Understanding fire door certification
Fire certification of doors is currently a hot topic. Understanding how the certification process works is important when requesting evidence of fire performance for your doors.
It’s something we hear all the time: “Can I have a copy of your fire certification, please?” but what does this mean?
In fact, there are three types of documents that are involved in fire certification – and only one of these is actually a certificate.
The three main documents that may be supplied are:
- Fire test report – This describes what happens to a product in fire test conditions.
- Fire assessment – This can be a global assessment or a project-specific assessment.
- Independent product conformity certificate – Also known as third-party certification.
All three of these can serve as evidence of fire performance – but they’re also all very different. So, let’s take a look at each one in more detail.
Fire test reports
Fire test reports are sometimes (but not often) issued as certification for a product. The report confirms that a specific doorset (of a certain height, width, design and fittings) has been tested and either passed or failed the fire test. It does not cover any deviation from the tested sample.
The report is just that, a report on what happened in a fire test. The fire test should always be carried out by a UKAS-accredited test laboratory, according to the guidelines laid out in
- BS 476-22:19871 – Fire tests on building materials and structures. Method for determination of the fire resistance of non-loadbearing elements of construction, or
- BS EN 1634-1:2014+A1:2018 – Fire resistance and smoke control tests for door and shutter assemblies, openable windows and elements of building hardware. Fire resistance test for door and shutter assemblies and openable windows.
If you can get a fire test for the specific product that you intend to use, then this is the best evidence. However, this is rarely done due to product variations.
The British construction industry loves to design flamboyant buildings with unique specification and designs, making every building – and door – different from the next. But with so much variation, it would be impossible to test every single design, size or specification that is proposed. The industry, therefore, uses fire assessments.
An assessment generally consists of multiple fire tests, and it is common for an assessment to encapsulate 30-40 fire tests. These documents are created by a UKAS-accredited test laboratory or certification body, and they provide the scope for variations in criteria like size, finish and design. The UKAS bodies use the test reports, as well as specific product rules and their extensive experience to create these documents and the scope within them.
Independent product conformity certificates – better known as third-party certificates – are the only documents that are actually called certificates. They are available when the door manufacturer is a member of an independent product conformity scheme.
Fire test reports and fire assessments form the basis of the third-party certification. However, unlike the other two documents, all third-party certificates require that scheme members have regular inspections and fire test audits every five years.
In addition, factory production audits must be carried out every 12 months. The manufacturer must provide installation instructions and data sheets and be an ISO 9001-registered company. They must also ensure that all products are labelled or identified as being a fire door and that they are included as part of a relevant scheme.
Some schemes also require products to be labelled with a unique identification number. These offer full traceability of individual doorsets, from factory to site, and make it easy to gather specific information, such as manufacturer, date of manufacture, to whom the door was supplied, where it was delivered and even where it should be installed within a building.
Which fire certification document do you need?
All three of the documents listed above can be used and are acceptable evidence of fire performance. However, when receiving a fire test report or fire assessment, we recommended you check the documents carefully to ensure the product being received matches the evidence in the documents.
The third-party certification offers a better reassurance that the product being supplied is certificated due to the regular audits and scheme rules.
For more information on third-party certification, please visit our fire door testing service page or visit the BWF Certifire website.