Senior Engineer, Fawaz Hashim explains that doors and windows provide more than just access, air and light.

They perform a multitude of tasks including providing defence against the elements, limiting heat loss, ensuring security, and protection from fire and smoke. Ensuring the right level of performance of doors and windows within a structure is an essential part of creating a building that is fit for purpose. Robust testing systems supported by third party product certification, such as BM TRADA’s Q-Mark, or Warringtonfire’s Certisecure and Certifire schemes, deliver the necessary assurance that these components will perform as required.

In this blog, we take a look at some of the varying types of testing and certification for doors and windows and highlight the importance of these.

Fire certification and smoke leakage testing

Third party certification schemes for products help to ensure that the system-based approach required for passive fire protection is correct when the building is completed and throughout its design life. They not only demonstrate the quality that should be expected but allow traceability for future fire risk assessments and maintenance.

Independent, third party certification schemes, such as Certifire, provide the regulator, specifier, customer and end-user with confidence in the stated performance of the product and offer an informed choice when purchasing or selecting the product.

These schemes are suitable for manufacturers of fire protection products and systems as they offer the opportunity to differentiate products and processes from non-certified equivalents. They can also be used by architects, specifiers, contractors and building owners, as they provide assurance that fire protection products and systems correctly installed will perform as required. This avoids costly mistakes down the line and dramatically reduces risk.

Smoke leakage testing is also an important component of complete fire safety testing for doors and windows. A fire door which halts the spread of flame but allows the passage of smoke will not do enough to protect life.

Fire doors

Fire doors play a critical role in the safety of a building. They allow access to enclosed fire compartments, which are designed strategically to help contain a fire and delay its spread long enough to allow people to escape safely. Their manufacture, fittings, installation and management are extremely important in the overall fire safety of buildings.

Third-party certificates set out a scope of approval that the product meets specific requirements or standards, and are issued by independent certification bodies. Although not a legal requirement, there are various third-party certification schemes available that assure of quality in manufacture, installation and maintenance so users can be confident in the performance of fire doors.

Bespoke doors can also be designed, which deviate from the tested and certified product, and are subjected to a technical assessment and bespoke door product testing and certification.

Security and acoustic testing and certification

Another fundamental performance characteristic of a door or window is security. They must have the ability to resist various levels of forced entry. Poor or inconsistent quality in the manufacture of a door or window can result in security performance being seriously compromised. To prevent this, doors and windows must meet the minimum requirements set out by regulation and be tested for certain performance characteristics including fire and security standards, escape, durability and weather tightness.

A test result applies only to an individual sample and is no guarantee that other windows or doors of the same model on the same production line will perform in the same way. Manufacturers can overcome this by having their products third-party certificated as well as tested. The third-party certification is also an important sign of quality that can enhance a reputation.

In addition to security testing and certification, the final assurance in the performance of doors and windows is acoustic testing. This testing is especially important in large residential buildings and tightly spaced developments where noise could become incredibly disruptive.

What next?

As a one-stop shop for all door and window testing and certification, Warringtonfire and BM TRADA would be happy to talk to you about your products and projects and how the right testing and certification can help you improve market access, win new projects and help you build a long-term sustainable business. Get in touch with us here