Requirements and Regulations for dampers

British & European Standards

These are published standards on product definition, testing and classification, system requirements, recommendations and maintenance.

Approved Documents

These are published guides described as practical guidance to meeting the requirements of the building regulations.

Requirements.

The Building Regulations This is the law.

Certification Standards

These are standards published by certification bodies to ensure products have undergone the necessary third party testing. They are then used by a notified body as the basis to ensure that products remain as tested, and that changes are re-tested or assessed by qualified personnel. There are further documents available, which are referenced in ADB that give details to designers to allow the consideration of business risk issues from smoke and fire - i.e. financial loss and is sponsored by insurers, to help assess premiums.

Building Regulations

By following the instructions in the approved documents you will fulfil the requirements of the regulations. If you can prove (with evidence or calculation) that another method is satisfactory you may use this, this is called fire engineering, but must be approved by a Building Control Authority (BCA) before use.

England & Wales

The document that gives an interpretation of the rules for Fire Safety is Approved Document B (ADB). This is available as a free download from the Planning Portal website.

It recommends the use of products meeting independent certification schemes, such schemes certifying compliance with the requirements of a recognised document, which is appropriate to the purpose for which the material is to be used. In addition to life safety it mentions the protection of property, including the building itself, stating that this may require additional measures, and insurers may seek their own higher standards, before accepting the insurance risk.

There have been a considerable number of changes with regard to fire dampers. They now have their own section giving very specific guidance.

  • Paragraphs 5.46 to 5.48 Mechanical ventilation and air conditioning systems state that fire dampers protecting escape routes should respond to a smoke detector or suitable fire detection system, a fusible link alone is not acceptable and this implies that some type of actuator be used. The purpose of this is to ensure early closure to prevent passage of smoke. It also states that a damper with an ES classification may be used.
  • Paragraphs 10.11 to 10.15 Fire dampers are more specific and also require actuation for fire dampers in buildings where there are levels of sleeping risk. The note that fusible link only dampers being unsuitable to protect escape routes is repeated together with the suitability of an ES rated product. 10.15 explains the requirements for E and ES classifications, to achieve any classification fire dampers must be tested to BS1366- 2:1999. A Fire Damper has an E (Integrity) classification. A Leakage Rated Fire Damper has an E (Integrity) and an S (Reduced Leakage) classification.

SmokeShield dampers fulfil the ES requirements for escape routes and areas with sleeping risk. FireShield fulfil the E requirements and can be used in all other areas for run out ducting etc.

ADB states that dampers should be mounted within the structure that they are seeking to protect and should be installed as tested.

A statement saying that fire dampers tested only to BS476 may only be appropriate for fan off situations.

For the purposes of application, what are presently known as combination fire and smoke dampers, providing that they have an ES classification to BS EN 13501-3:2005, now termed leakage rated fire dampers, actuated via a smoke detection system will fulfil the requirements for the protection of escape routes and the protection of areas with sleeping risk. Curtain fire dampers and other dampers having an E classification to BS EN 13501- 3:2005 will fulfil the general requirements for all other applications and areas.

Scotland

These exist as technical standards (AMDs). They give very similar guidance to ADB. They already include direct references to the application of European standards. They are available as a free download from the Scottish Executive website.