Fire Doors – Testing and certifications
Written by Wayne Humphreys, Director, VLine Doorsets Ltd. ©
It is essential that fire doors are tested to ensure fire resistance and performance. Official product testing can only be conducted at UKAS accredited or EGOLF member laboratories.
UKAS accredited laboratories are located in the UK, EGOLF members are located worldwide. Both laboratories test against the same National Standards BS 476 pt 22 and BS EN 1634-1.
The main differences between the two standards are:
– Positive / negative pressure divide: for BS 476 is 1000mm whilst BS EN 1634-1 is 500mm from the top of the floor of the rig
– Internal temperature measuring: for BS 476 copper wires are used, for BS EN 1634-1 thermo plates are used which require higher temperature to start reading furnace temperature variations.
Fire testing is a destructive test. Samples are provided and installed into a rig as they would be in their natural intended environment. This rig is then located onto the front of the furnace, ready to be tested. The furnace is computer controlled to ensure the fire test is performed correctly. Firstly, a cotton pad (roughly 80x80mm) is placed into a holder that is then held against the glowing area for 10 seconds. If there is no reaction or only light charring occurs; then the pad is discarded. The area maybe be tested again later during the test. However, if the pad glows or ignites, then it is noted as the first point of failure. If steel gap gauges of various widths pass through to the furnace side; then this also notes a point of failure.
Measurements are taken throughout the test, such as internal furnace temperature, external face product temperature, radiant heat and deflection (distortion to and from the furnace). The data will be recorded in the fire test report along with the ‘time of failure’ together with any observations, areas of concern or additional test methods (such as steel gap gauges) that were used during the test.
Once the test is completed a ‘Test Report’ is issued as proof of the doorsets performance for sets identical to that tested. Often test reports are compiled into ‘Scopes, ‘Global Assessments’, ‘DIAP’s’, EXAP’s’ or ‘Field of Application’ reports. These documents utilise existing test reports to draw in variations in design to allow the manufacture of increasingly bespoke doorsets.
According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government; there is no requirement for the dual orientation testing of timber or steel based doorsets, however, most doorsets have been tested opening in both directions.
Third Party certification is where a certification body overseas the procedures and production of a company’s fire resistant doorsets along with regular product testing to prove compliance to the certification(s) offered.
So, for your next project, please ask your supplier for the following as part of your due diligence – these should be offered openly against your enquiry:
- Primary test evidence (test reports owned by the manufacturer of the doorset)
- Assessment documentation held in the name of the doorset manufacturer
- Third Party Certificate with a scope listing either primary test reports or assessment documentation as noted and detailed above
We fully support the Fire Door Safety Week initiative by The British Woodworking Federation Group and believe that change is indeed needed. To show our commitment, we offer a 5% discount on any enquiries received in September 2021 on our Stock Range FD30 doorsets (excl. shipping, T&C applies)
Learn more about Fire Door Safety Week here: https://www.firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk/
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