Getting ready for a change in European standards

External fire doors and industrial fire sliding doors

Article by Caroline A. Bødkerholm

In November 2019, the coexistence phase for the harmonised European product standard EN16034 expired. After this date all exterior and industrial fire doors should be CE marked. No national approvals are valid since then.

This change in regulation is vital for many attentive companies that are required to take action accordingly. One of them is our client Danish Crown. In this article, you can read about the regulations, the approval of fire doors and get an insight into how risks were managed together with Danish Crown. 

But first, why is it important for companies to follow the new standards?

”Fire doors and fire sliding doors are important as they prevent the spread of fire and smoke between building sections, thereby optimising personal safety and the rescue of values and minimising the extent of damage. With the new EU standards companies are ensured a secure fire technical solution”. - Hans Raeder, Senior Risk Engineer,  If P&C Insurance.

Furthermore, fire doors and shutters play a critical role in maintaining the integrity of a fire wall or other type of fire separation. If a fire door or shutter is not closed or fails to close properly, fire and smoke could spread from one fire compartment to another, thereby increasing the property damage and the resulting business interruption. The fire doors, as part of the fire division walls and thus the fire safety of the building, are also vital in ensuring the safe evacuation of the persons present in the building.

Why is it relevant for all European countries?

Before the EU introduced the CE marking, e.g. Danish companies were met with different technical requirements every time the product was to be sold across national borders. A product for the same use in several countries, could thus be met with different requirements for approval and test methods in Italy, Sweden, England and Germany.

The CE marking has helped to change this, so it becomes easier to market products across national borders. CE marking enables free trade within all Member States. The harmonised Product standards, test standards and classification standards are the same. When you buy a CE-marked construction product, you can be sure that the product complies with a number of requirements for environment, health and safety, which are the applicable standards in the EU.

Generally speaking, sometimes builders trust the CE mark too much, rather than take an overarching view. However, it is rarely enough. We do not set the same quality requirements for construction throughout Europe. A CE-marked wall cladding with a fire classification that does not live up to the requirements of general technical common ownership can thus pose a fire risk if it is used incorrectly.

And a CE-marked window with a degree of thermal insulation at a level that means it can be used for all construction(s) in, for example, Italy, is perhaps only good enough for a stable construction in Denmark.

How we manage risks together with Danish Crown

Danish Crown was building a new slaughterhouse in 2013 and needed five 4,7-meter-high fire rated, stainless steel sliding doors. However, here they ran into a challenge, as it was not able for the general contractor at the project, to find any tested doors at the European market.

To this Flemming Damholt, the Global Fire Safety and Security Officer at Danish Crown comments: “I therefore took contact to Preben Søndergaard at Door System and asked if he would help. Preben agreed in developing a tested certified door from the (at that time) new European standard. Door System managed to do it, and five months after the inquiry, the fire sliding door was installed, which solved a big challenge for us”.

The company Door System has long been selling hinged fire doors that have been tested and approved to the new standard, and they have also approved their production system so they can begin CE-marking their hinged fire doors.

In March 2020, their brand-new fire sliding door also passed fire test # 2. The new door managed almost 1 hour and 16 minutes, thus reaching a distance above the important limits respectively 1 hour and then 1 hour and 8 minutes. The last minutes mean a lot compared to the door's usability.

Custom solution

Although a sliding door has passed the fire test, some work still needs to be done. In principle, an approved fire test only allows the sale of a door, like the specific door that has been tested, with very limited possibility of adjusting the size in relation to the door tested. In order to offer as many options as possible an EXAP (Extended Application Report) is being prepared in a collaboration between Dansk Brand- og sikringsteknisk Institut (DBI) and Door System.

The EXAP provides the opportunity to meet several customer requirements about, among other things, height, width, installation of alarm, magnet, automatic braking system, etc. Based on the EXAP, DBI prepares a Classification Report which is proof of what the door is approved for.

"If you have to change the wall type, add a window, seals or door in the sliding door, a new fire test is required," says Quality Manager, Brita Rosenbech, Door System.

At the same time, there are also several specific issues that need special attention. For example, fire doors must be tested in the specific wall type for the door to be CE marked. If the same door can be placed in both concrete, panel and plaster, it means that it must be tested in all 3 wall types. Another thing is the lock case, which is approved together with the door and therefore cannot always be replaced.

How do you get the final approval?

  1. Production processes must be reviewed and approved by a certification institute, a so-called FPC (Factory Production Control) approval. This must be done once a year going forward to ensure a consistent production of products. The inspection must ensure that the requirements regarding traceability, inspection and documentation in accordance with EN 16034 are met when producing the fire doors.
  2. After the approved FPC, a CPR certificate is issued by the certification body.
  3. Once the Classification Report and CPR Certificate are available, a CE label can be affixed to the fire sliding door.
  4. Together with the CE mark, the performance declaration (DoP = Declaration of Performance) is the customer's proof that the door is an approved fire door according to EN 16034.

When new standards are being implemented, research results play an important role. The purpose of testing fire doors is ultimately about protecting lives and property.

What is the CE marking?

The CE marking is an administrative marking that indicates conformity with health, safety and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area. With the CE marking, the manufacturer declares that his product meets the requirements of the applicable EC directives.

Product performance must be defined beforehand and stated in the 'declaration of performance' document. This document provides a brief description of the product to the buyer.

If clients can access our updated Hazard info sheets about Fire doors in RM Library via If Login.

Not yet a client, contact us.

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