When it comes to preventing the spread of fire within buildings, compartmentation plays an essential role. As part of this function, fire doors and screens are critical, particularly in protecting escape routes and aiding swift evacuation when necessary. But to ensure the best performance of these essential features, without detracting from the building’s design, correct specification is crucial.
Here, Steve Goodburn, Business Development Director at Pyroguard, shares some of his experience into specifying the correct fire doors for the chosen application, helping to protect essential escape routes and keep building occupants safe.
Location, location, location
For adequate performance, the specification process should begin by identifying the correct classification required for the particular application and location. For example, installation on a tenth floor of a building will likely differ from those on a ground floor in order to protect essential escape routes for a prescribed period of time. In practice this requires solutions in lower storeys to withstand flames, heat and smoke for longer, allowing occupants to evacuate the building safely. Alongside the Building Regulations, which specify the requirements of fire safety solutions, third party accreditation schemes, such as Certifire, help users understand how the various elements of fire doors work together to achieve their fire rating. This ensures that areas remain protected from flames for at least the necessary time to allow for adequate means of escape.
If you think of a fire door, it is made up of multiple components. With its ability to hold back and control the spread of fire by burning at a predictable rate, timber is of course a go-to material. However, to achieve a fire rating, fire doors must be tested as a full installation. As a fundamental component of fire doors, fire-rated glazing must be part of this testing and certification process, as well as other components such as beading and intumescent seals which allow fire-resistant glass to sit within apertures without detracting from the installation’s ability to resist flames, smoke and heat. Through Pyroguard’s extensive Technical and New Product Development test programme, we put a great deal of focus into extending the scope of existing test evidence and achieving greater levels of performance for each of our products. This approach means we are able to cater to market demands for fire-rated glazing which meets or exceeds required standards, while being flexible enough to aid modern design.
Take our Pyroguard Rapide FD60, which was subject to rigorous testing earlier this year as part of a timber fire door system. Exceeding requirements of the test by 20 minutes, the complete system significantly extended the existing test evidence, achieving integrity and radiation performance of 80 minutes. Coupled with Pyroguard’s existing Certifire test evidence, the results of the test mean that any BWF Certifire door core can now be used as part of this system, allowing glazed apertures within the door up to a maximum of 414mm wide by 1952mm high at 0.68m2. The successful testing phase also means that the system meets the requirements in accordance with Approved Document M of the Building Regulations and the Disability Discrimination Act.
Always ready for action
Once fire doors have been tested, manufactured and installed by trained professionals in order to meet the required standards, keeping each door in good condition is crucial in maintaining fire safety throughout a building. This includes periodic checks being carried out by trained individuals with the expertise to adequately inspect each element of the installation at least twice each year – or more in high-footfall buildings. Without these checks, general wear and damage could hinder the installation’s ability to protect areas – and occupants – from fire.
If for any reason components need to be replaced, like-for-like parts must be used, a list of which can be found on the installation instructions or fire certificate data sheet. Due to the thorough testing and certification processes each complete doorset will have undergone, installing incompatible parts will not only mean that the certification of doors will be invalidated, but could put lives at risk in the event of a fire.
To discover more about specifying the correct fire-rated system for your application, visit www.pyroguard.eu.