Taking an alternative approach to product innovation and certification [BLOG]

Taking an alternative approach to product innovation and certification [BLOG]

Written by Profab Access

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.

As the Grenfell Inquiry’s second phase continues, further admissions regarding the performance of England’s current building safety regime are set to come to light. Whilst phase one of the inquiry focused on establishing the facts at the time of the incident, the remit of phase two is to examine the complex evidence to inform policy makers as they consider new legislation and testing regimes.

The Grenfell Inquiry, the release of the Building Safety Bill and the formation of the new National Construction Products Regulator have all emphasised the importance of the construction sector, radically altering its approach 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 in 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 building 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.

This adequately prevents the spread of fire throughout a multi-storey building as the opportunity for the fire to enter the riser shaft through a riser door located in a corridor and exit through another riser door in a different area or floor of the building, is entirely eliminated because both sides of the door have been successfully tested.

Another area where the industry has reacted to the findings of the Grenfell Inquiry and Building Safety Bill, to ensure appropriate performance and compliance is product development.

For example, when installing a riser door, professionals currently utilise plastic packers to ensure a successful fit. However, these materials may potentially not be present when fire testing of a complete doorset is undertaken, which presents the potential risk of using non-compliant components throughout installation.

In response to this, Profab Access has developed a revolutionary new frame that eliminates the need for plastic packers, radically simplifying the installation process whilst ensuring the fire integrity of the entire doorset.

The new PRECISION frame is a completely adjustable frame, which is supplied as standard with the 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 of plastic packers, dramatically reducing fitting times and superseding current building regulations.

The new PRECISION frame also eliminates the need for intumescent mastic application as a secondary operation on site, as it utilises a factory applied, all-in-one smoke, intumescent and acoustic FS1000 seal for improved performance, with no emissions of toxic gasses to ensure the safety of building occupants in the event of a fire.

As the construction sector continues to unearth deep rooted issues regarding the development, testing and certification of products. We are already starting to see proficient changes in action, as manufacturers, architects, specifiers and contractors work together to create and communicate an uninterrupted set of information and certification that goes above and beyond adhering to current regulations, to achieve best in class specifications that will continue to perform for the entire lifecycle of the building.

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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Profab Access

Established in 2001, Profab Access is a leading supplier in the design and manufacture of riser doors and access panel solutions for ceilings, walls and drywall partitions.

Riser doors and access panels provide easy access to building...
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