The world of fire testing can be complicated and dense, particularly when understanding the various standards and regulations that guide the process. This article will delve into one crucial standard: BS EN 1634-1, also known as the Fire Resistance Tests for Door and Shutter Assemblies.
What is BS EN 1634-1:2014 + A1:2018 - Fire Resistance Tests for Door and Shutter Assemblies?
BS EN 1634-1:2014 + A1:2018 outlines the test methods used to gauge the fire resistance of door and shutter assemblies, including openable windows and elements of building hardware. As a critical component of fire safety in buildings, fire-resisting doors serve three primary purposes:
1. To restrict the initial development of a fire
2. To limit the spread of fire within the building
3. To safeguard escape routes for occupants
The BS EN 1634-1 test regimes determine how long a door withstands a fire attack, a crucial element in ensuring fire safety in buildings.
Under BS EN 1634-1 test regimes, a door withstands fire attack for a period of time and for the purpose of the regulation, more than 30 minutes is described as E30 and more than 60 minutes is described as E60. Withstanding a fire attack means the door maintains its structural integrity.
BS 476-22 versus EN 1634: Which Fire Testing Standard Should You Use?
When it comes to fire testing door sets in the UK, there are two prevalent standards: BS 476-22 and BS EN 1634. While both aim to enhance fire safety in building construction, some key differences exist. BS 476-22 is often considered a slightly less rigorous test than EN 1634. The critical testing difference is the type of thermometer used to control the furnace in each method. The consequence of this is thought to be about a 5-20% reduction in performance when testing in accordance with BS EN 1634 compared with BS 476-22. However, the primary disadvantage of BS 476-22 is that it doesn't support CE or UKCA marking and is not recognised elsewhere in Europe.
The Impact of UKCA Marking on Fire Testing Requirements
One of the key factors influencing the choice of fire testing standards is the requirement for CE marking and, now, UKCA marking. Following the UK's departure from the EU, the UKCA mark has replaced the CE mark within the UK. While this transition hasn't significantly altered fire testing requirements, it has influenced the choice between BS 476-22 and EN 1634. From June 2025, only products with UKCA marking will be accepted in Great Britain.
EN 1634-1 vs BS 476-22: Predicting the Future of Fire Testing Standards
Despite the UK's separation from the EU, the country is expected to remain closely aligned with all performance standards. If the requirement for internal door sets to also be CE/UKCA marked is introduced, BS 476-22 may lose relevance in testing the fire resistance of door sets.
Why EN 1634-1 is Essential for Fire Testing
The European standard for testing fire-rated door sets, EN 1634-1, is becoming increasingly significant. This test represents a higher performance standard due to the difference in the type of thermometer used to control the furnace. It also necessitates dual-sided /Bi-directional testing of door sets, bolstering confidence in their performance in the event of a fire regardless of what side of the door the fire might start.
The Testing Process Under EN 1634-1
Testing under EN 1634-1 is rigorous and detailed. It begins with an optional sampling visit where an approved/ notified body witnesses the manufacture of the doorset specimen to be tested. The fire door set specimen must then be delivered to the laboratory and conditioned before being installed into a standard supporting construction. Meanwhile, the specimen is surveyed, instrumented with thermocouples and then tested to evaluate its Integrity, Insulation and Radiation performance.
A door set to be rated E30 must satisfy the integrity (E) performance criterion for a minimum of 30 minutes. This means it must continue to hold back the fire without casing ignition of a cotton pad, allowing the penetration of a gap gauge or allowing a flame of more than 10 continuous seconds.
The results of the test are then compiled in a comprehensive report that includes images, drawings and data, as well as a field of application.
The Future of Fire Testing and the Importance of BS EN 1634-1
While the field of fire testing is dynamic and evolving, standards like BS EN 1634-1 provide a robust framework to ensure safety in building construction. By understanding and adopting these standards, we can build safer environments and better protect lives and properties against the devastating impacts of fire.
How UKTC can help your passive fire testing needs by testing to BS EN 1634-1:2014 + A1:2018
United Kingdom Testing and Certification (UKTC) is equipped to expertly assist you in all your passive fire testing needs. Our industry-leading, UKAS-accredited testing laboratory No. 21542, a state-of-the-art, fire-testing laboratory is equipped to test to the stringent requirements of BS EN 1634-1:2014 + A1:2018 and under the guidelines of BS EN 13501-2.
Our dedicated team of experts work to ensure your product complies with these stringent industry standards, providing you with the essential certification to provide a clear route to market for your products.
We understand that time is critical in today's fast-paced market, and we pride ourselves on providing industry-leading turnaround times. UKTC’s streamlined procedures and efficient systems ensure that our testing processes are completed swiftly without compromising the thoroughness or accuracy of our tests.
Our priority is to help you get your product to market quickly while ensuring the utmost safety and quality compliance.
Trust UKTC to meet your passive fire testing needs and to navigate the complexities of BS EN 1634-1:2014 + A1:2018 on your behalf, offering you peace of mind and a competitive edge in the market.