In response to the urgent demand for more fire-testing facilities in the UK, a major new fire resistance testing laboratory at Blockley, Gloucestershire, has opened, featuring two of the largest furnaces of their kind.
UL Solutions, a global leader in applied safety science, in partnership with the Fire Protection Association (FPA), a national fire-safety organisation, is opening a new fire-resistance testing laboratory for building products and systems, doors and windows, fire stopping, joint systems and related fire resistance products.
Located in Blockley, Gloucestershire, the facility features fire-resistance test furnaces, funded by UL Solutions, that will benefit manufacturers from the UK, Europe and worldwide who require independent fire testing and certification. The testing capabilities at the laboratory will also be beneficial to manufacturers seeking UKCA and CE marking services.
The FPA’s BS 8414 test rigs at Moreton-in-Marsh are now complemented by the two new furnaces at Blockley. The large 4m-by-3m wall furnace can accommodate larger test samples, and more systems can be tested simultaneously, allowing UL Solutions to provide customers with expedited results. A state-of-the-art CCTV high-resolution camera system allows tests to be recorded and live streamed.
‘This new laboratory offers much-needed extra capacity for fire-resistance testing, and we’re delighted to have worked with the FPA on this project,’ says Karine Johnfroe, vice president and general manager of the Built Environment group at UL Solutions.
‘The partnership between the FPA and UL Solutions demonstrates our shared mission of working for a safer world. With the Blockley laboratory and by offering services to help meet regulatory and code requirements, we are able to provide trust and confidence to code authorities while supporting contractors and building owners that building products they use to meet regulatory and code requirements.’
The opening of the new laboratory is welcome news for manufacturers, specifiers and contractors. In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy of 2017, they are now required to provide detailed test data for their projects and will now have increased independent testing capacity in the UK.
The laboratory’s location in central England, the fire safety expertise that the two parties bring, and the synergies that come from UL Solutions cooperating with the FPA, will help satisfy the needs for independent testing capacity and help ensure better fire-safety compliance for a wide range of construction products and systems. Although the fire-resistance laboratory has been developed primarily to support UK-based manufacturers, it also serves as a resource for businesses outside the UK wishing to access the post-Brexit market, who can use it to confirm that their products meet UK requirements and standards.
‘The FPA is delighted to be part of this dynamic collaboration with UL Solutions that will further enhance capacity and capabilities at our Blockley site,’ said Jonathan O’Neill OBE, the FPA’s managing director.
‘UL Solutions certification is universally recognised as providing trust and confidence to code authorities that products meet code requirements. Now, as a result of our work together, manufacturers and system providers will not only have access to the tests and certifications required by UK regulations but will also be able to satisfy the requirements of regulators around the world.’
The Blockley facility complements the existing UL Solutions testing and certification services provided across the UK, covering facades, cladding building envelope systems, and door hardware testing, including testing to a wide range of North American and European standards.
A global leader in applied safety science, UL Solutions transforms safety, security and sustainability challenges into opportunities for customers in more than 100 countries. UL Solutions delivers testing, inspection and certification services, together with software products and advisory offerings, that support our customers’ product innovation and business growth.
The FPA is the UK’s leading fire-safety organisation, working to identify the dangers of fire and help customers reduce any fire-related risks through research, consultancy, training, publications, risk surveying and auditing. With over 4,000 members, the FPA actively seeks to move fire safety standards forward by lobbying government.