Warringtonfire Australia launches Certifire certification scheme

Warringtonfire Australia has launched a new independent third-party certification scheme, Certifire, that will give manufacturers of fire protection products and systems the opportunity to differentiate themselves from non-certified equivalents and promote long-term confidence.

Certifire accreditation is recognised worldwide and has already been offered by Warringtonfire across the UK and Europe for almost 20 years.
The Australian launch will complement Warringtonfire Australia’s current offerings in testing, assessment and consultancy. 

Certifire is an independent passive certification scheme that assures performance, quality, reliability and traceability of passive fire protection products in the marketplace. The fundamental benefit of certification is that is gives the regulator, specifier, customer and end-user long-term confidence in the stated performance of the product, and provides an informed choice when purchasing or selecting the product for end use. 

Manufacturers in Australia are legally allowed to use their original fire resistance testing data, and have done so for decades, but Certifire will provide the added assurance of factory audits every 12 months, product reviews and re-testing every five years to ensure quality, compliance and traceability is maintained.

What is passive fire product certification

Passive fire product certification is the process of certifying that a product has passed fire performance tests and quality assurance tests and meets further qualification criteria stipulated in the certification scheme or relevant product specific technical schedule. The requirement for testing is in accordance with AS1530.4, or a product assessed in accordance with AS1530.4 based on fire resistance testing. An important part of the certification scheme is the ongoing auditing to ensure the product retains the same composition as the original product that was tested.

Product certification bodies are accredited to or aligned with ‘ISO/IEC 17065 Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services’, which is an international standard for ensuring competence in those organisations performing product, process and service certifications. 
Certification schemes are typically written to include both the performance test methods that the product must be tested to, as well as the criteria that the product must meet to become and retain certification.

The need for passive fire certification in Australia

Presently, passive fire product manufacturers in Australian carry out fire resistance testing on their products in accordance with the relevant Australian standard and then proceed to manufacture and sell that product based on the performance achieved in that single test. There is no need for further testing or checks of that product or the manufacturing process for the lifetime of that product.
The issue with this is there is uncertainty of the quality of the mass-produced product to the end user, compared to that submitted for original fire-resistant testing. Many manufacturers continue to use test data up to 20 years old. Even if there is no intentional change to the manufacturing process of a particular product, over time there will be changes in equipment, staff, experience, source of raw material, etc. Each of these areas have an impact on the quality of the product that is produced. 

The Warringtonfire certification Certifire scheme

The scheme includes the following main areas:

  1. Evaluation – Analysis of submitted test/assessment data and a product appraisal/evaluation in line with the relevant documentation. The outcome of the evaluation will be a clearly defined scope of approval/certification for the product, which will be used as a basis for the information to be included within the certificate/approval.
  2. Factory Production Control (FPC) audits – Passive fire product manufacturers will be required to undergo a FPC audit for each product where certification is sought. A Warringtonfire representative will visit the site where the product being evaluated is manufactured and will carry out a FPC audit in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001.
  3. Sampling – During the FPC audit, sampling of the product being certified will be undertaken by the auditor, for the purpose of carrying out fire resistance testing at an accredited laboratory. This step is either for initial certification of a product, or for ongoing requirements as outlined in point 6.
  4. Production and registration of certificate – Preparation of relevant product Certificate(s) based on positive evaluation of supporting data/tests and FPC audit. Certificate will be uploaded to the CERTIFIRE product register. There will also be the promotion of product certification through Warringtonfire.
  5. Surveillance audit – This audit will occur every 12 months to ensure that the factory production control systems continue to meet the qualification criteria.
  6. Ongoing requirements – A review of the product will occur every 5 years, at which time re-testing of the product is required to ensure that the product that is being produced for the marketplace continues to meet the qualification criteria.

To discuss this opportunity further please contact Chad McLean on +61 (0) 400 059 930 or email at chad.mclean@warringtonfire.com