Fire Compliance

FIRE TESTING, INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION for passive fire protection systems – the materials of the building as opposed to the alarms, signs and sprinklers that activate when there is a fire – are critical to building safety. We provide all three with accreditation to an impressive range of UK, US and EU fire test standards. We are by far the largest fire testing laboratory in the wider region.

RESISTANCE TO FIRE TESTING is the term for testing of systems designed to contain or resist the passage of fire for a specified length of time. The sample fire door, block wall, glass partition, fire / smoke damper or similar system is installed in a frame which is then placed on the vertical open side of the fire testing furnace. 

The temperature in the furnace is raised by the computer control system to follow a prescribed time/temperature curve, and various checks for failure criteria are conducted to determine the time rating of the specimen. 

We now have four furnaces, one industry standard 3m x 3m vertical furnace, a 4m x 5m vertical furnace, a 4m x 5m horizontal furnace and a 1.8m cube furnace for ‘indicative’ (product development) tests.

REACTION TO FIRE TESTING applies to materials. All building finishes have to meet a classification for the rate of flame spread and smoke development, calorific values, self-ignition temperatures, flash ignition temperatures, non-combustibility, etc., according to the building code. This includes floor coverings, wall finishes, ceiling tiles, insulation, wiring, upholstery, coatings and so on.

Our RTF lab incorporates the Steiner Tunnel (one of about 17 in the world and the only one in the region) as well as the testing equipment for the European EN 13501-1 classification including the Single Burning Item (SBI), Cone Calorimeter, etc. Building owners, project managers and AHJ’s (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) no longer have to choose between accepting suppliers’ representations or sending the material abroad for testing. And domestic manufacturers have a convenient local facility for developing their products to meet the UAE Fire and Life Safety code.

RESISTANCE TO FIRE TESTING is the term for testing of systems designed to contain or resist the passage of fire for a specified length of time. The sample fire door, block wall, glass partition, fire / smoke damper or similar system is installed in a frame which is then placed on the vertical open side of the fire testing furnace. 

The temperature in the furnace is raised by the computer control system to follow a prescribed time/temperature curve, and various checks for failure criteria are conducted to determine the time rating of the specimen. 

We now have four furnaces, one industry standard 3m x 3m vertical furnace, a 4m x 5m vertical furnace, a 4m x 5m horizontal furnace and a 1.8m cube furnace for ‘indicative’ (product development) tests.

REACTION TO FIRE TESTING applies to materials. All building finishes have to meet a classification for the rate of flame spread and smoke development, calorific values, self-ignition temperatures, flash ignition temperatures, non-combustibility, etc., according to the building code. This includes floor coverings, wall finishes, ceiling tiles, insulation, wiring, upholstery, coatings and so on.

Our RTF lab incorporates the Steiner Tunnel (one of about 17 in the world and the only one in the region) as well as the testing equipment for the European EN 13501-1 classification including the Single Burning Item (SBI), Cone Calorimeter, etc. Building owners, project managers and AHJ’s (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) no longer have to choose between accepting suppliers’ representations or sending the material abroad for testing. And domestic manufacturers have a convenient local facility for developing their products to meet the UAE Fire and Life Safety code.

PRODUCT CERTIFICATION relates to testing and is a requirement for obtaining Civil Defence Product Approval. The idea is that there is no independent correlation between a test report and the product being offered or installed. In other words, you can’t tell that what you are buying is the same thing that was tested. Certification closes this loop. An accredited Certification Body (CB), also commonly referred as Conformity Assessment Body (CAB), verifies factory quality control, selects the sample to be tested, confirms the detailed description of the product, witnesses the testing, visits the manufacturer for periodic audits, issues a certificate and the right to use its ‘mark’, and ‘lists’ the product on line. In the case of fire doors, the CB also issues labels containing the mark which are affixed to the door.

Certifications should always be checked for validity in the issuer’s listings on line; ours can be found at www.tbwcert.com.

Product Approval

UKAS logo image
ISO 17065 Certification Body 6762
Thomas Bell-Wright logo image

PRODUCT CERTIFICATION relates to testing and is a requirement for obtaining Civil Defence Product Approval. The idea is that there is no independent correlation between a test report and the product being offered or installed. In other words, you can’t tell that what you are buying is the same thing that was tested. Certification closes this loop. An accredited Certification Body (CB), also commonly referred as Conformity Assessment Body (CAB), verifies factory quality control, selects the sample to be tested, confirms the detailed description of the product, witnesses the testing, visits the manufacturer for periodic audits, issues a certificate and the right to use its ‘mark’, and ‘lists’ the product on line. In the case of fire doors, the CB also issues labels containing the mark which are affixed to the door.

Certifications should always be checked for validity in the issuer’s listings on line; ours can be found at www.tbwcert.com.

Product Approval

  • Dubai Civil Defence Product Approval Scheme
  • Product Approval in Other Jurisdictions
  • About Certification
UKAS logo image
ISO 17065 Certification Body 6762
Thomas Bell-Wright logo image

LARGE SCALE FIRE PROPAGATION TESTING addresses the risk of fire in exterior building cladding. Many countries have developed their own test methods. The North American codes specify NFPA 285 using the ‘intermediate scale multistory apparatus’. The corresponding UK standard is BS 8414 Parts 1 & 2, while the Australian Building Regulations specify AS5113, we do all of these.

NFPA 285 consists of one room over another. There is a gas burner in the lower room to simulate a fire. The test specimen of the external cladding system, containing a window opening and instrumented with thermocouples, is constructed on a frame which is placed in front of the apparatus. The test duration is for 30 minutes and at the fifth minute another burner is placed in the window opening. It is designed to simulate a room fire which has burst out of a window.

BS 8414 and AS5113 have an 8m high, L-shaped structure with a large hearth representing a window opening. The specimen is built onto the structure (part 1 uses a concrete block base wall & part 2 uses a steel frame substructure). A large ‘crib’ of wood sticks is ignited in the hearth and the test is conducted also for 30 minutes. The test results are classified according to standard BRE 135.

HOT SMOKE TESTING to the Australian standard AS 4391, mandated by various Authorities Having Jurisdiction and Civil Defence Departments, is used to validate the smoke extraction systems in large public facilities such as warehouses, museums, car parks, building atriums, tunnels, energy rooms, stadiums and metro rail.

Hot Smoke Testing image
Hot Smoke Testing image
UKAS logo image
ISO 17065 Certification Body 6762
GAC Accreditation Center logo image
ISO 17025 Laboratory ATL 0017
IAS Accredited logo image
ISO 17025 Laboratory TL-626
IAS Accredited logo image
ISO 17020 Inspection Body AA-748
IAS Accredited logo image
ISO 17020 Special Inspections Agency SIA-211
EGOLF logo image
Member

European Group of Organisations for Fire Testing, Inspection and Certification

ENGINEERING JUDGEMENTS (EJ’S) also called Engineering Evaluations, EEV’s, come into play when materials, products or systems cannot be installed in strict accordance with the certification documents (i.e. identical to the way it was tested). This can sometimes be resolved with an EJ prepared by the Certification Body or a fire consultant, provided supporting data is available. EJs are formally justified documents based on actual test data and published science and engineering. If data cannot be provided or found we may recommend some additional indicative or full-scale testing as required to support the EJ.

COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS or CFD modelling is frequently required by AHJs as part of the analysis of the smoke management systems for car parks and building atriums. Output of CFD analysis – plots of temperature, visibility and smoke clearance height – allow designers to evaluate multiple fire scenarios and iterate between system design parameters before arriving at an optimum solution that complies with the Code requirement (i.e. “tenability criteria”) and saves cost by helping avoid over-engineered systems. While CFD simulation is carried out at the design stage, the effectiveness of the system in actual operation can be demonstrated using Hot Smoke Testing once the equipment is commissioned.

FIRE STOP AND FIRE SEAL INSPECTIONS is the third-party site-based monitoring of the installed fire safety products and systems during the construction phase, and up to and prior to the final AHJ inspections, all in accordance with the various prescribed Building Codes and Standards. Our experienced inspection team, headed by Inspection Technical Manager John Muse, helps contractors comply with codes and regulations and achieve AHJ approval at completion. We provide inspections for all Active and Passive Fire Safety and Fire Protection Systems.

How it works

The fire testing is managed by David Campbell who joined us November 2014. Prior to then he was Fire Safety Professional with over 25 years’ experience in the Fire Safety Engineering and Fire Compliance Industry including 5 years in the GCC.

Our fire testing is accredited to ISO 17025 for US,EN,BS and ISO testing standards by both UKAS and by ENAS; we are a Subcontractor Laboratory for both UL and Intertek, and provide testing in support of certification for Exova Warringtonfire, BM Trada,IFC,BRE/LPCB and others.

There is no other facility capable of conducting this kind of testing in the entire region.

Resistance to Fire Testing

Commercial buildings are divided into compartments, each of which should contain a fire for a specified length of time. For example a fire in a hotel room should be contained by the corridor wall, and a fire should not be able to spread to an exit stair. This type of fire performance is called Resistance to Fire. The most common elements in this category are fire doors, but the same applies to walls, service penetrations, garbage chutes, ceilings/floors etc.

Reaction to Fire Testing

This typically applies to finishes but includes particularly, insulation materials. It also applies to household furniture, train seats and so on. The idea is that the material must not ignite or encourage the fire to spread, or generate a lot of smoke. The primary test that we conduct is a US test, ASTM E84 in the Steiner Tunnel test furnace. However we will be adding a range of small scale tests which will be active from the Spring of 2017.

Fire Propagation Testing

This is a test which relates to building facades. In recent decades facade systems have evolved which use flammable or combustible components and tests have evolved to keep them safe. Our testing is conducted in accordance with NFPA 285. In the UAE there is a lot of focus on the use of ACP (aluminium composite panels) which has a core which may or may not contain a fire retardant.

The reason for Certification is that without it, a purchaser has no idea whether the product being offered to him along with a nice test report, is actually the same as the product that was tested. It is usually not possible to tell by inspection whether the product is the same because much of what makes it up is concealed by finishes. Small differences in the manufacturing process, such as a change of material or adhesive, for example, can be the difference between passing and failing a test.

In a shop without a consciousness of following quality procedures and rules, it is quite easy for small but significant changes to be made to the process which invalidate the test results. Of course there is also the possibility of deliberately preparing a sample for the test and then substituting less expensive components.

It is a requirement of the Civil Defence and Fire Departments that products for which their approval is requested must carry this Certification.

The process has a number of simple steps:

  • The manufacturer must have a Quality Management system such as ISO 9000/9001 in place.
  • The Certification Body (which has to be ‘accredited’ to ISO 17065) visits the factory to check their QM system and select a sample from production for testing.
  • The sample is sent to the lab and tested by the Testing Team, and the test is witnessed by the Certification engineer.
  • If the test is successful, a full QM audit is performed at the factory and the factory has to correct any non-compliances.
  • On satisfactory conclusion of the non-compliances a Certificate is issued with detailed information on the construction of the sample tested and the provenance of its components. This information is also uploaded to a publicly accessable website http://www.tbwcert.com/. At the same time the manufacturer is given authority to use our Certification Mark.
  • The factory is visited twice a year to ensure continuing adherence to its QM system.
  • In case there is any kind of problem with the QM system or the product or the use of the Certification Mark, the Certification can be withdrawn and removed from the website. It is essential to check on line that the Certification is current.

Many clients require Civil Defence approval but are unsure of the how the system works. We need to know what the product is so that we can guide you to the correct test, but since we test to US, UK and EU standards, we need to help you decide which of these would be most advantageous. For example, the US door and wall tests end with being blasted by a fire hose, and are therefore more difficult to pass than the UK or EU. However there may be strategic reasons for wanting to be qualified to the US standard.

Assuming that you want us to provide the Certification, (you don’t have to, we provide testing for all of the certification bodies) we will schedule a visit to your manufacturing facility to 1) check that you have a Quality Management System (such as or similar to ISO 9000/9001) and 2) to select the item or materials to be tested from production.

We will do a full audit of the QMS later; we don’t want to burden you with this cost before the sample has passed the test. The next step is that we have to receive a full and comprehensive description of your test sample. We have a policy of not fixing a date for the test until we receive this, and the reason is that we cannot issue a report without this information and we don’t want to have reports pending for months after the test because the client hasn’t provided the data.

Subsequently we fix a date for the testing and follow a schedule to make our preparations and for you to install your sample. Depending on the test there may be some instrumentation that has to be installed on the sample prior to the test.

Failing the test can be a positive result. The aim is to just pass; if you pass with flying colours and far exceed the required time, your system may be over engineered and more costly to make than necessary putting you at a competitive disadvantage.

If the sample does fail, you will probably go back and make some adjustments and schedule another test. Otherwise, we will schedule the audit of your QMS. Having a QMS is an important part of the Certification process because it requires you to have written procedures for what you do and to keep records. When we audit, we can check to make sure that these records are being accurately and regularly kept, so that we should be able to tell if any changes have been made to the production, which would invalidate the test and certification. The outcome of our audit will be a list of observations and non-compliances which need to be addressed prior to our issuing the Certification.

Once these are completed and evidence produced to the satisfaction of our auditor, Certification will be granted, a certificate issued, your product listed on the website http://www.tbwcert.com/ and our Certification Mark issued to you either in electronic form for you to incorporate (according to our guidelines) in your packaging, or in the case of doors for example, as individual labels.

The certification is maintained by follow-up audits either 2 times per year (if you have ISO 9001) or 3 if you have a home-grown QMS.

Fire is a very real danger in buildings, and the ability to contain it is a necessity for the protection of life and property. The importance of fire testing is so that authorities can verify that assemblies used in building or industrial locations where fire has to be contained or excluded, meet the specified fire separation time criteria defined by building codes. This allows people to vacate the building, allows time for fire fighters to reach the scene, and minimizes losses, when a fire occurs.

Testing can also be evaluated as an asset, putting a manufacturer ahead of its competitors if the products have been tested prior to the start of the project. Having an already tested or certified range of fire products will give Architects, Contractors and Consultants, comfort and trust but will also avoid any potential complications. Testing must be linked with Research and Development in order to enhance products and fire systems performances.

“We all know that there have been many major fires over the last few years and hopefully the presence of this testing furnace will now make it easier for builders to comply with the regulations and help make our buildings safer to live and work in.” Tom Bell-Wright

BS, EN, ISO, IMO, ASTM, NFPA, UL, FM

Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants is accredited under ISO17025 for Resistance-to-Fire Test both by UKAS and ENAS for the list of standards below:

EN 1363-1 – Fire Resistance Tests: General requirements.

EN 1363-2 – Fire Resistance Tests – Part 2: Alternative and additional procedures.

EN 1364-1 – Fire Resistance Tests for Non Loadbearing elements – Part 1: Walls.

EN 1634-1 – Fire resistance and smoke control tests for door, shutter and openeable window assemblies and elements of building hardware – Part 1: Fire Resistance Tests for doors, shutters and openeable windows

EN 13501-2 – Fire classification of construction products and building elements – Part 2: Classification using data from fire resistance tests, excluding ventilation services.

BS 476-20 – Fire tests on building materials and structures – Part 20: Method for determination of the fire resistance of elements of construction (General Requirements).

BS 476-22 – Fire tests on building materials and structures – Part 22: Method for determination of the fire resistance of non-loadbearing elements of construction

ISO 834-1 – Fire-resistance tests – Elements of building construction – Part 1: General Requirements

ISO 834-8 – Fire-resistance tests – Elements of building construction – Part 8: Specific requirements for non-loadbearing vertical separating elements

ISO 3008 – Fire-resistance tests – Door and shutter assemblies

ISO 3009 – Fire-resistance tests – Elements of building construction – Glazed elements

ASTM E119 – Standard Test Method for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials

ASTM E2226 – Standard Practice for Application of Hose Stream

NFPA 251 – Standard Methods of Tests of Fire Resistance of Building Construction and Materials

NFPA 252 – Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Door Assemblies

NFPA 257 – Standard on Fire Test for Window and Glass Block Assemblies

UL 10B – Fire Tests of Door Assemblies

UL 10C – Positive Pressure Fire Tests of Door Assemblies

UL 263 – Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials

UL 555 – Fire Dampers

IMO – Recommendation for Fire Resistance Tests for A, B and F Class A. 754 (18) Divisions

Fire Systems Third Party Inspections is the third-party site-based monitoring of the installed fire safety products and systems, during the construction phase up to and prior to the final AHJ or CD inspections in accordance with the various prescribed Building Codes and Standards. Our competent inspection team, headed by Inspection Technical Manager John Muse, will assist and guide your project to satisfy compliance with the code. We provide inspections for all Active and Passive Fire Safety and Fire Protection Systems.

Team, Expertise

The fire testing is managed by David Campbell who joined us November 2014. Prior to then he was Fire Safety Professional with over 25 years’ experience in the Fire Safety Engineering and Fire Compliance Industry including 5 years in the GCC.

Our fire testing is accredited to ISO 17025 for US,EN,BS and ISO testing standards by both UKAS and by ENAS; we are a Subcontractor Laboratory for both UL and Intertek, and provide testing in support of certification for Exova Warringtonfire, BM Trada,IFC,BRE/LPCB and others.

There is no other facility capable of conducting this kind of testing in the entire region.

FIRE Testing Explained

Resistance to Fire Testing

Reaction to Fire Testing

Fire Propagation Testing

Product Types Tested

The reason for Certification is that without it, a purchaser has no idea whether the product being offered to him along with a nice test report, is actually the same as the product that was tested. It is usually not possible to tell by inspection whether the product is the same because much of what makes it up is concealed by finishes. Small differences in the manufacturing process, such as a change of material or adhesive, for example, can be the difference between passing and failing a test.

The Process

Many clients require Civil Defence approval but are unsure of the how the system works. We need to know what the product is so that we can guide you to the correct test, but since we test to US, UK and EU standards, we need to help you decide which of these would be most advantageous. For example, the US door and wall tests end with being blasted by a fire hose, and are therefore more difficult to pass than the UK or EU. However there may be strategic reasons for wanting to be qualified to the US standard.

Value in Fire Testing

Fire is a very real danger in buildings, and the ability to contain it is a necessity for the protection of life and property. The importance of fire testing is so that authorities can verify that assemblies used in building or industrial locations where fire has to be contained or excluded, meet the specified fire separation time criteria defined by building codes. This allows people to vacate the building, allows time for fire fighters to reach the scene, and minimizes losses, when a fire occurs.

Testing Standards

The TBWIC Fire Compliance Team utilizes a wide range of Testing Standards by BS, EN, ISO, IMO, ASTM, NFPA, UL, FM.

Fire Systems 3P Inspections

Fire Systems Third Party Inspections is the third-party site-based monitoring of the installed fire safety products and systems, during the construction phase up to and prior to the final AHJ or CD inspections in accordance with the various prescribed Building Codes and Standards. Our competent inspection team, headed by Inspection Technical Manager John Muse, will assist and guide your project to satisfy compliance with the code. We provide inspections for all Active and Passive Fire Safety and Fire Protection Systems.

ACCREDITATION

Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants is Accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 by United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for Building air leakage testing and water permeability, water leakage field check and air leakage and hot smoke tests. We are also Accredited to ISO/IEC 17025: 2005 by International Accreditation Service, Inc. for Large-scale Fire Propagation Testing.

UKAS / ISO 17025
IAS / ISO 17025

UKAS

UKAS logo image
ISO 17025 Laboratory 4439​

IAS

IAS Accredited logo image
ISO 17025 Laboratory TL-626

CLIENTS

Since 1995 we have provided our specialist knowledge and expertise on over 1,000 of the region’s major architectural projects.

TESTIMONIALS

Having worked on many prestigious projects, our Clients have always been satisfied with our input and have always recommended us for more. We are proud to present some of our Clients’ testimonials under Facade Consulting, Curtain Wall Testing and Fire Testing.

Fire Testing

ISO & UKAS