exapThe publication of the new EN 16034 harmonised standard for fire-resistant doors and windows paves the way for the CE marking of this type of product. Standard EN 16034 focuses on the fire-resisting and smoke-control characteristics of fire doors and windows in the event of a fire, but does not specify the characteristics these products should exhibit in the absence of fire. CE marking only applies when there is a harmonised standard to regulate the products’ characteristics in regular use.
At the moment, CE marking only applies to external pedestrian doorsets (EN 14351-1) and industrial, commercial and garage doors and gates (EN 13241). Internal pedestrian doorsets must await the publication of harmonised standard prEN 14351-2, which is currently in draft stage.
Variation within product families: a key issue in CE marking
The CE marking of fire doors and windows is governed by system 1, which requires the involvement of a Notified Body in the collection of samples; the issuing of a declaration of performance; and periodic audits to monitor production controls within a plant.
The declaration of performance is of critical importance in the CE marking of fire doors and windows since these products are usually marketed as product families, comprising a range of sizes, measurements, thicknesses, densities, fixing mechanisms, fittings, etc. Such variations in product characteristics can significantly impact on a product’s ability to withstand fire and can therefore affect the outcome of tests.
Importance of the EN 15269 Extended Application (EXAP) standards
The data contained within fire-resistance test reports can only be used for the CE marking of identical products to those tested, or products that vary in a strictly defined number of ways according to the Direct Field of Application defined in the test standard (EN 1634-1). Testing each and every possible product variant would impose an unfeasible cost and time outlay on manufacturers. For this reason, the European Technical Committee CEN/TC 127 issued a series of Standards that set the rules for the extended application of fire test results (EXAP). These EXAP Standards set out the procedures by which laboratory experts can conduct technical studies to assess the impact of product variations on test results.
Since an EXAP report is equivalent to a test report when carrying out a fire-classification in accordance with EN 13501-2, it can be used as a basis for CE marking. The EXAP standards allow manufacturers to radically reduce the number of tests required to bring a range of fire-resistant doors and windows to market.
Identification of test samples to maximise the variations covered by the EXAP standards
Before launching a test campaign, manufacturers are advised to get in touch with both the test laboratory and the notified product certification body. The three parties involved should work together to identify and agree on the most appropriate test programme to maximise the number of variations covered by the extended application reports. Any products not covered by the scope of these reports will fall outside the field of application of the fire resistance classification and will not, therefore, be able to proceed to CE marking.
Although only accredited testing laboratories can issue extended application reports, manufacturers are advised to review the relevant product standards before embarking on a new test or test campaign. This will make them better placed to make informed decisions when it comes to agreeing on the testing plan.
It is also important to bear in mind that there are certain technical limitations imposed by the size of the test furnaces as well as by the extended application rules themselves that may prevent some doors from gaining CE marking.