Understanding the latest fire doorset guidance and legislation with Winkhaus

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For over a decade the Winkhaus UK technical team have been involved in the creation and implementation of the latest standards and guidance for fire doorsets. Following the launch of a series of new fire training modules, Winkhaus share how these changes impact the entire life cycle of a fire doorset and what a compliant fire doorset specification should contain. 

Over the last five years, since the Grenfell disaster, there have been many changes in legislation and guidance, but important question remains: “Do specifiers and those responsible for fire safety in social housing understand the changes and have they implemented these changes into their specifications?” 

In October 2021, Winkhaus UK commissioned a survey that asked respondents to vote for which tests they think are required for a MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government) 2020 compliant fire doorset. Following the results of the survey, only 40% of respondents said fire doorsets should be smoke and fire tested, 20% said security tested and 20% said that fire doorsets should be third party accredited. The results from the survey provided an insight into the respondents’ knowledge about the new legislation and guidance. The conclusion highlights that in all likelihood, some specifications may have not changed in line with the correct guidance.   

Guidance on fire regulations have changed post-Grenfell, with changes in recent years highlighting the requirements for compliance, how this should be delivered and maintained through the lifecycle of a fire doorset. The 2020 MHCLG guideline identified the three 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 third party audited and certified. 

Traditional test evidences most often include smoke resistance but the smoke evidence has not been controlled by the 3rd Party independent audit / Certification scheme as recommended by the MHCLG. To precisely follow this guidance the independent audits must relate to fire, smoke and security. 

Insert test images (IMG_0022 and IMG_3892) with caption: Picture shows: Successful fire testing of the most complex and definitely the largest construction Winkhaus have ever tested. 

Both Winkhaus and Secured by Design (SBD) agree, 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. 

Winkhaus FireFrame composite fire doorset solutions are the first to attain the new Q Mark third party audit certification for ‘Smoke’ and Winkhaus is the first company to attain individual ‘Q Mark’ certification for all three critical performance requirements: fire, smoke and security. The company’s timber door set solutions are currently completing the same certification process.

As a business Winkhaus has always tested its 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”. 

Importance of 3rd Party Auditing 

1-ISJ- Understanding the latest fire doorset guidance and legislation with Winkhaus

UKAS accredited third 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. There are five key stages within the Golden Thread: design and test; specify; manufacture; survey and installation; and maintenance.  

Design and test is the first stage of the Golden Thread and this is where the doorset is tested for fire resistance, smoke control and to PAS24 for enhanced security, both inside and outside. All the test reports are compiled and become a FoAP that shows all the variations and permitted parameters. Testing must be done with an independent UKAS accredited test house or laboratory.  

A specification is then written which outlines the requirement of skills and other specifics required for each doorset. The specification stage must follow the Golden Thread and ensures every stage is third party audited to ensure test evidence is current and correct. The key purpose of the specification is to ensure the fire door set is consistent and compliant through manufacture, installation, and maintenance. 

Next in the Golden Thread is the ‘manufacture’ stage; which is third party audited to ensure the fire doorset is consistently manufactured to the same standards as the test evidence and specification. 

Survey and installation is conducted by a third party accredited installer with an additional system training to ensure consistency and clear understanding of the tested solutions specified. This then leads to ‘maintenance’ which is the final stage of the Golden Thread. It is mandatory that annual audits are carried out and undertaken by a third party audited and accredited company to ensure compliance throughout the life of the doorset. Any remedial work identified through annual or routine inspection should be related back to the original test evidence, so again we recommend training is provided throughout the golden thread.  

Every stage from manufacturing, through survey and installation, annual inspection, and any remedial maintenance required must be third party audited. All of the 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. 

To aid the understanding of the new requirements for a compliant fire doorset specification, Winkhaus has recently expanded its free training. The firm now offers three different levels of training which can be tailored to the audience to ensure it meets company / client requirements and we will even write your fire door set specification: 

  • First option – This training provides an overview of the Golden Thread for fire doorsets, covering the requirements for a compliant doorset throughout its lifecycle. The five key stages in the lifecycle are covered from design and testing, specification, manufacture, survey, and installation through to inspection and maintenance. 
  • Second option – This training module covers the fire doorset legislation which is the next level of data for those who need a more detailed understanding of the changes that have been made to legislation for fire doorset standards over the past few years. Topics covered include the latest legislation and guidance, testing requirements for the three critical fire doorset performances of Fire, Smoke and Security and third party auditing.  
  • Third option – If you require a deeper understanding on legislation and guidance, need support in writing your specification or require further advice on compliance, we can arrange for a question-and-answer session with a member of our expert fire doorset team.  

Both option one and option two can be presented as a formal CPD or informally without CPD certification.  

For further information about our Fire, Smoke & Security doorset solutions, support with your fire door specifications or to register for our free training, please visit firetraining.winkhaus.com or email [email protected]  

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