Fire Door Safety Week took place in the last week of this month, Wrightstyle congratulates everyone who is working to raise awareness about the importance of fire safety, and the equally imperative of ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations.
Wrightstyle raised concerns with the UK government, specifically on the issue of fire doors being inspected and passed as fire resistant when, in fact, they offer little protection against the passage of fire, smoke or toxic gases.
The issue seems to be an incomplete understanding and enforcement of fire specifications contained within the Approved Document B and the usage requirements of certification data. In practice, and we have first-hand experience of this, for example unlatched doors with untested or incompatible fire-resistant glass are being accepted as fire doors within the regulatory definitions despite the fact that they are clearly not within the permissible limitations of their supplied test certification.
Grant that fire safety officers are placing emphasis on the door’s performance as having, for example, 60 minutes of integrity while paying insufficient attention to the fact that the door types, without an adequate safety latch mechanism, or compatible glass will certainly fail well within that period, allowing fire, heat or gases to pass through. In other words, the test certificate may certify the doors as being safe; however, without an integrated latch, the fire safety element may be entirely compromised.
» Insufficient guidance
Wrightstyle have a range of fire doors in single or double-leaf formats, including a range of unlatched fire doors. It is galling for us, and for other responsible suppliers, to develop advanced door systems and then see other systems installed that we know are not fit for purpose.
There seems to be insufficient guidance to fire or building control officers or consultants as to what needs to be specifically checked on the submitted data. The building regulations simply state that test standards such as BS476 Part 22 or the applicable EN specification should be available. At no point do the regulations require further examination of that test certificate to determine whether or not the installed assembly matches the description in the certification. For example, if the assembly is constructed from multiple components, have they been tested together? If it has been welded, has it been welded using the correct process?
» Regulation and training
They supply a comprehensive range of interior and external advanced glass and glazing systems, including doors, to mitigate against fire, wind loading or ballistic and bomb attack. We supply internationally, with recent project completions in the UK, USA, South Africa, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon and Hong Kong.
Their investment in product and system design, with ranges tested to BS, EN, US and Far Eastern fire and other regulations. In addition, Wrightstyle systems undergo tests against ballistic and bomb blast attack and, of course, project-specific tests.
British Standards and Building Regulations are there to protect public safety, not least in the event of a catastrophic fire. With regret, when it comes to unlatched fire doors, there requires to be an assessment of current guidelines for fire safety officers, and other authorized fire consultants, and an urgent need to issue further guidance to determine when a glazed door system can be considered a fire door.