The use of polymeric building materials has been grown in many countries of Middle East in recent years. However, there are only a few fire testing laboratories in this region. Therefore, development of a method for controlling the reaction to fire of materials with bench scale tests is necessary. Providing a framework for classification of thermal fire hazard of materials based on bench scale heat release rate results was attempted. The fire behavior of 10 polymeric building materials was tested with cone calorimeter. The relationship between reaction to fire variables and physical properties of tested samples was examined. The thermal fire hazards of materials were assessed using methods presented by different researchers and with Conetools software. The results revealed that time to ignition, peak rate of heat release, and total heat release are essential variables for determining the fire hazard of materials. A classification method is proposed, which can be used in building codes in countries where the full-scale test facilities are not available. The method also can be used for quality control purpose and evaluation of fire behavior of materials in bench scale by manufacturers. An example of potential requirements for interior finishes for some occupancy types is also presented. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.