SIRIM is a pioneer organisation that has been recognised by the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia and other regional authorities, such as the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

According to Azmi Musa, the Head of SIRIM’s Fire Protection Testing Section, there are not many fire protection testing services available in Malaysia. SIRIM’s fire protection testing laboratory is the first in the country that has garnered the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation from the Department of Standards Malaysia. But that is not all. “We are unique. There is no other laboratory in the country like ours,” he said.

Among others, SIRIM is the first in South East Asia to offer a fire performance testing service for external cladding systems. It is also the only one in the region with a tilting furnace that allows it to test both horizontal (e.g. floors and ceilings) and vertical (e.g. walls) samples, and the knowledge and facilities to conduct ducting tests.

“Furthermore, our laboratory was set up in the 1990s. After more than two decades, our testing facilities, along with our competent and knowledgeable team, have gained the trust and confidence of industry players,” he added.

The Fire Protection Testing section primarily conducts fire testing for diverse products against national and international standards. There is a myriad of fire tests that can be categorised into active and passive fire testing. The first refers to testing on fire-fighting equipment like fire extinguishers, fire hose reels and reel hoses.

Passive fire testing, on the other hand, consists of fire resistant tests and reaction to fire tests. “The former includes testing fire doors, lift landing doors, roller shutters, ducting systems and walls, for example. The latter covers materials fire characteristics testing such as material combustibility, surface spread of flames and fire propagation,” explained Azmi.

SIRIM is also working with the Fire Research Centre (PUSPEK) at the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia to develop the necessary facilities to test sprinklers. Besides that, in 2020, it introduced a new service called the Assessment Test Report that caters to design variations of products against tested samples.

“Let’s say we have a test report for a door. But the design was later tweaked slightly. Instead of having to retest the entire product, we can do some calculations and produce the Assessment Test Report that will allow for this design variation. Previously, the assessment would have to be carried out by another party, usually in Europe, but now we can do it all here,” shared Azmi.

His clientele base consists mainly of product manufacturers, system designers, engineers, architects and researchers. “In Malaysia, architects have to submit the fire safety features of a building to the Fire and Rescue Department to get the building permit. Researchers, on the other hand, will generally come to us for the reaction to fire tests, for example, when they develop a new material,” he said. Other clients include building owners and developers, as well as certification bodies.


Upholding Safety

A main issue faced by the country is a lack of awareness, knowledge and commitment on fire safety among the public, which affects the effectiveness of the implementation of fire protection systems in buildings. For example, a fire door has to be shut at all times to provide a protective barrier should a fire break out. Nevertheless, it is sometimes kept ajar.

Similarly, many places with sprinkler systems are used as storage areas, where boxes are stacked right up to the ceiling to optimise space. The issue with this is that the sprinklers get covered and will not be able to function effectively should the need arise. Likewise, access to fire extinguishers may get blocked.

One way he addresses this issue is by giving talks to the relevant parties. Manufacturers, for instance, need to understand why they should not simply change out the materials used once a product has already been tested and approved, as a small discrepancy could make a big difference when it comes to saving lives.

“There are gaps between standards/regulations and the actual condition of the fire protection systems. We need to make people understand how important this is, as there are lives at stake!” he declared.

Note: This article was published in SIRIMlink 3/2020, you may find more interesting topics HERE


There are only three fire protection testing laboratories in Malaysia, including SIRIM. The other two are at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) and Fire Research Centre (PUSPEK), Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia.


The Fire Protection Testing section aims to:

  • assist the government/authorities in implementing rules and regulations
  • support the research and development activities of various industries
  • assist exporters in meeting the importing countries’ regulatory requirements
  • ensure that only products of acceptable quality are imported or locally produced >> protect the interest of consumers
  • safeguard product quality, safety and technical standards to meet health, safety and environment requirements
  • enhance the image of the nation and industry

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