Thorough certification and testing is vital if merchants are to trust that their customers are gtting the right products, according to Sheffield-based architectural ironmongery company SPARKA.
Co-founder Kelvin Hughes says: “Those in the fire door hardware industry will know there can be no compromises when it comes to safety. After all, these products will be used for saving lives. That’s why adhering to minimum requirements won’t cut it: going above and beyond them is the best way to ensure the confidentiality of your end-users.”
UKCA is the new UK product marking that will be required for certain products being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most products that previously required the CE mark.
However, Hughes explains that, as it will not be recognized in the EU market, any products to be sold in European Union countries that require CE marking will still do so. An independent third body will certify these markings and issue the CE or UKCA marking.
“Alongside these certifications, businesses are then required to issue a Declaration of Performance (DOP) certification, a key part of the Construction Products Regulation, which provides information on the performance of a product, helping increase transparency in the single market.
“But beyond minimum requirements, there are various third-party certifications that businesses can use to provide audits of their processes,” he says.
“For example, we have been certified by two third parties: Certifire and IFC. Both of these bodies audit our manufacturing process, to ensure we are trustworthy and carry through legitimate and consistent production.
“Certifire assures performance, quality, reliability and traceability of products and systems. The brand is recognized by regulatory authorities worldwide as an international mark of fire safety across a diverse range of products including hardware. It is suitable for manufacturers of fire protection products and systems, as it offers the opportunity to differentiate products and processes from non-certified equivalents, thus helping to access markets worldwide.
“IFC is a UKAS-accredited and internationally recognised provider of customer-focused independent certification and is also a Notified Certification Body for certificating products for CE Marking under the Construction Products Directive.
“These certifications also provide information on the exact types of fire doors products can be used on, such as either 30-minute doors or 60-minute doors, plus the types of material like wood, steel or composite doors. This is invaluable information for builders’ merchants and end-users alike.”
Some of the tests commonly used on door handles, latches, hinges, and locks, include: using corrosive salt sprays, putting the product into a furnace, and putting the products onto test rigs, sometimes up to 200,000 cycles. Alongside extensive testing and certification, customers will want to know if the products they are purchasing have been tested thoroughly and effectively, in order to be reassured of their safety.