As the government continues to reform legal requirements regarding the testing and certification of fire integrity products, Ben Penson, Manufacturing and Technical Director at ERA, discusses how fire door manufacturers can stay ahead of the legislative curve by partnering with forward-thinking hardware suppliers.
What are the latest legislative updates that fire door manufacturers should be aware of?
Last year, the government made significant advances in reforming the testing and certification of fire critical building products, particularly the manufacture, installation and maintenance of fire doors.
This included the introduction of the Building Safety Bill, with draft regulation outlined within the Construction Products Regulations 2022 summarising the general safety requirements that all construction products being placed on the UK market must meet.
Part 3 outlines the obligations that manufacturers of safety-critical products must fulfil, with tougher penalties applying to those who do not meet their obligations. Special focus has been placed on the communication of false or misleading claims regarding the performance of a product.
Throughout 2021, we also saw the formation of the National Construction Products Regulator, which will oversee the new construction products regulatory system. This will strengthen legislative requirements regarding the marketing and supply of construction products on the UK market.
What testing and certification commitments should manufacturers be making?
As with all passive fire protection systems, fire doors play an essential role in mitigating the spread of smoke and fire throughout a building, whilst also offering a safe means of escape. It is therefore crucial that in the event of a fire, the door successfully performs to its stated standard.
Historically, some manufacturers have placed fire doors on the market after their critical performance criteria has been evidenced primarily by an assessment. Whilst assessments may be based on test data, this method does not take into account the consistency of manufacture and product configuration control.
In order to achieve compliance with both current and upcoming legislative requirements, manufacturers should complete comprehensive testing and certification with an independent third party. This includes the entire doorset being regularly submitted for testing as a single unit in a fixed wall installation that represents its use in practice, via test procedures compliant with the requirements as specified in BS 476-22:1987 or BS EN 1634-1:2014. This not only demonstrates best practice, but ensures the installation will deliver the highest standards of performance for the entire lifecycle of the building.
What areas should fire door manufacturers consider when choosing a hardware supplier?
As hardware is an essential component of a fire door, it is vital that every piece of ironmongery is guaranteed to be reliable and compatible with each fire door assembly. Door manufacturers can achieve this by partnering with hardware suppliers which offer a comprehensive suite of products that has already undergone third party testing, and where applicable, independent certification.
To provide an effective barrier to a fully developed fire, a door must remain closed within the frame. The locks installed within the structure of a timber door must not leave voids or contain additional materials that may cause heat transfer problems or potentially flame. The lock should be CE marked to BS EN 12209:2016 or preferably, be supplied with additional product certification by an approved third party.
By choosing certified hardware and decorative furniture from a single supplier, door manufacturers can be confident of the performance and compliance of the entire doorset. This also allows them to respond to the latest industry design trends, by offering the widest selection of styles and finishes that have already been subjected to third party testing.
To support fire door manufacturers in achieving this, ERA supplies a complete suite of door hardware and decorative furniture that has been independently tested to the latest standards and is proven to provide an effective barrier to fire for up to 60 minutes for most timber entrance doors.
The range includes ERA’s Fortress 3* cylinder, Fortress and Viscount single point locks and the SureFire multi-point lock (which can be supplied with an intumescent kit), door viewers and numerals, which have all been independently tested to FD30 BS 476, FD30 EN 1634 and FD60 BS 476.