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The construction sector is currently facing one of its biggest transitions to date. As specifying and installing building products that go above and beyond minimum levels of compliance is paramount to ensuring the long-term safety of a building, here Marcus Parnham, Commercial Director at Profab Access, discusses the importance of adequate product testing and certification.
The Grenfell Inquiry, the release of the Building Safety Bill and the formation of the National Construction Products Regulator are driving a step change throughout the construction sector regarding approaches to product testing and certification.
No longer will just meeting current standards and regulations be acceptable. In this new era of accountability, it is imperative that the industry sets the standard for achieving a proactive and comprehensive approach to building safety.
First raised in Dame Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, the fire-resistance of a product should be tested in ‘real-world conditions’ to ensure that all performance figures stated by the manufacturer are factual and represent the final installation.
Whilst some manufacturers may currently only conduct product assessments via a third party, others have responded to Dame Hackitt’s findings and have adopted a proactive approach to the testing, certification and verification of their products.
Profab Access has led the way in increasing standards within this area, being the first manufacturer in the UK to bi-directionally fire test its riser doors via an independent third party. As the riser door is physically tested in both directions, it offers the highest levels of fire safety, as professionals can be confident the riser door will withstand exposure to fire and smoke from both directions for the certified time period.
Following Dame Hackitt’s guidance, it is also critical that the riser door is installed into an approved wall construction in a method consistent with the sample originally tested. In practice, the installation process poses a number of potential risks to the overall fire integrity of a construction, through variables such as packer type and intumescent mastic bead application.
To overcome this possible gap in compliance, professionals should look to work with manufacturers that are taking this commitment to third party testing and certification even further, through latest advancements in technology and product design.
This includes the new PRECISION adjustable frame, which is supplied as standard with Profab Access’ INTEGRA 4000 Series Fire Rated Riser Door. The product’s unique construction enables the frame to precisely adjust to the specific dimensions of each structural opening, without the need for packers, dramatically reducing fitting times and superseding current building regulations.
The frame also eliminates the need for intumescent mastic bead application as a secondary operation on site, as it utilises a factory applied integral all-in-one smoke, intumescent and acoustic FS1000 seal, to provide fire stopping between the frame and the wall. This eliminates the reliance on the correct thickness of intumescent mastic bead being applied, and as a result, subsequently increases the efficiencies of installation and removes any potential margins for error. It most importantly ensures the compliance and adequacy of the entire installation, as its fire integrity performance has been sufficiently documented by an independent assessor.
For further information on Profab Access and its range of riser doors, access panels, and steel doors, call +44(0)1827 719051 or visit www.profabaccess.com.
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