Chris Newman, Technical Services Manager at Schüco UK, discusses the importance of fire safety with regards to the company’s high-performance door, window and façade systems.
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The principal legislative response to the Grenfell tragedy has been the Building Safety Bill, which recently passed into English law as the Building Safety Act. This establishes a new and enhanced safety regime for buildings that are 18 metres high or taller, or have at least seven storeys and a minimum of two residential units. It also applies to care homes and hospitals meeting the same height threshold during design and construction.
For most manufacturers, particularly those involved with production and supply of façade- and roof-based systems, fire safety is paramount and informs many aspects of how they design and deliver products to the market. Schüco is no different and provides one of the most comprehensive collections of aluminium and steel glazed, fire-resistant doors, windows and façades currently available – all backed by a programme of international accreditations.
Chris Newman Technical Services Manager at Schüco UK, in conversation with Architecture Today’s Technical Editor John Ramshaw, discusses the company’s approach to fire safety, the importance it places on performance and testing, and what it is doing to help specifiers and the wider construction industry.
FW 50+ FR 60 aluminium curtain walling
What is Schüco’s approach to fire safety, and has this changed in relation to the new Building Safety Act?
Schüco products have always met the most stringent of technical requirements, and this is no different in relation to the Building Safety Act. We design and develop fire protection solutions for buildings across all products. The company provides fully tested system solutions for doors, façades, windows and partition walls, including fittings and glazing. These fulfil a wide range of fire and smoke protection requirements. Furthermore, the compatibility of Schüco systems allows elegant and invisible transitions between the fire protection and standard series.
What are the main fire-resistant/fire rated products that Schüco produces?
We manufacture a wide range of fire-resistant façades, doors and glazed screens in both aluminium and steel. Examples of aluminium systems include ADS 80 FR 30 and ADS 80 FR 60 fire doors and screens, which provide 30 and 60 minutes fire protection respectively, as well as FW 50+/FW 60+ BF and FW 50+ FR 60 curtain wall façades, which provide 30 and 60 minutes of reliable fire resistance respectively. Schüco Jansen steel doors and fixed glazed screens include Janisol 2 EI30 with 30 minutes fire protection, and the VISS curtain wall façade, which is available with 30, 60 or 90 minutes of fire protection.
How are these tested?
Schüco fire-resistant products are fully tested to European Standards EN1364-3 and EN1634 -1. They are tested in a range of configurations and dimensions to establish the maximum size parameters and type of glazing, together with the hinges, locks, closers and other accessories that will become part of the final approved specification. The test elements are installed into different wall constructions to simulate various interfaces between the frame and structure. Minor modifications can be approved by assessments. In addition, all Schüco fire and smoke doors undergo a 200,000 cycle test following which all components must be fully functioning.
Janisol 2 EI60 steel door
What classifications do they carry?
Fire-resistant doors, windows and façades are classified according to their integrity (E), radiation (W) and insulation characteristics (I), together with the period of protection in minutes (e.g. 30, 60, 90) and the period of insulation (e.g. 30, 60, 90). Schüco aluminium facades, doors and glazed screens are classified up to EI60 in accordance with EN13501-2. Schüco Jansen steel facades, doors and glazed screens are classified up to EI90 in accordance with EN13501-2.
What technical advice/resources does Schüco provide for specifiers on fire safety with regards to its products and systems?
Schüco’s technical support office advises on the application of our systems, and includes staff with qualifications relating to fire safety and building design, Building Regulations, and technical guidance. The company has also published a useful, in-depth guidance document titled, ‘Fire and Smoke Protection for Buildings’.
FireStop ADS 90 FR 90 aluminium doors
What is Schüco fire products training, and what does this mean for specifiers and the wider construction industry?
Schüco fire products training is designed to raise standards across the industry and ensure conformity to current Building Regulations and future UKCA-marking requirements. Fabricators wishing to use/sell Schüco fire systems have to undertake thorough training in the theory of the company’s fire products as well as the application of all relevant standards.
The Schüco training is now a Glass Qualifications Authority (GQA) accredited course, which is third-party accredited for the training content.
The training is intended to give architects and main contractors confidence and peace of mind that they are specifying and purchasing a fire product range where the fabricator/installer is fully trained by the supplier of the system. It helps to differentiate suppliers of fire protection doors and façades in the marketplace, allowing accredited fabricators to benefit from Schüco’s support of the scheme.
For more information please call 01908 282111, email, or visit the Schüco website.