Pictured above: Installation by SWA member, Perla Windows
A recently completed programme of testing conducted by the Steel Window Association’s (SWA) technical committee has resulted in three different internal door configurations successfully attaining a half-hour fire rating with the achievement being hailed as the most important step forward for the industry since the millennium.
The SWA tests were carried out in accordance with BS 476 Part 22: 1987 at the world-renowned Exova Warrington fire research facility. The result being, the SWA can now offer both single and double doors, with and without side screens, tested and assessed from both sides. All were fabricated using the classic W20 steel sections.
David Northam from SWA member, NSB Casements, who conducted the tests for the association, commented, “Some of the steps taken, such as reducing the fixing centres and using steel studs rather than brass studs, are quite straightforward, but we also investigated a variety of technologies available across the fire industry particularly for strengthening the lock side of the frame to prevent bowing under heat.”
David continues, “These recent fire tests on W20 fixed light, single and double doors, for internal applications, have been granted 30-minute fire protection for integrity, by test report and assessment. This means SWA member companies can now make the results available to building control as required. It is a landmark for SWA internal fire screens.”
The President of the SWA and Contracts Director for Associated Steel Window Services, Kris Bennell, added, “This testing undertaken by Warrington opens up our industry to a whole new range of possible applications. It addresses an area we have been lacking in for some time, as well as representing the culmination of real effort from across the membership to come up with a solution that meets the latest requirements. It is one of the best bits of news to come out of the SWA in the past 20 years.”
The single and double hinged W20 doors – with and without fixed sidelights – are available with a number of single glass types and ironmongery options, which have been either tested or assessed. Importantly, this allows SWA members to ensure that where 30-minute fire protection is required, they can supply a product that to all intense and purposes has the same aesthetics as a conventional steel screen.
The fire door’s glazing, including Pilkington Pyrodur® safety glass, was all seated on intumescent mastic tape, and then the perimeter filled with an intumescent silicone sealant. There is also an intumescent strip fitted around the entire doorframe to prevent flames escaping the side where a fire starts.
The new FD30 rated doorsets are available only through members of the Steel Window Association.