An introduction to passive fire protection in Australia
Australian Certification Manager Chad McLean explains about passive fire product certification. Warringtonfire Australia now offers an independent third-party certification scheme, Certifire, which will provide manufacturers of fire protection products the opportunity to differentiate themselves from non-certified equivalents and promote long-term confidence to end-users.
The Certifire scheme is recognised worldwide and has been offered by Warringtonfire in the UK and Europe for over 20 years and has now been established in Australia. The addition of Certifire to Warringtonfire Australia will complement our current offerings in fire testing, fire assessments and fire safety engineering.
Certifire is an independent certification scheme established to assure performance, quality, reliability, and traceability of passive fire protection products in the marketplace. The fundamental benefit of certification to manufacturers is that it gives the regulator, specifier, customer, and end-user, confidence in the performance of the product and provides an informed choice when purchasing or selecting the product for use.
Certification provides the added assurance that products that go through this process can prove that the quality, compliance and traceability of that product, is maintained.
What is passive fire product certification?
Certification is the process of certifying that a product has passed relevant fire and or quality assurance tests, based on Australian Standards, along with additional criteria defined in the certification scheme. An essential part of the Certifire scheme is the ongoing factory auditing requirements, ensuring the mass-produced product maintains the same quality as the originally tested product.
The need for passive fire certification in Australia
Under Australian legislation, products must comply with the National Construction Code (NCC). The NCC is comprised of the Building Code of Australia (BCA), Volumes One and Two; and the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), Volume Three. The products relating to this scheme are defined under Volumes One and Two of the NCC.
Presently, manufacturers providing products to the Australian market will perform fire resistance testing on their products to the relevant Australian or international standard, as required by the NCC and then manufacture and sell that product based on the performance of a single test. There is then no need for further testing or checks of that product, or the manufacturing process, for the lifetime of that product.
This, therefore, creates an issue. How can an end-user be confident of the quality of that product on-site compared to that in the original fire test? Even if there is no intentional change to the manufacturing process, over time, changes in equipment, staff, experience, source of raw material, etc., will impact the quality of the product produced.
Certifire will help create this certainty for manufacturers and create confidence for end-users by the simple process of how product certification links to building regulations.
1. Performance requirements are outlined in the NCC, which defines requirements for passive fire products and their intended application.
2. The individual products are required to comply with the requirements of the NCC are identified, and their intended application determined. For example, a door or a wall system.
3. Products are tested to achieve the relevant performance requirements of the NCC.
4. Further assessments then may be required to fill out the scope of the product.
5. From the evidence received from testing, assessments and factory auditing, and a Certification certificate will be produced that can be used as evidence of compliance in accordance with the requirements of Volumes One and Two of the NCC.
To talk to an expert, please contact us.