A one‐dimensional thermal flame spread model was applied to predict the rate of heat release in the single burning item (SBI) test on the basis of the cone calorimeter data. The input parameters were selected according to the features of the SBI test and using particle board as a model tuning material. The features of the measured and calculated rate of heat release curves were compared for a series of 33 building products. The fire growth rate (FIGRA) indices were calculated to predict the classification in the forthcoming Euroclass system. The model gave correct classification for 90% of the products studied. An essential feature of the model is that only one cone calorimeter test at the exposure level of 50 kW m−2 is needed. The model, therefore, provides a practical tool for product development and quality control.