Significant strides were made throughout 2021 with regard to the testing and certification of fire critical building products, with the introduction of the Building Safety Bill and National Construction Products Regulator creating a new generation of accountability. Here, Ben Penson, Manufacturing and Technical Director at ERA, discusses how door manufacturers can achieve a proactive approach to compliance throughout 2022, by choosing independently tested and certified hardware.
Phase 1 of the Grenfell Inquiry highlighted the inadequacies of the government’s previous regulatory regimes, with particular focus on the insufficient consistency of manufacture, installation and maintenance and demonstration of compliance fire doors.
Allowing the flow of traffic around a building, fire doors have two main functions. Firstly, they must provide a barrier to stop the spread of fire and smoke when closed, whilst secondly offering a safe means of escape when open.
Because these components play such a crucial role in ensuring the safety of a building and its occupants, it is vital that in the event of a fire, the door will perform with the required integrity.
In response to the findings of the Grenfell Inquiry, the recent release of the draft legislation outlined within the Construction Products Regulations 2022, places requirements on the general safety principles that all construction products being placed on the UK market must meet. This marks the government’s latest efforts to reform the testing and certification of building components, to overcome the concerning ambiguities regarding what compliance looks like and how it should be achieved.
Some construction products are still being placed on the market with critical performance criteria being evidenced primarily by assessment. Whilst assessments may be based on test data, this method does not take into account the consistency of manufacture and product configuration control.
However, other manufacturers are undertaking comprehensive testing and certification processes by a registered third party, which are regularly updated and re-submitted. This has created significant inconsistencies throughout the industry with regard to the level of testing each product undergoes and how often.
Whilst the introduction of the government’s new measures aim to overcome these discrepancies. Door manufacturers should utilise this opportunity to not only adhere to current standards and regulations but adopt a proactive approach to testing and certification that ensures compliance with future legislative updates. This not only demonstrates best practice but supports customers in successfully ensuring the installation is both fit for purpose and fit for the future.
To achieve this, door manufacturers can choose hardware that has already undergone independent testing and where applicable, third party certification. To give confidence that the critical components they specify are subject to third party surveillance and will therefore perform consistently not just during initial approval testing for the door set, but throughout the service life of doors in service.
By choosing certified hardware and decorative furniture from the same supplier, door manufacturers can not only give customers the confidence the door will provide a suitable barrier in the event of a fire, but also offer the greatest breadth of choice in the design and personalisation of the entire doorset. This aids manufacturers in continuing to respond to the latest industry trends from a design perspective, whilst still fulfilling their obligation to ensure the highest standards of fire safety and security.
ERA offers a portfolio of fire 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.
The Construction Products Regulations 2022, Building Safety Bill and National Construction Product Regulator are continuing to set a new standard for testing and regulation throughout the UK. During this time of increased scrutiny, door manufacturers can operate with confidence by working in partnership with hardware providers that continuously invest in independent testing to help achieve complete compliance.