In the wake of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) investigation, there is an immediate demand for compliant fire door solutions. Mark Rushton of UAP explains why certification continues to be a valuable asset in the specification of fire door hardware.
Responses in the MHCLG Fire Doors FAQs for Local authorities and housing associations state ‘When purchasing fire doors, building owners should assure themselves that doors are fit for purpose with the appropriate test evidence for the specific type of door.’
‘The Government is working closely with all the third party certification bodies to identify ways to strengthen the current system and provide greater assurance that all fire doorsets on the market meet and exceed performance and quality standards.
‘The Expert Panel advise that while it should not be solely relied upon third party certification by a UKAS accredited body can provide landlords and building owners greater assurance on the performance of the doors.’
As a trusted hardware provider, we have worked with several door manufacturers over the last 12 months to support them through the testing process. It is therefore vital that our products are reliable and perform, meeting the very latest standards and requirements. Our investment in Certifire certification for our TS008 letterplate, The Soterian is one example of this.
Certifire certification was launched in 1997 and since then has gained global recognition. The independent third-party certification scheme is accepted by regulatory authorities as an international mark of fire safety across a range of products, including hardware.
The scheme ‘…assures performance, quality, reliability and traceability of products and systems…[it] provides assurance that fire protection products and systems correctly installed will perform as required. Therefore, avoiding costly mistakes and dramatically reducing risk.’
Independently tested by Warringtonfire Testing & Certification, UAP’s TS008 letterplate is Certifire approved for FD30 and FD60 timber doorsets. It is certified for use with a variety of door assemblies — timber faced and edged door leaves with a solid cellulosic core in timber, metal or composite frames.
As a complete letterplate system, it can be fitted to endure fire attack from either face. Featuring an integral intumescent liner which can expand to 50 times its volume to seal any gaps in the door hardware, the letterplate is compliant to BS EN1634-3:2004 smoke leakage regulations.
The solution was approved on the basis of initial type testing, a design appraisal against TS32, certification of Quality Management System to ISO 9001:2008 and inspection and surveillance of factory production control; and certified in accordance with TS00 General Requirements for Certification of Fire Protection Products. Building occupants benefit from full unrestricted door opening with a minimum internal flap projection of just 35mm.
Fire-rated hardware partner
With 75% of GRP door manufacturers failing the Government fire safety tests and more recently, the MHCLG reporting a total of 25 timber fire door types all passing the two-sided tests under BS-476:223, it’s certainly a confusing time for those wishing to specify fire-rated products and appoint a fire door provider. This is why it’s important social housing providers partner with hardware suppliers that are able to respond to market requirements. UAP for example has an in-house testing and product development centre, which allows the company to improve on existing products as well as develop new ranges, quickly and to the standards required.
Procurement and installation
We understand that hardware has an important role in minimising the risks caused by fire yet its specification and procurement goes well beyond selecting the right product for installation. Practical factors, for example stock availability, technical support, access to spare parts and extra keys, and security, must all be considered. This is particularly relevant to those specifying hardware directly or appointing a door provider for supply and replacement framework agreements, where volume and consistency are required. It applies to hardware for all door types, not just fire doors.
The wider building and construction industry will continue to learn, change and improve after the Grenfell Tower fire, and while certificates such as Certifire give the building owner and resident confidence, knowing they have selected a product that carries the mark of a reputable third-party certification body, it’s imperative that these certified products are then installed correctly.
Mark Rushton is Quality and Certification Director at UAP