The company's employees have been involved in more than 1800 real fire tests and numerous hot smoke tests to date. Of these, more than 200 real fire tests have been carried out in tunnels. IFAB organizes and realizes fire tests and smoke tests worldwide: Germany, Great Britain, Spain, France, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, China, India, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Israel and the USA.


The protection goal-oriented evidence for compensatory measures as the approval of the efficiency of

Extinguishing and fire-fighting systems (water mist, aerosol, inert gases)

Smoke and heat extraction systems


is carried out experimentally by means of fire tests and/or smoke tests and/or computationally by means of CFD simulations, which can be checked for plausibility and validated with the aid of the experimentally obtained test results.

The conception, planning, execution and evaluation of fire tests and smoke tests as well as CFD simulations are mainly carried out:

for buildings and special structures (industrial buildings, places of assembly, places of accommodation, industrial plants, warehouses, machinery and plant rooms)

for rolling stock (passenger area and engine rooms and technical cabinets) and

for tunnels and metro stations.

The real fire tests carried out in tunnels so far included various scenarios of flammable liquids and solid fires of different sizes up to 150 MW.

Our fire tests have been carried out within international research projects, such as SUVEREN, UPTUN, SOLIT and SOLIT² or are part of customer projects, such as Eurotunnel, Dartford Tunnel and Tunnel Mont Blanc.

The references for the applied engineering methods can be found here (pdf).


IFAB is an accredited testing laboratory according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025:2018-03 for the performance of fire tests as proof of effectiveness of water-based fire fighting systems. This includes the recording of the measured variables temperature, system pressure of the fire fighting systems or extinguishing systems and gas concentrations (oxygen as well as fire gases carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide). The real fire tests and the measurements are carried out according to valid standards and guidelines of IMO, FM, CEN, DIN, VdS for buildings and industrial buildings as well as according to the ARGE guideline or UNI 11565 for rail vehicles.

Other measured variables (visibility, flow velocities of air and media, gas concentrations, humidity, etc.) required by the standards and norms are recorded by means of the mobile IFAB measuring equipment. Heat release rates are determined in real time using recognized calculation methods.

The following standards and guidelines have been applied for standardized fire tests so far:

Policy no.

Name of the


DIN CEN/TS 14972:


Fixed firefighting systems - Fine spray extinguishing systems - Planning and installation

Attachment A.1*

Test method flammable liquids

Attachment A.2*

Test method Fire test for cable ducts

Attachment F*

Fire test procedure for certain areas of use of the medium fire hazard class OH3

EN 14972-1-2019

Fine spray extinguishing systems - Part 1: Design, installation, inspection and maintenance

DIN EN 14972-3

Fixed firefighting systems - Water mist systems - Part 3: Test report for offices, schools and hotels for automatic nozzle systems

DIN EN 14972-8

Fixed firefighting systems - Fine spray extinguishing systems - Part 8: Test report for machines in enclosures larger than 260 m³ for open nozzle systems

DIN EN 14972-9

Fixed firefighting systems - Fine spray extinguishing systems - Part 8: Test report for machines in enclosures larger than 260 m³ for open nozzle systems

DIN EN 14972-10

Fixed firefighting systems - Fine spray extinguishing systems - Part 10: Fire test report for atrium protection with side wall nozzles for open nozzle systems

DIN EN 14972-14

Fixed firefighting systems - Water mist systems - Part 14: Fire test report for combustion turbines in enclosures larger than 260 m³ for open nozzle systems

DIN EN 14972-15

Fixed firefighting systems - Water mist systems - Part 15: Fire test report for combustion turbines in enclosures up to 260 m³ for open nozzle systems

DIN EN 14972-16

Fixed firefighting systems - Fine mist extinguishing systems - Part 16: Fire test report for industrial large-scale open nozzle fine mist extinguishing systems

IMO Resolution MSC 265 (84):2008-05*

Addendum to the revised guidelines for the approval of sprinkler systems in accordance with those referenced in the SOLAS regulations (Resolution A.800(19)).

FM 5560:2021*

Approval standard for water mist system / fire tests

Anhänge: A – N*

Fire tests

VdS OH1 office: 2010

Test setup and requirements - OH1 (office)

VdS OH1 Hotel: 2012

Test setup and requirements - OH1 (Hotel)

VdS OH1 Intermediate floor: 2012

Test setup and requirements - OH1 (intermediate floor and ceilings)

VdS OH3 Bearing: 2011

Test setup and requirements - OH3 (ST1 and ST5/5, sales, storage and technical areas)

VdS Cable ducts: 2012

Test setup and requirements - cable ducts

VdS Sidewall nozzle: 2013

Protection of LH and OH areas with sidewall nozzles

VdS Chipboard press: 2000

Object protection with fine spray nozzles for particleboard presses

VdS Machine protection: 2007

Fire tests for machine protection

VdS OH2 Underground garages: 2014

Test setup and requirements - OH2 (underground garages)

Tunnel systems - guide recommended by fire protection experts

SOLIT² Leitfaden für Ingenieure, 2012*

Guideline for the holistic evaluation of tunnels with fire-fighting systems and their planning

Main document with annex 7*

Fire tests and scenarios for the evaluation of fire fighting systems

Rolling stock - guide recommended by fire safety experts

ARGE Guideline BBA - Part 2:2018*

Fire fighting in railway vehicles: functional verification of the effectiveness of fire fighting systems in rooms accessible to persons, electrical control cabinets and areas of combustion engines

UNI 11565:2021-09*

Schienenfahrzeuge - Entwurf, Installation, Validierung und Instandhaltung von Brandmelde- und Löschanlagen in Schienenfahrzeugen - Allgemeine Grundsätze

Appendix B*

Prüfung des Brandschutzes/Löschsystems

Fire resistance tests of high-voltage energy storage systems

UNECE Reg. No. 100:2016-01

Einheitliche Bedingungen für die Genehmigung von Fahrzeugen hinsichtlich der besonderen Anforderungen an den elektrischen Antriebsstrang (E/ECE/324/ Add.99 - E/ECE/TRANS/505/Add.99)

Annex 8E


*Component of the scope of accreditation

IFAB performs smoke tests and fog tests for the different applications mentioned above, such as industrial buildings, tunnels, metro stations or rail vehicles. For this purpose IFAB has the necessary equipment with heat sources, fog generators and smoke generators. This is used to provide evidence for the effectiveness of smoke extraction systems, to investigate the dispersion of smoke gases or to validate the positioning of smoke detectors in rail vehicles. The following standards and guidelines have been applied for smoke tests to date:

Name of the standard/directive
Test item
ARGE Guideline - Part 1: 2018
Firefighting in railway vehicles: functional verification of the positioning of fire detectors in rooms accessible to persons, electrical control cabinets and areas with combustion engines

Fire alarm system (BMA)

Fire alarm systems
DIN EN 54 – Teil 12
Linear detectors based on the transmitted light principle
DIN EN 54 – Teil 20
Aspirating smoke detector
DIN EN 54 – Teil 22
Linear heat detectors
VDI Guideline 6019 Sheet 1

Engineering methods for the design of smoke ventilation from buildings - Fire courses, verification of effectiveness

Smoke extraction

Hot smoke tests in rail vehicles in accordance with ARGE Guideline Part 1 represent a special feature. They serve to prove the correct positioning of smoke detectors. The aim is to test the detection time of the designed system. Furthermore, other objectives can be used, such as localization of the fire for zone activation of a fire fighting system. Hot smoke tests are the practical and realistic implementation of the verification of smoke detection systems in rail vehicles.

The tests are carried out in a non-destructive manner and are not dangerous for persons or the vehicle. IFAB's test equipment complies with the specifications of the ARGE guideline. The reaction time of the fire detection system is determined and evaluated on the basis of recognized criteria.

During the tests it is important to include any operating conditions. These can be, for example: air conditioning settings and opening of doors. Such conditions may affect smoke movement. Other detection methods, e.g. based on temperature or flame criteria, can be validated either experimentally or via computer simulations. However, these methods are not commonly used in personal areas. IFAB can, however, demonstrate the effectiveness of such systems when required (e.g. in machinery spaces).

IFAB offers comprehensive support from a single source. Our employees handle the entire process - from test conception - through coordination and organization with the test laboratories to the provision of customized measurement technology solutions and including data acquisition and data evaluation. Together with the customers and, if necessary, authorities and approval bodies, the required documentation and reports for fire tests and smoke tests are prepared.

In addition to accredited test methods for large-scale fire tests, IFAB, as an independent test laboratory, also develops application-specific test methods that are not standardized. Applications can be e.g.:

Atriums and glass facades

Theater tiers and large ceiling heights

Industrial plants with assembly lines


Coating plants


Kompakte Archive

Bearing with plastics

Deep fryers

High-voltage energy storage

Experimental investigations of design fire scenarios by real fire tests High-voltage energy storage systems

For the above-mentioned applications, IFAB develops test concepts using the methods from DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025, which serve to demonstrate the effectiveness of the following systems:

Fire alarm systems

Fire-fighting systems or extinguishing systems

Smoke and heat exhaust systems

Special attention is paid to the development and dimensioning of the design fires and design fire scenarios. These must be designed in such a way that, on the one hand, they represent the application case and, on the other hand, they can be reproduced with sufficient accuracy. These requirements are ensured by the use of suitable surrogate fire loads whose combustion characteristics are precisely known.

Such test series are developed in close consultation with the approval bodies (VdS Schadenverhütung GmbH, TÜV Nord, TÜV Süd or TÜV Rheinland, DEKRA, etc.) so that passing the evaluation criteria defined in the test concept leads to approval for the tested application.


Our mobile measuring equipment represents a unique selling proposition and creates a high degree of flexibility in carrying out fire tests at a wide variety of locations and with a wide variety of objectives. IFAB is in possession of a self-developed and expandable mobile measurement technology, with the help of which several hundred measured variables can be recorded simultaneously:

Gas temperatures

Surface temperatures

Hest flux, thermal radiation

Oxygen and various fire gases (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, HF, HCl, etc.)

System pressure of fire-fighting systems or extinguishing systems

Mass loss rate

Flow velocities of air and water

Flowrate of gases and liquids

VIS and IR video technology


Voltage and current as well as

Determination of the heat release rate with real-time evaluation

IFAB has internal procedural and work instructions that ensure the plausibility of the measurement results. These include regular calibration of measurement equipment, verification of measurement results and validation of standardized and non-standardized test procedures.

IFAB also owns mobile equipment specifically for carrying out hot as well as cold smoke tests to test and verify the correct functioning of smoke management or fire alarm systems (smoke extraction and detection).


Due to increasingly powerful computing capacities, computer-aided flow simulations CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) have become an increasingly accepted procedure of engineering methods in fire protection (RiMEA guideline, vfdb guideline).

Since the physical processes of fluid mechanics and combustion are still too complex to be fully calculated, modeling must be used in many areas. These modelings describe the effect of physical phenomena e.g. pyrolysis, turbulence or heat conduction without actually calculating them on a small scale. For this reason, the use of all simulation methods still requires that the models used be examined for plausibility and their results validated. This is especially true when measures of plant fire protection and their interaction with fire phenomena are to be simulated. These data can only be obtained from practical tests. IFAB has a broad data base from countless fire tests and uses this for the validation of CFD simulations. In addition, IFAB's extensive experience with fire tests enables it to generate required validation data for specific applications itself. This distinguishes IFAB from other users and users of CFD simulations.

Typical applications of CFD simulations include:

- Proof of the efficiency of smoke and heat exhaust systems

- Analysis and optimization of smoke and heat exhaust systems

- Determination of available evacuation time (ASET)

- Determination of detection times of a smoke detection system

- Verification of component load-bearing capacity under the influence of heat

- Determination of the heat input into building components

- Effect of a fire on surrounding persons or objects

- Determination of detection times of heat detectors

- Proof of the efficiency of a fire fighting concept

- Optimization of the arrangement

- Determination of the required evacuation time (RSET)

- Analysis and optimization of escape routes

- Verification of escape route efficiency

- Effects of smoke, pollutant and heat exposure on persons

- Determination of the heat release rates (HRR) of rail vehicles