The burning issue of fire-rated doors and windows

// fire, security and safety

As we mark Fire Door Safety Week Lancashire-based fire door and window specialists Hart & Co director, Chris Hart, explains how private and social landlords and local authorities must get their specification right.

Q. Tell us about Hart & Co
A. Hart & Co was established in 1979 and is one of the North West’s leading fabricators of REHAU PVC-U windows and doors. Our range of REHAU windows includes casements, tilt turn, vertical sliders, fully reversible styles and the RAUFERNO fire windows and AGILA Fire doors. In January we extended this to include a fire division specialising in the manufacture of the RAUFERNO fire rated windows. It’s a highly specialist field and few fabricators have undertaken the stringent product and quality control testing necessary to obtain accreditation to manufacture RAUFERNO windows.

Q. How do fire rated windows differ from standard PVC-U?
A. RAUFERNO window profiles feature an intumescent strip which expands with heat within the specially reinforced frame to create a 30-minute fire rating (complying with the requirements of BS476 Pts 20 and 22). This means there is at least 30 minutes of protection against a fire.

Q. Do public sector clients always understand their duties with regards to fire safety?
A. A surprising number of private and social housing landlords overlook the requirement for fire windows when they are including fire doors. We provide our customers with a free window design service and technical advice to ensure they meet their regulatory duties in full and get the right specification for every window or door.

Q. What is your advice to public sector organisations concerned about fire safety?
A. If you aren’t sure whether your windows and doors are compliant then get a fire risk assessment. If windows need upgrading to fire rated ones, don’t delay. PVC-U fire rated windows offer a cost-effective, low maintenance and attractive solution.

Q. You recently carried out work for a social housing provider with a similar problem, didn’t you?
A. Yes, we supplied PVC-U fire rated windows for nearly 60 flats in Salford for Salix Homes. They carried out an independent fire risk assessment and identified a number of flats opening onto communal areas which required a fire rated window and door to comply with codes of practice under the Fire Safety Reform Order 2005.

We fabricated windows up to 2m wide using separate 1m square fixed light frames joined with an expansion coupler for the flats. These replicated the look of the previously installed windows with opening lights. The new windows were double glazed with 4mm float glass on the inside of the sealed unit and pyroshield wired glass on the outside.

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