Inline flame armour fire shutter from the inside

A complete guide to fire shutters

Look no further than SSS Industrial Doors for your complete guide to fire shutters. It’s crucial to begin with stating that it is a legal requirement that all fire shutters manufactured and installed after 1 November 2019 are compliant to the harmonized standard BS EN 16034. Failure to provide the correct documentation results in a non-compliant fire shutter, which cannot be conformity marked.

During 2016-17, there were 19,410 recorded fires in UK businesses with 30% being deliberately caused. This can have devastating results upon businesses, causing serious damage to company assets and ultimately endangering lives.

A flame armour fire shutter needs to comply with the new regulations and standards, ensuring that your business is protected for if the worst were to happen. A fire shutter is a life-critical product, which is designed to operate in the event of a fire, reducing the spread of the fire within a building and ensuring that a safe evacuation can occur.

To ensure that your business is protected in the event of fire, order fully CE marked fire shutters direct from the manufacturer.

Our guide to fire shutters goes quite in depth, so we’ve created a handy list of contents for you to jump to the section you’d like to know more about.

 

Contents

  1. What are fire shutters?
  2. How fire shutters work
  3. Latest legislation
  4. How are fire shutters tested and certified?
  5. Maintenance and the law of fire shutters
  6. Types of fire shutters
  7. Where can fire shutters be used?
  8. Benefits of fire shutters

 

What are fire shutters?

 

A fire shutter has a similar design to a standard roller shutter. However, several alterations have been made to the design to ensure that the integrity of the fire shutter is not compromised under fire conditions. In the event of a fire, a fire shutter is designed to either ‘close’ and contain a fire, or alternatively, it is designed to fully ‘open’ and be utilised as an emergency exit.

 

Due to the server pressures which occur during a fire, a fire shutter has been designed to expand and continue to operate as intended. To ensure that the expansion occurs and the integrity of the fire shutter is retained, a manufacturer is legally required to have a specimen tested by a notified body. This is compulsory requirement as per the Construction Product Regulations 2013.

 

Fire roller shutters can be activated by either the triggering of the fire alarm system or by a local heat/smoke detector. The type of activation required must be considered within the business’s risk assessments. However, the different options available can be discussed, simply contact one of the members of our friendly sales team.

 

How fire shutters work

 

A fire shutter is designed to only be operated during fire conditions. Therefore, they are often discreetly hidden within a building and will only operate when required. There are different types of fire shutters depending on the application required. A standard fire shutter will operate upon receiving a volt-free signal from the fire alarm system. Once triggered, the shutter will either ‘open’ or ‘close’ as intended. A conventional inline fire shutter can also be utilised for more industrial applications, and not only can they be activated by the alarm system, but they can also trigger the auto-solenoid release mechanism, which would result in a controlled gravitational descent.

A fire shutter can also be equipped with a control panel. This can be programmed accordingly to allow options like a controlled descent, two-stage closing or only activating by a local heat detector. Depending on the control panel, they can also provide an audio and visual warning, which will notify those in proximity to the fire shutter, which is activated and operating. For a more in-depth look into the mechanics, head over to our blog on how do fire shutters work?

 

Latest legislation

Legal, historic building to support latest legislation and the guide to fire shutters

As of 1 November 2019, new legislation was introduced regarding the manufacturing and installation guide to fire shutters. It is now mandatory that all new fire shutters must be CE marked and compliant to BS EN 16034. This replaces the previous standard BS 476 part 22 (1987), which is now a non-compliant regulation and cannot be CE marked.

 

Further to this, all fire shutters require additional test data for being installed to both ‘flexible’ (timber or drywall) and ‘rigid’ (steel or masonry) structural types. This is a legal requirement and is clearly stated in the Extended Application Report (BS EN 15269-10). The new regulations require manufacturers to test both structural types to ensure that the fire shutters integrity is not compromised when installed to a different structure. The standard BS EN 15269-10 clearly states that changing the structural type is not permissible unless additional test data has been acquired.

 

The previous standard BS 476 part 22 (1987) allowed for the additional testing data for both ‘flexible’ or ‘rigid’ structures to be cascaded from other manufacturers or collective bodies. Therefore, this resulted in one fire shutter being tested by a particular manufacturer and their assessment data being shared with multiple manufacturers. A direct result of this allowed for fire shutters to then be sold within the UK marketplace which were not physically tested for both structural types. A consequence of this, manufacturers were not being provided with their additional test documentation for their own fire shutters, which is a problem due to design differences between manufacturers. Therefore, it would be impossible to predict how that product reacts under fire conditions on a different structural type than tested.

 

Clearly, this is a problem, as a fire shutter reacts differently depending on the structure it is installed upon and the type of fixings supplied with the product. To compound the matter further, the previous standard BS 476 part 22 (1987) did not require for a fire shutter to be conformity marked (CE mark). The new standard identified these problems and rectified it by ensuring that all manufacturers of fire shutters to BS EN 16034 must acquire their own additional test data for their fire shutter products and conformity marking, as this is a legal requirement.

 

How are fire shutters tested and certified?

 

In order for a product to be fully certified and CE marked, it must be rigorously tested by a notified body. SSS Industrial Doors Ltd had two flame armour fire shutters tested to BS EN 1634-1. This is the furnace test which was conducted at Warringtonfire and allows the manufacturer of compliant fire shutters to BS EN 16034:2014. It is a legal requirement for a manufacturer to provide the correct testing documentation and certification from a notified body, such as Warringtonfire. A fire shutter must be supplied with a product drawing, installation instructions and a declaration of performance. In accordance with the Construction Products Regulations (EU 305/2011), failure to provide the following documentation is evidence that the company cannot CE mark a shutter to the standard BS EN 16034.

 

Testing a fire shutter

 

fire tested shutters

Manufacturers use independent testing bodies such as Warringtonfire. This is a statutory requirement of the Construction Product Regulations 2013 which states all harmonized standards require a notified body assessment to declare the performance of the tested product.

 

The following stages occur prior, during and after the furnace test (BS EN 1634-1):

 

  1. The first stage is to design, implement and install the original fire shutter specimen on structural opening provided by the notified body. SSS Industrial Doors Ltd first manufactured a fire shutter to be installed onto a masonry structure, which surpassed the four-hour rating on 8th February 2019. Further testing was ascertained on the 7th July 2020 for installation onto a timber structure, where the fire shutter achieved a ninety-minute integrity rating.
  2. Prior to igniting the furnace, it is a requirement that the fire shutter be subject to appropriate mechanical pre-test conditioning in accordance with the requirement of EN 16034:2014, Annex A. This results in the manufacturer and notified body observing the fire shutter operating a cycle test, ability-to-release test, self-closing test, and a final setting being observed.
  3. Once the fire shutter has been subject to pre-test conditioning, sensors are then installed internally and externally within the product. This supplies Warringtonfire with the necessary information to perceive if the shutter is successful to the new regulations BS EN 16034. The information obtained during the testing is used to provide the Extend Application Report, however a copy of this data is also given to the manufacturer.
  4. Once the furnace is ignited, a timer will start and the temperature, radiation levels and performance under the fire conditions are recorded. If the fire shutter is subject to any mechanical or design failures, then it will become unsuccessful and fail the test, this results in a full retest to be required.
  5. Finally, once the fire shutter surpasses the desired integrity rating, the data is collated and is used to generate the Extended Application Report BS EN 15269-10, which is necessary guidance for the manufacturer on how to manufacture fire shutters to a greater-than-tested specification.

 

Maintenance and the law of fire shutters


It is vital that once a fire shutter has been installed, regular checks and tests must be carried out. In line with Regulation 5 of The Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, it states that all workplace “equipment, devices and systems to which this regulation applies shall be maintained (including cleaned as appropriate) in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.” Failure to adhere to these routine maintenance checks could result in a product failing during the event of a fire and ultimately putting lives at risk.

Fire risk assessments

Fire extinguisher and hose reel

As a building or business owner, you are also responsible for ensuring you carry out regular fire risk assessments and abide by the government’s 5-step fire safety risk assessment checklist:

 

  1. Fire hazards
  2. People at risk
  3. Evaluate, and act
  4. Record, plan and train
  5. Review

 

Fire regulations for catering facilities

Chef cooking in the kitchen with tall flames from the pan

The government also advises that for factories, warehouses, retail stores and commercial buildings “wherever possible, any extensive catering facilities, particularly those with deep fat fryers, should be located in separate buildings. If located within other buildings, they should be separated from the rest of the building by fire-resisting construction and provided with adequate ventilation” and “where fire shutters are used, these should be capable of operating both manually and by fusible link. Where a fire detection and warning system is installed, the fire shutter should also be designed to close on the activation of the system. Any automatic shutter should operate via a controlled geared mechanism.”

 

Types of fire shutters

 

Fire rated shutters come in a range of sizes, finishes and models, and are manufactured as a bespoke product. The three main types are:

 

1. Tubular motor fire shutter

 

  • Designed for smaller applications (minimum size of 650mm)
  • Manufactured with the single-phase motor internally fitted into the barrel
  • Ideal for applications limited by spacing
  • A power down device – requires a battery backup supply to operate
  • Supplied with a UPS-FDI panel, which can receive a volt-free signal from the fire alarm and close on signal

 

White commercial fire shutters

 

2. Gravity fail-safe tubular motor fire shutter

 

  • Manufactured to a minimum size of 350mm.
  • Manufactured with the single-phase motor internally fitted into the barrel
  • Brake is electrically powered in the close position and upon a power failure or either compromised electricals, the fire shutter will operate on a controlled gravity descent
  • Offers an additional fail-safe as the door will still descend regardless of electrical power
  • Audio visual warning built into the control panel

 

gravity fail-safe fire shutter

3. Inline (external motor) fire shutter

 

  • Utilised for larger industrial applications
  • Single or three phase motor can be utilized, the motor is externally fitted to the coil casing and operates a chain driven mechanism
  • No power required for these doors to activate in the event of a fire due to auto-solenoid release mechanism
  • When the thermal fusible link unit is triggered, they drop via a controlled descent

 

inline external motor fire shutter

 

Wondering what type of fire shutter would be right for your premises? Contact our expert, friendly team to get any questions answered.

Fire Rating Levels

 

At SSS Industrial Doors, we offer the following fire integrity ratings:

 

  • One Hour Fire Protection: FR-1H Model (E60)
  • Two Hour Fire Protection: FR-2H Model (E120)
  • Four Hour Fire Protection: FR-4H Model (E240)

 

Structural types:

 

The Extended Application Report BS EN 15269-10 clearly states in section J.1.2 that additional test data is required for fixing to both structural types. SSS Industrial Doors Ltd have successful attained test data for both fixing structures and can fully certify a fire shutter.

 

  • Flexible structure tested (timber, drywall)
  • Rigid structure tested (masonry, steel)

 

Fire shutter finishes:

 

Fire shutters can match and work with a range of interior designs, thanks to powder coating finishes, or you can opt for a galvanised steel look.

 

  • Polyester powder coated (British Standard or RAL)
  • Galvanised steel

 

Where can fire shutters be used?

 

Our guide to fire shutters in regards to their ideal applications recommends them for large, industrial or commercial buildings, but they can be utilised for a wide range of applications:

 

  • Architects
  • Factories
  • Retail
  • Schools
  • Fire strategists
  • Offices
  • Warehouses
  • Building contractors
  • Trade customers
  • Exportation

 

Benefits of fire shutters

 

  • Automatic activation
  • Gravity-fail safe options
  • Battery backups
  • Aesthetic and discreet with powder-coated finishes
  • Extra level of security and fire protection
  • Varied options
  • Controlled closing
  • Valued by the government
  • Rigorously tested to high standards
  • Rust-resisting materials

 

We hope you enjoyed our in-depth guide to fire shutters. For any more info – whether you’re stuck on what type of fire shutter you need, or you need to know more about how one could fit your premises – simply contact or call our friendly team today on 01204 853243; they are experts in their field.

 

 

 

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