Smoke, mirrored testing and 3rd party auditing

Winkhaus UK explains the importance of smoke control testing in fire doorsets, and the incorporation of smoke control into 3rd party audit/certification schemes for flat and apartment entrance doorsets.

Fire regulations are often driven by disaster, with changes in recent years highlighting the requirements for compliance, and how this should be delivered and maintained through the lifecycle of a fire doorset.

The 2019 MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) guideline identified the 3 critical performances for a fire doorset as Fire, Smoke and Security. The MHCLG guideline, along with the independent review of building regulations and fire safety, also clearly states that these critical performances should be 3rd party audited and certified.

Traditional test evidence most often includes smoke resistance, but the smoke evidence has not been controlled by the 3rd Party independent audit / Certification scheme as recommended by the MHCLG.

Secured by Design (SBD) – the official police security initiative that works to improve the security of buildings – says that to precisely follow this guidance, the independent audits must relate to fire, smoke and security. This change ensures that all three performances are tested and regularly independently audited to prove all production this week, next month, and next year continue to provide the safest door set solution, for the lifecycle of the door.

As a business we have always tested our fire doorset solutions against all three critical performances, with both fire and smoke now having their own mirrored FoAp (Field of Application) that identifies the design and range of products that are covered. The Q Mark certification system brings together the information from these FoAp’s and consolidates the approved design range within the door manufacturers “Scope of Certification”.

UKAS accredited 3rd Party auditing is not just required to verify test data for fire doors, it is a critical requirement throughout the “Golden Thread” or lifecycle of a fire doorset. Every stage from manufacture, through survey and installation, annual inspection and any remedial maintenance required may be 3rd party audited. All of these stages within the Golden Thread refer back to the original design testing ensuring the correct components are being used to make or maintain a door.

Monitoring this compliance can be supported through the use of new data storage technology, allowing each door to be individually recognised and the information from across the lifecycle digitally stored and accessed when required. For the landlord or responsible person, this means simplification of the maintenance program for doors.

As an example, software can record when a door’s annual inspection is due and can create a schedule for inspection, or when remedial maintenance work is required for say a damaged letterbox, the information stored for the doorset can record the correct replacement component is competently fitted to ensure continued compliance and warranties are maintained.

To aid the understanding of the new requirements for a compliant fire doorset specification, we have recently expanded our free training. The training can be tailored depending on the audience, to cover a general overview of the golden thread and importance of 3rd party testing, or greater detail on the latest testing standards and legislation or Q&A sessions if greater depth is requested.

Winkhaus UK are manufacturers of security locking systems for doors and windows