply with the Municipality regulations.


Requirements for the Roofing Systems


The specifications for the roofing systems are formulated based on the following:


I. Occupancy of the building

II. Sprinkler protection in the building

III. Proximity to other buildings

IV. Construction type and building materials used


The UAE FLSC requires that roofing systems be tested and certified as “system assemblies” rather than as individual “components of a system”. All buildings are expected to have tested or listed roofing systems. Exceptions to this provision are private villas, commercial villas and agricultural buildings.


Testing Requirements


The Fire safety code outlines the test standards for roof assemblies depending on the fire exposure.


a) Exterior fire exposure to roof systems and coverings


These tests measure the performance of roofs and/or roof coverings when exposed to fire sources originating from outside the building. The external surface of the system is subjected to the fire source.


Test standards:

I. ASTM E108

II. CEN/TS 1187 (T4)

III. UL 790

IV. NFPA 276

V. FM 4470

VI. FM 4471



As previously mentioned, the applicable test standard and the required performance criteria of the roof system are dependent on the occupancy of the building, sprinkler protection in the building, proximity to other buildings and the Construction type and building materials used.


Roof covering products (and/or materials) acceptable without testing or certification


The Commission of the European Communities established in the Commission Decisions 2000/553/EC that some construction products used for roof coverings exposed to an external fire source can be deemed to satisfy the requirements for external fire performance without the need for testing, subject to compliance with any national provisions on the design and execution of works.


In the UAE FLSCP, the following materials are acceptable without testing and certification:


I. Brick, masonry, or concrete exposed roof deck

II. Tiles/ Slates made up of concrete or clay

III. Copper or ferrous sheets/shingles


b) Interior/under-deck fire exposure to roof systems


These fire tests evaluate the performance of roof deck constructions subjected to internal fire sources. The tests aim to determine the contribution of the roof system materials, such as the insulation, to the fire spread within the building.


Test standards:

I. FM 4450

II. UL 1256

III. FM 4471 

IV. FM 4470