On July 1, 2013, the Construction Products Directive (CPR) becomes a statutory requirement and BS476 Part 24 (1987) will be withdrawn and the BS EN 12101 series Part Construction Standards will take precedence. Fire Protection has already embarked on this testing programme.
Until this time, specifiers are experiencing a period of coexistence between the two standards, with a choice between systems built to the specifications of BS476 Part 24 or those being tested and manufactured to meet the new BS EN 12101 requirements.
The new BS EN 12101 series Product Construction Standards must be considered alongside the Fire Duct Test Standards plus the Extended Field of Application Standards to achieve the necessary Fire Duct Classification Standards and the resulting CE marking. Each element is critical in ensuring that ductwork meets the required standards of safety when installed.
The Product Construction Standard ensures that the manufacturer has ISO 9001 quality systems and that the fire-rated ductwork is constructed and installed as tested. Under BS EN 12101, it will not be permitted to construct fire-rated ductwork from scratch on site - it must be manufactured in the factory and taken to site to be assembled by competent, trained installers.
The Fire Duct Test Standard (BS EN 1366) ensures that the basic product itself is suitably fire resistant. It is a more challenging test than the earlier, superseded BS standard, and still requires ductwork to be tested ‘as built’, complete with joints and supports, rather than relying on derived test-data based on theoretical calculations. This leads to accurate results under real conditions, resulting in maximum safety in the field.
In order to meet these two requirements, manufacturers will require third-party product certification and independent Quality Assurance certification. When these conditions are met, the manufacturer will be permitted to apply CE marking to such certificated products.
Engineering assessments for fire-resisting ducts larger in cross-sectional area than those tested will no longer be permitted, so specifiers should also be aware that in addition to the above product and test standards, the BS EN 15080 series Extended Field of Application standards have been introduced to deal with all non-standard ductwork and ‘over-size’ equipment. These standards describe ways in which fire tests may be applied or adapted to suit different arrangements.
The BS EN 13501 series Classification Standards define how the results of the tests should be recorded as a classification showing, amongst other variables, permitted duct sizes and failure times for ductwork integrity, insulation and reduced leakage.
In order to future-proof fire-resistant ductwork installations, the selection of suitable products from a certified manufacturer will become essential, and a company that has already successfully embarked on an EN test programme, such as Fire Protection, is the logical choice.