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New BBA Rig Tests for CE Marking


The BBA has just taken delivery of a new rig which tests the hygrothermal performance of solid wall insulation systems called external thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS) to the European Technical Approval Guideline (ETAG) 004. ETICS are external wall insulation systems (EWIS) comprising insulation coated with render. The new rig is extremely versatile and can meet the requirements of a number of different test specifications.

The ETAG 004 test regime involves subjecting an insulated solid wall to a series of extreme temperature cycles. This tests how the insulation system will react over time to changes in moisture (humidity) and temperature. The tests and assessment methods outlined in ETAG 004 have been written with an intended working life of 25 years in mind.

The test regime subjects the insulation system to repeated cycles of heat and rain, then heat and cold, and finally heat, rain, freeze and thaw. These cycles are completed in strict order for a set amount of time. During these series of cycles the system can be exposed to temperatures as high as 70°C and as low as -15°C mimicking the extreme weather conditions the insulation system could face during its expected working life. Once complete the test wall is assessed for damage such as surface blisters, flaking, delamination, cracks and other visible changes.

Although mainly aimed at ETICS, other materials such as cement particle boards, glass reinforced plastic (GRP) and MgO boards can also be tested.

The new rig is a significant investment by the BBA and it has been made to address the growth of interest in hygrothermal testing of external wall insulation systems due, in part, to the ability to CE mark this type of insulation system. Although CE marking remains voluntary, for products that do not fall within the scope of a harmonized European Standard (hEN), a manufacturer can obtain CE marking through assessment against the appropriate European Technical Assessment (ETA) and a system of assessment and verification of constancy of performance procedure.

The ETAG 004 hygrothermal test is significantly shorter than other similar tests and coupled with the improved efficiency and versatility of the new rig, cycle times are significantly reduced compared to the test rigs previously used by the BBA. This means a quicker throughput of work increasing the capacity to cope with the anticipated higher level of demand. However, companies are advised to contact the BBA as soon as possible to ensure their products can be scheduled for testing in plenty of time.

To contact the BBA e-mail testing@bba.star.co.uk or telephone 01923 665300.

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