Can you trust product fire rating test certificates?
Any product required to maintain it’s integrity in the event of a fire should have a valid, and up to date, fire rating test certificate issued by a recognised independent UKAS accredited testing laboratory. Proof of product certification must to be readily available to view upon request to confirm the manufacturers claims. The certificate must be an original, specific to the performance criteria and issued in accordance with current industry regulations and standards. Product design and production origination must be maintained to provide consistency of manufacture and quality.
Global markets require manufacturers to implement stringent codes of practice to guarantee production consistency. Chief among those would be a robust, independently accredited, Quality Assurance scheme. Citing QA as a primary consideration for supply is convention, but should it be the only factor? Furthermore do all company QA schemes offer the same degree of excellence when measured against each other?
All UK manufacturers of passive fire protection products and systems can now provide further assurance of suitability, reliability, performance, traceability, excellence and quality through the Certifire certification scheme from Warrington Certification Limited. The scheme is recognised by regulatory bodies internationally as an authorative and respected mark of fire safety. Products must satisfy the requirements of the relevant Technical Schedule, which describes the performance characteristics and quality control measures required. Each schedule has been drafted in partnership with industry experts and trade associations and draw upon British or harmonised European test methods that have been tailored to satisfy the regulatory requirements of the international market.
The schedule employed for certification relies on complete transparency by the applicant. Following an initial assessment of supporting documentation, which may include existing product test reports, a factory inspection is undertaken and a sample selected for testing. Further enforcing the validity of certification, the scheme also differs from proprietary testing by operating a policy of routine inspection to ensure manufacturing consistency, so the product remains true to the original test specimen.
The importance of schemes such as Certifire cannot be underestimated and is recognised in Approved Document B of the Building Regulations (ADB) which outlines clear recommendations for the use of third party certificated products and systems.
As a manufacturer of passive fire protection products Profab Access Limited acknowledge the value placed on QA and product certification by architects, specifiers, contractors and building owners. Technical Director, Austin Stone from Profab Access elaborates “Fire testing is an essential part of our product development regime, Certifire offers us the ability to differentiate our products from non certified equivalents. Assuring clients that our products are consistent and fit for purpose is a primary policy. We are the first access panel manufacturer to have our products certified under this scheme. Similar to the UL certification scheme in the US, each production unit is fitted with a unique Certifire issued serial number for complete traceability. Furthermore, we sincerely hope this scheme becomes the standard of choice throughout the construction sector, nationally and internationally.”
Early adoption of internationally recognised schemes such as Certifire have provided companies with sustained growth and a competitive edge. Risk is reduced, integrity assured, delivering client confidence and informed choices.