The fire testing laboratory is the place where a project undergoes the process of being tested in order to check for safety. There are many factors that can influence which one you choose, including location, experience, and cost. It’s important to know what standards will be applied to your project before choosing a lab because not all labs are equipped with knowledge about every standard.
The right company should take into account your specific needs in order to provide you with accurate results. Here are some things you may want to consider when deciding on a fire testing laboratory:
Experience level of staff members
Services offered by the lab (e.g. sampling, installation, certification, etc)
Size and capabilities of the lab (e.g. what fire testing equipment they have available)
Report quality and turnaround time
Lead time for tests
Cost of services rendered
Working with a laboratory that has experience with the relevant standards will ensure that your project is tested correctly and accurately. We recently wrote on BS 476-20 which covers the scope of Fire Tests on Building materials and structures.
It is also important to have a good understanding of the fire testing standards that will be applied to your project before you choose a lab because not all labs are equipped with knowledge about every standard (e.g. BS 476-22, BS EN 1634-1, BS EN 1364-1, etc). The right company should take into account your specific needs in order provide you with results which are accurate and can be used towards your existing third-party certification.
United Kingdom Testing and Certification is accredited by UKAS which is the UK's accreditation service and the sole national accreditation body recognised by the British government to assess the competence of organisations that provide testing, certification, calibration and inspection services.
Consider if your product or item for testing meets the standards held by your chosen laboratory; for instance, United Kingdom Testing and Certification is accredited by UKAS to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 for Fire Resistance Testing of the non-load bearing elements of construction including; door and shutter assemblies, walls and partitions, linear joint seals, glazing and architectural hardware.
You can read more about accreditation and how UKTC can help you meet your legal obligations here.