COOPERS FIRE, THE FIRST FIRE CURTAIN MANUFACTURER TO BE FULLY BS 8524 PARTS 1 & 2 COMPLIANT
BS 8524 is an important new standard for the fire curtain industry because it provides comprehensive guidance to specifiers, manufacturers, installers, building inspectors and buyers. In summary, this guidance covers the important attributes that must be achieved with a fire curtain and the methods required to achieve a good installation and an ongoing, serviceable fire barrier. Furthermore the standard provides assurance to end users, facilities managers and building occupiers that the product has been through and achieved a whole series of third party witnessed testing against a set of discerning criteria.
The key part to this announcement is that Coopers Fire is fully compliant, which means that all tests and independent verification covered by the standard have been achieved. If one or more tests are not completed then the whole system including all the individual assemblies and components and the process of manufacture, installing and servicing cannot be signed off as reaching the minimum requirements.
This is a major milestone in Coopers Fire’s long and successful track record of manufacturing, supplying, installing and servicing smoke and fire curtains, hence our pride in not just achieving full compliance, but also being the first to do so.
BS 8524 Parts 1 & 2 were published in April 2013 and superseded the former fire curtain specification, PAS 121:2007, which was defined as a ‘specification for active fire curtain barrier assemblies and active fire barrier assemblies with smoke rating’. BS 8524 builds on this previous standard to make sure it covers the whole “system” and the processes of installing and servicing of these lifesaving products.
EVOLUTION OF FIRE CURTAIN STANDARDS
Coopers Fire patented a “fire screen” using an electromagnetic brake assembly for gravity fail-safe in 1983; some 30 years ago. An entire industry was born and this technology remains the benchmark for the industry.
Over a prolonged period of time much testing was carried out using similar product standards in terms of fire-resistance, reaction to fire, smoke leakage, impact and mechanical resistance etc. The guidance produced in the form of PAS 121:2007 was issued by the British Standards Institute (BSi) and in 2009 a new technical committee was formed.
The intention was to prepare a National standard for these products. Standardisation should never drive regulation, although often in reality it does. There is much discussion around this product for inclusion with the next regulatory review of Approved Document B (ADB) and the review of BS 9999; fire curtains are already called up in BS 9991 Section 34.
As with any new technology that is not enshrined in regulation or standardisation, you will see less qualified manufacturers entering the market, which can potentially be hazardous on such a critical product. BS 8524 was built on the foundation of PAS 121:2007, adopted by London District Surveyors Association (LDSA), and raises the performance bar significantly higher. It largely addresses concerns and reservations going forward from perhaps previous past experience and this can only benefit the end users.
THIRD PARTY CERTIFICATION
Under BS 8524 Parts 1 & 2, only third party certified fire curtain products are acceptable and this covers third party certification on the specification (part 1) and application, installation and maintenance (part 2). The third party approving body must also be a UKAS accredited certification body.