Understanding Fire Protection Standards and Certifications - FSi Limited

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Understanding Fire Protection Standards and Certifications - FSi Limited

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20 mins required (approx)

Welcome to our CPD understanding Fire Protection, standards and certification.

 

Contents

This CPD will cover:

  • A brief introduction about FSI,
  • Understanding passive Fire Protection,
  • Compartmentation,
  • Understanding fire stopping,
  • Resistance and reaction to fire,
  • BS and EN standards,
  • CE marking,
  • Certified installers,
  • Fire testing
  • 3rd party certification.

 

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Introduction

FSI are market leaders in passive Fire Protection. Our goals are to develop manufacture and protect through the manufacture and testing of passive fire and compartmentation systems.

 

Product development and system innovation all start at our excellent internal research and testing facilities. We carry out external testing and certification in accordance with the most recent and progressive global test standards, including EN, UL, CE, ASTM, AS, ISO and certifier.

 

Our staff and personal expertise have been built up through years of experience within the industry. And regular external training led by the Association for specialist Fire Protection and institute of fire engineers. We manufacture all of our products in the United Kingdom in accordance with ISO 9001:2015 and factory process controlled under the CE mark. 

 

Annual investment in modern working methods ensures maximum safety efficiency throughout the operational process. We continually invest in state of the art manufacturing equipment to meet modern needs and demands. We regularly carry out audits to ensure continuity of quality. We protect by working closely with our customers and end users, to ensure the correct products and systems are specified and delivered in accordance with building fire strategies. We participate in local and global working groups and trade associations, providing an industry leading foresight into modern methods of building and how to protect them through innovation and fire resistant technologies.

 

We have vast industry knowledge in our production, sales, admin and technical staff. We have an 80,000 square foot production facility in the United Kingdom and an FSI group distribution hub in London fire safe and sound. We have an in house indicative fire testing furnace with one metre cubed. We provide installation training at our fully functional training facility. We have full CE marked products tested to European standard including UL, EN, BS, AS, ASTM approved products and certifier and UL independent third party certifications. We are ASFP, BASA and BCF members.

 

We have UK, EU and worldwide shipping capabilities. We 100% recycle or reuse and have zero percent landfill product waste.

 

Passive Fire Protection

Passive fire or built in Fire Protection is a method of compartmentation within the building, that protects against the passage of fire while allowing for penetration of services through fire rated walls and floors.

 

Compartmentation

Compartmentation is the division of the building into cells. It is used to contain fire in the room or area of a building, with a view to stop the spread of fire from causing damage injury or death, whilst allowing safe passage to escape fire. Where services penetrate separating elements and all compartment walls or floors, there is also a clear potential for compartment breach unless specific tested measures and systems are installed to prevent it.

 

Here we see an example of compartmentation working effectively to protect the building.

 

Fire stopping

Fire stopping is a process of adequately sealing imperfections in the building or breaches to walls or floors by penetration and or linear gaps to create a compartment. Different types of fire stopping include, penetration seals, where services pass through fire separating elements and or compartment walls or floors.

 

Linear joint seals, gaps between fire resisting elements of building construction for example, the junction between the wall and the ceiling. Small cavity barriers, at imperfections in the building process for example, at the junction of walls or floors with cladding, between separating walls and a roof over and between leaps of masonry walls and so on. Large cavity barriers, for example to subdivide large roof spaces or under floor voids.

 

Open stage cavity barriers, for example between elements of the building and rain screen cladding with a cavity barrier, is open in the cold state to allow for the free movement of air for ventilation. In a high situation the cavity barrier closes, preventing the spread of fire.

 

Here we see various products working together as systems to offer passive Fire Protection.

 

Other types of Fire Protection

Other types of Fire Protection include active Fire Protection. Active Fire Protection is the method which requires special energization or a command signal to operate. It includes detection systems, alarm systems, sprinkler systems, smoke control systems and other fire suppression systems.

 

Built in Fire Protection.

Built in Fire Protection includes construction materials that have a natural resistance to fire once constructed. These include clay bricks, fire resisting timber and fire resisting board. Fire resistance may be enhanced by the use of added materials or components that are known by the collective temp passive Fire Protection.

 

Understanding fire resistance and reaction to fire. There are two important aspects to consider when looking at fire stopping and passive Fire Protection. Fire resistance and reaction to fire.

 

Fire resistance.

Fire resistance is the ability of a component or construction to satisfy for a stated period of time, the appropriate criteria specified in the relevant part of EN or BS standard. The following criteria are applied to fire stopping. Integrity, the ability of a separating element when exposed to fire on one side to prevent the passage of flames and hot gases through and to prevent the occurrence of flames on the unexposed side. Insulation, the ability of a separating element when exposed to fire on one side to restrict the temperature rise on the unexposed side face to below. 1, 140 degrees Celsius as an average value above ambient and or. 2, 180 degrees Celsius as a maximum value above ambient at anyone point. These are represented as EI60, which is integrity insulation 60 minutes. E90, which is integrity 90 minutes depending on test results.

 

Reaction to fire

Reaction to fight is the performance of a material in a fire with regard to its propensity to ignite the amount and rate of heat released, spread of flame and smoke and toxic gases emitted. Products and materials are classified for reaction to fire according to BS EN 13501-1:2008.

 

So, is it important? Building regulations state that one must prevent the spread of fire and other elements subdivide buildings into manageable areas of risk and provide adequate means of escape. In order to achieve this when designing a building provide a proprietary sealing system which has been shown by test to maintain the fire resistance of the wall, floor or cavity barrier. And proprietary fire stopping and sealing systems including those designed for service penetration, which have been shown by test to maintain the fire resistance of the wall of the element.

 

But what test? There are currently two recognised standards used in the UK. Passive Fire Protection products are tested to European norms and British standard institution. BSI is an older standard that has been used in the United Kingdom for years. However, the Fire Protection it is a generic standard use on an ad hoc basis as there is no standard for penetration seals. As can be seen in the EN standard this has been designed for specific items within the industry and is now widely used.

 

Let's consider some of the key differences between the two test standards.

 

Test standards

EN 13663-3 penetration seals and EN1366- 4 linear gab seals, have been fully developed within the industry by a team of experts but will also lead to a harmonised European norm standard. In comparison BS476 is an ad hoc standard designed for the determination of the fire resistance of non-load bearing elements of construction such as roller doors, windows and shutters not specifically for fire stopping systems.

 

Scope of the test standards.

The EN1366 series has been prepared to provide a method of test for assessing the contribution of penetration and linear gap seal to the fire resistance of separating elements, when they have been penetrated by a service or services. The layout of the testing system required penetrating services and construction is prescribed within the standard. In other words, because the EN standard set out exactly how the systems must be tested, how the test must be set up and where the thermal couples must be placed, all that test to EN and standard will test in exactly the same way and gives a true comparison between the products.

 

There is no consideration in BS476 as to the type of constructing element wall type for example nor the size of the services that may pass through it if any, nor does it consider to configuration of penetrating services to be tested. This in turn does not give true comparison between the products as the test method is open to interpretation.

 

Integrity and insulation EN 1366 considers the integrity and insulation for every service tested as well as the seal. BS476 considers integrity only. Insulation cannot be measured as there is no standard configurations to test against.

 

Test furnace in EN1366 the furnace drives hard at the start of the test to reach 600 degrees Celsius within 6 minutes. In comparison on the BS476 test the furnace takes 30 minutes to reach 710 degrees Celsius.

 

Here we see a typical setup in the fire test in accordance to an EN standard. We see a simulated firewall with various service penetration and a passive Fire Protection system.

 

Another passive Fire Protection system with various types of services penetrating a firewall. Inside of a furnace. And finally pass a Fire Protection system on the exposed side after it has been tested.

 

Third party certification.

Third party certification involves an independent assessment declaring that specified requirement pertaining to a product, person, process or management system set out in the scheme document or BS, EN, ISO standard had been met. Third party certification should always be delivered by a certification body. A certification body should be accredited in the United Kingdom by UKAS, as this gives further value to their decisions, as it means that the certification body themselves competent to deliver certification and are subject to scrutiny by a national body. In the area of CE marking a notified body is a third party accredited by UKAS to conduct AVCP work to assist a client in being able to apply a CE mark to their product. All this in order to ensure and assess compliance to a previously defined standards scheme documents and building codes, but also to provide an official certification mark and a declaration of conformity.

 

What is CE marking?

It is important to understand that CE marking is not a quality mark per say, it is a manufacturers claim that the product has undergone the necessary attestation procedures set out in the EN product standard or ETAG. CE marking indicates that the manufacturer has met the legal requirements under European directors and represent the manufacturers claim that the test requirements of all relevant European directives have been satisfied for the purpose to which the product is being used. Regular product audits ensure that the system tested, and CE marked is the same product being manufactured and supplied on every occasion. The highest level of certification and product manufacturing certification is essential.

 

So how are the products CE marked?

Let's have a look at the process. The first stage is product development. The manufacturer may then carry out their own internal lab and fire testing. Product sampling an identification.

 

A European assessment document will then be required. This will be needed for products not covered under the harmonised product standard. An external EN fire test will be carried out in the next stage.

 

A classification report will then be produced which was summarised all the testing data in one easy to understand document. A manufacturer may only offer a classification report to end users as full test report will contain confidential information.

 

In order to ensure that the product will be delivered exactly how it has been tested and to exact specification to the manufacturers promise, an assessment and verification of constancy of performance is required. This can only be obtained by factory production control, initial inspection, continuous surveillance, determination of product type and audit testing.

 

Upon satisfaction of the above a notified body accredited by UKAS will issue a European technical assessment, allowing the manufacturer to CE mark their product. Continued all that will ensure the product stays compliant to the CE mark.

 

Is CE marking mandatory?

In 2012 construction product directive became construction product regulation, with all provisions coming into effect in July 2013. Under the CPR essential requirements became basic requirements for construction works. Declaration of conformity changed to declaration of performance. CE marking changed from voluntary to mandatory. European technical approval became European technical assessment. European technical approval guideline is now European assessment document. However harmonised product standard remains exactly the same with no change. European organization for technical approvals change to organization for technical assessment bodies. Attestation of conformity changed to assessment and verification of constancy of performance, and there were no changes to fire classification documents. So, under the CPR, CE marking became mandatory for those products covered by HEN.

 

However not all Fire Protection products are covered under the harmonised product standard.

 

Harmonised product standard cover by detection and fire alarm systems, building hardware and emergency exit devices, cement and concrete. Passive Fire Protection products are not currently covered under the HEN and legally are not required to be CE marked. However, some manufacturers do voluntarily CE mark their product as this is a requirement by individual EU member states. Installation, before making any decision on what system needs to be used the following questions must be answered; what fire assistance is required by the project. 30. 60. 90. Or 120 minutes integrity and insulation of integrity only. Including to what standard. BS476 or EN. What type of building assembly requires fire stopping? Floor, wall or cavity. What type of material is the constructing element? Concrete, drywall, wood frame or block. What is the thickness of the constructing element? 100 millimetre flexible wall. 140MM block work wall. What has it been tested to achieve at the thickness it is constructed to? What are the penetrations. Plastic pipes, metallic pipes, ducts metal or plastic, dampers, cables, insulated pipes, and so on. what are the specific descriptions regarding the penetration? Diameter of services, the size of the cable trays or pipes, quantity and location within the aperture, types of plastics, type and thickness of insulation, phenolic, allastor Merrick glass wool and so on. Are there any special considerations? Movement, environmental exposure, smoke seal, air permeability, and acoustic isolation.

 

It is recommended that all passive Fire Protection must be carried out by certified installers. Third party installer certification provides confidence that the fire stopping systems will be installed professionally by trained installers. As with product certification the schemes vary according to the supplier, but most will contain auditing requirements and training elements. The ASFP recommends third party installer certification schemes that have been accredited by UKAS only. An installer must also keep records of all installations detailing what process has been followed what products have been used to create the fire stopping system and required maintenance of that system.

 

Here we see a few examples of incorrect installation. And examples of correct installation.

 

So, who is responsible for ensuring correct Fire Protection is achieved and maintained from design build and the life of a building? Regulatory reform fire safety order 2005 and national equivalents put greater responsibility for safety on to building owners or occupiers. The establishment of the responsible person under the RR FSO and national equivalents means that those who are responsible for the operation of the business, within the building need to be aware of their responsibilities which include the installation and maintenance of passive Fire Protection systems. Failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is a criminal offence under the regulatory reform by safety or the on national equivalents. During the design and build of building it is the responsibility of every single person involved to ensure that the highest level of care is taken during the process to protect lives.

 

Passive fire protection or any form of Fire Protection is ultimately a live saving product or system, failure could mean loss of life. In this particular case, failure in Fire Protection cost 72 people their lives.

 

Summary

To summarise you should understand:

  • your passive Fire Protection and fire stopping requirements. What compartments need to be created. Understand what resistance and reaction to fire you were looking to achieve.
  • What standard the products being used are tested to. BS or EN standard. Is the product being used CE marked.
  • What external fire testing has the product gone under?  Is the product third party certified. 
  • Are you using certified installers?  Keep records and maintain and inspect all systems periodically in line with standard industry guidelines.

 

Further information.

For further information on passive Fire Protection the ASFP provide great publications and information about regulations and certified products. You can find them online at www.asfp.org.uk.  UK accredited certification bodies provide accreditation information approved products and installed lists and guides on fire stopping and passive protection in general.

 

Thank you for listening. For further information please visit our website. If you would like to arrange a CPD presentation covering Part 2 of the CPD understanding passive Fire Protection systems, please get in touch.