Recent Developments In Glazing

News: Recent Developments In Glazing

There have been three main developments in fire resistant glass, all of which rely on adapted / specialist intumescent glazing systems and for different reasons:

1. Composite doors

There has been a growth in the use of composite doors (GRP faced mineral/foam core doors), typically as entrance doors for flats, with a corresponding increase in use of insulated glass units (IGU’s) within them. Door assemblies based on plastics and foams require a completely different approach to the more traditional timber or steel based constructions. There have been developments in glazing systems for these types of units within composite doors, which must be strictly followed if the IGU is to provide required level of fire resistance. Fire rated composite doors is a rapidly growing industry and there is a significant level of malpractice at the installation stage arising from a lack of understanding or appreciation of the glazing system.

2. Toughened glass technology

Fire resistant glass is a vital part of building design and there are two basic types, insulated and uninsulated. The insulated glass has more than one glass layer interleaved with another material which provides insulation to the required level by increasing the number of layers. Uninsulated glass was traditionally made fire resistant by the use of embedded wires forming a grid. This is very effective but has the disadvantage that the wires are visible. Later it was found that clear modified toughened glass was able to withstand the fire resistance test but only toughened borosilicate glass was sufficiently reliable since it benefitted from low thermal expansion compared with soda lime glass. Insufficiently toughened soda lime glass can fail quite quickly in a fire test, around 6 to 10 minutes being commonplace. However, recently there have been significant developments in toughened soda lime glass and a number of glass manufacturers are now able to produce reliable fire-rated toughened glass products.

These newer, more reliable modified toughened glass types still require appropriate intumescent seals around the perimeter in order to consistently work. Edge cover and temperature difference across the face of the glass is still critical to performance, as is protection to the beads from the heat of the glass and ensuring the pocket around the glass is adequately protected when the glass begins to expand and move. Intumescent seals help to accommodate the distortion of the soda lime glass and the consequent movement of the beads. Some intumescent glazing tapes are better than others in this respect so it is important to use the product that has been proven to work for the particular glass in question. Interchangeability of the intumescent glazing tape is not usually possible in fire glazing applications when using modified toughened soda lime glass.

3. Higher performance doorsets

There has been an increase in the use and specification of higher performance doorsets, which has required the development of innovative glazing systems that can accommodate different design features, bead materials, aperture sizes, as well as cope with other types of glass (other than ceramic which is the normal ‘go to’ glass at this level of performance). These types of glazing systems are highly specialist and must be installed correctly to cope with the extreme demands of 90 and 120 minute tests.

Further guidance on fire resistant glazing systems may be sought from the Intumescent Fire Seals Association:
Tel: +44 (0) 1844 276928
Fax: +44 (0) 1844 274002

The Use of Beech Hardwood in 60 Minute Fire Door Assemblies

News: The Use of Beech Hardwood in 60 Minute Fire Door Assemblies

The Intumescent Fire Seals Association (IFSA) is aware that doubts have been cast on the fire performance to be expected from Beech hardwood when incorporated in 60 minute fire door assemblies, in the form of frames, lippings or glazing beads.

It is the experience of IFSA members that there is variability in timber, door leaf manufacture, workmanship and installation practices that can affect the performance of most door assemblies, regardless of the species of hardwoods incorporated.

Intumescent seals have been proven to make a positive impact upon the performance of timber based constructions, including door assemblies, and IFSA is furthermore aware that Beech frames, lippings and glazing beads have been included in some 60 minute door assemblies, with positive results, using member companies’ intumescent systems.

IFSA does not support proposed rules restricting the use of particular timbers, as this does not take into account the interaction of materials that are present within door assemblies, not least the proven benefit of intumescent materials. Future innovation would furthermore be stifled. Throughout the industry, the fire resistance of products is determined solely by evaluation of their performance against agreed testing procedures, and this is an approach that is fully embraced by IFSA.

Intumescent Fire Seals Association:

Tel: +44 (0) 1844 276928
Fax: +44 (0) 1844 274002

CE Marking of Fire Resisting Doorsets – Update

News: CE Marking of Fire Resisting Doorsets – Update

The Harmonised European Product Standard for fire resisting doorsets (EN 16034) was published in October 2014, completing the group of EN documents which relate to the CE marking of fire resisting doorsets within the scope of the Construction Products Regulations that apply to all member states of the EU. The CE Marking of all construction products is mandatory under European Regulation 305/2011 (Construction Product Regulation) for all products for which there is a harmonised product standard.

The Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) C378 Volume 6, dated 13 November 2015, includes the citation of EN 16034 and states that it will be a harmonised standard from 1 September 2016. The citation of EN 16034 also states that the coexistence period, where CE Marking of doorsets is voluntary, ends on 1 September 2019. CE marking of fire resisting doorsets will thus become mandatory during the current validity period of this report.

Under EN 16034 only configurations defined as ‘doorsets’ are able to be CE Marked. The definition and requirements of doorsets as defined for the purpose of CE Marking is complex and the Notified Certification Body (NCB) should be consulted regarding your particular situation. A NCB can start the process of attesting conformity of doorsets now and this is advised given the likely pressure on testing facilities.

For more information click on the following link

Further guidance may also be sought from the Intumescent Fire Seals Association:

Tel: +44 (0) 1844 276928
Fax: +44 (0) 1844 274002

IFSA strongly supports the Fire Door Safety Week initiative

News: IFSA Strongly Supports The Fire Door Safety Week Initiative

As most people will know, the intumescent seal that is visible around the perimeter of a fire door assembly plays a crucial role in maintaining the performance of the assembly under fire exposure. Many other intumescent products will be present in the construction, however, and while they may not be so obvious, they all contribute in some way to the overall performance of the assembly and the safety of building occupants.

The perimeter intumescent seal may itself be concealed under the edge lipping of a door leaf but other examples include –

Intumescent glazing seals around vision panels and a further hidden lining around the aperture, sandwiched between the glazing beads and the door core.
Air transfer grilles with an intumescent lattice matrix sandwiched between.
Intumescent liners within letter plate apertures.
Intumescent protective pads under the hinge leaves that would otherwise conduct excessive heat into the surrounding timber components, leading to premature degradation and breakdown.
Intumescent protective cladding around other hardware items such as locks, latches, keeps, shoot-bolts, security viewers, etc.
Intumescent sealant between the door frame and the wall construction.

Today’s fire door assemblies are highly dependent on intumescent technology and it is true to say that without the vital contributions from the intumescent elements, the fire integrity of the door assembly would be catastrophically compromised.

Further details are freely available from IFSA in the form of downloadable information sheets.

#1 – Intumescent Materials in Timber Fire Doors

or contact IFSA on
Tel: +44 (0) 1844 276928
Fax: +44 (0) 1844 274002

Associate Membership: Installers of Intumescent Sealing Products

Associate Membership: for Installers of Intumescent Sealing Products

The Intumescent Fire Seals Association is pleased to announce the introduction of Associate Membership for installers of intumescent sealing products.

For over three decades IFSA has been active in developing test standards for manufacturers of intumescent seals, and in informing professionals and public as to the benefits of using quality products to achieve an assured level of passive fire protection performance in the built environment.

Now we seek to educate companies engaged in installation activities – those that take approved products from the manufacturers and apply them on behalf of the end users – by providing appropriate advice on their application.

Associate membership status is open to companies whose services are certified by an approved body, such as IFC Certification, and involves an initial review procedure followed by an ongoing requirement to undertake annual product awareness training provided by members of the Association.

Associate members are granted the following benefits:

Use of the IFSA logo and the statement “Approved Company” on literature, website, and trade vehicles
Initial appraisal and periodic review of company literature and website content
A company listing on the IFSA website and referrals of enquiries received
Access to annual product awareness training workshops

Companies interested in seeking associate membership status are invited to contact the Association for further information:

20 Park Street
Princes Risborough
Bucks HP27 9AH

Tel: +44 (0) 1844 276928
Fax: +44 (0) 1844 274002

CE Marking of Fire Resisting Doorsets

News: CE Marking of Fire Resisting Doorsets

Product standard EN 16034 has been published and so it will soon be possible for manufacturers of fire resisting doorsets to CE Mark their products. Doorsets will be able to be CE Marked from the date of publication of EN 16034 in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU); this is anticipated to be mid-2015.

The CE Marking of all construction products is mandatory under European Regulation 305/2011 (Construction Product Regulation) for all products for which there is a harmonised product standard. When the citation of EN 16034 appears CE Marking of doorsets will still be optional, and will only become mandatory at the end of a yet to be defined transition period, which will be included in the publication in the OJEU. The transition period will be between one and five years.

Under EN 16034 only configurations defined as ‘doorsets’ are able to be CE Marked. The definition and requirements of doorsets as defined for the purpose of CE Marking is complex and the Notified Certification Body (NCB) should be consulted regarding your particular situation. A NCB can start the process of attesting conformity of doorsets now and this is advised given the likely pressure on testing facilities.

For more information click on the following link

or contact IFSA on

Tel: +44 (0) 1844 276928
Fax: +44 (0) 1844 274002

Acknowledgement to Peter Jackman

Acknowledgement to Peter Jackman


The Intumescent Fire Seals Association (IFSA) held its 33rd Annual General Meeting on February 24th, 2015.


This was the first AGM without Peter Jackman, who sadly passed away in May 2014. Peter was



instrumental in founding the Association over 30 years ago, and throughout IFSA’s history he remained a


staunch and active supporter of its objectives – to educate on and promote the appropriate use of intumesce

nt fire protection systems in order to save lives. He was tireless in his efforts to represent IFSA and

express its views, and he made considerable contributions to its technical output.


Peter’s passing is a great loss to the Association and the fire protection

community as a whole. Nonetheless, IFSA continues with Peter’s vision for a fire-safe construction environment and strives to ensure that the manufacturers of intumescent sealing products have a voice of

influence in the industry. In doing so,IFSA forms part of his legacy. It was a responsibility that those

attending the meeting wished to acknowledge.

International Paints Appraises the Fire Resistance of Protected Steel Rods Subject to Tensile Loading

19th December 2014

International Paints Appraises the Fire Resistance of Protected Steel Rods Subject to Tensile Loading


In August 2014 International Paint Ltd’s Fire Protection division undertook a full scale fire test of a 6m slender steel rod under tensile loading with an applied intumescent coating. A bespoke tensile loading rig for use in a large floor furnace was designed by International Paints’ in-house Structural Engineers to permit this first ever test of its kind.

The fundamental aim of the investigation was to ascertain the need for a specific test of a rod in tension for fire protection product validation. Forthcoming international and European fire test standards are expected to benefit from the findings.

Specifically, the test was designed to demonstrate that the strain developed within the fire protection material had no detrimental effect on its insulating performance. Furthermore, a series of unloaded sections were included to assess the influence of a number of factors relating to intumescent coating performance on rods, including curvature, section factor, etc.

It was concluded that the imposition of a tensile load on a steel rod has negligible influence on the performance of a fire protection material in comparison to an unloaded rod and that therefore a tension test is therefore not required of industry. Despite localised deformation resulting in high strains the intumescent coating did not lose its cohesion prior to ultimate failure of the rod itself, which occurred as predicted in-line with structural calculations.

A report has been prepared for the benefit of the fire resistance and structural engineering communities. A copy of the document and all raw data will be made available to those who request it.

Selected images of test setup (left) and the snapped rod following the fire test (right)



Allan Jowsey


Fire Engineering Manager

International Paint Ltd. part of AkzoNobel


IFSA Response to Lakanal House Inquest


The members and the staff of the Secretariat of the Intumescent Fire Seals Association (IFSA) wish to put on record their sympathy and condolences in respect of the victims and their families that perished in the Lakanal House fire on 3 July 2009. The fire and the subsequent Inquest which finished on the Thursday before Easter (2013), identified the vulnerability of all of us to the effects of a fire, but it is even more poignant when it occurs in the home environment where we have the right to feel fairly impregnable to external influences.

When it comes to deaths in any disaster, there are many factors that come into play and rarely can any particular factor be identified as the cause of injury or death.

However, in the narrative accompanying the Coroner’s report on a number of the victims, two of the four points specifically referred to were……..

(b) there were no fire seals on the front door of the flat [in which they died], and

      (c) there was a lack of firestopping on internal pipework from previous renovations

IFSA has striven for over 30 years to promote the life safety benefits of fire door seals (both for fire and smoke containment) and properly designed and installed service penetration and linear gap seals. The Association has recorded some successes in this area as there is definitely a growth in the installation of fire door seals and penetration seals in modern buildings.

It has undoubtedly been more challenging to implement this enhanced technology in existing building stock, both commercial and domestic. Unfortunately, the 1971 Fire Precautions Act actively frustrated the upgrading of existing building stock by stating that if a product was suitable for purpose when it was originally installed, it continued to perform that function in perpetuity, regardless of any increase in knowledge and/or the development of new, safer, technologies.

Intumescent sealing products, which revolutionised the effectiveness of fire doors and our ability to seal up holes provided for services, did not come into common use until the late 1970’s, hence, their benefits were denied to those refurbishing buildings after 1971 and, indeed, right up to 2006. At this time, the Fire Precautions Act was repealed in favour of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order which required all buildings (except private dwelling houses) to be subject to a bespoke fire risk assessment by a competent person. Such a fire risk assessment has no product exclusions and it is up to the competent person to decide whether a building remained safe for the occupants without the adoption of modern improved fire sealing products.

IFSA realised that in a construction industry not familiar with the installation of these ‘new’ technologies, a fire risk assessor required help in assessing what the fire risk was, if fire door seals or intumescent based service penetration seals were not upgraded. The Association commissioned and published guidance for use by fire risk assessors to enable them to reduce the risk to life safety of inadequately sealed fire doors and apertures within buildings. These are available for free download on the IFSA website ( under the Good Practice Guides:

  • Guidance in Respect of the Use of Intumescent Door Seals
  • Guidance in Respect of the Use of Intumescent Penetration Seals
  • Guidance in Respect of the Use of Intumescent Glazing Seals in Timber Doors and Screens

Unfortunately, without the power of legislation, IFSA cannot enforce the adoption of the recommendations contained within these documents and patently the information did not reach the eyes or ears of those responsible for the fire that resulted in this particular tragedy. Hopefully, however, the public reactions to the Lakanal disaster will mean that residents in other dwellings may now benefit from the recommendations that IFSA has made in these guides.

Fortunately, the IFSA recommendations are not expensive to adopt and are generally simple to install, unlike fire suppression systems and so significant improvements in fire containment and its associated life safety benefits can be achieved quickly and in a cost effective manner.

Lee Woodings
IFSA Chairman

CLG Determination on Hotel Fire Doors


The recent publication of a Determination by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), regarding fire safety level in a hotel, raises many issues that are critical to the role of passive fire protection in buildings, especially to those serving the fire door industry.    The Determination arose after the enforcing authority carried out its requisite review of the hotel’s fire risk assessment, prepared by the Responsible Person’s nominated Competent Person under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.    The local authority, when reviewing the Fire Risk Assessment, as it is mandated to do so under the Order, found anomalies in respect of the assessor’s treatment of the need to fit fire and smoke seals onto bedroom doors.    The need for seals was contested by the hotel’s Responsible Person and so the CLG were approached to adjudicate on the matter by way of a ‘Determination’.    The findings did not make happy reading for the suppliers/installers of passive fire protection and for the fire door and fire door seal manufacturers in particular, or did they?

From the fire seal suppliers’ point of view, the people involved in making the Determination demonstrated that they really had little appreciation of the function and benefits of smoke seals and fire seals.    Several times in the Determination it talks about, ‘the smoke seals providing increased protection from the spread of smoke in the early stage of a fire and the provision of intumescent seals have been shown to improve the fire resistance of doors’, keeping the two functions totally separate.  This is flawed thinking because the benefit that intumescent and smoke seals provide is continuous protection that provides smoke control across the whole period of fire attack.   Intumescent strips have made a major contribution to restricting the flow of smoke from the 10th minute to the 60th minute, or more, as anybody who has witnessed a test on fire will attest.  It is possible to increase the duration for which the smoke seal remains effective by formulating the seal material to resist higher temperatures, but as the requirement is only to control ambient temperature smoke, this must never be assumed.

Fortunately, after the first 5 to 10 minutes the intumescent seals become activated and take over the smoke sealing role which they maintain until the end of the duration for which the door is meant to resist fire.  The lack of suitable test equipment means that it has not been possible to quantify the resistance to the spread of hot smoke provided by expanded intumescent at full size, albeit academic research in support of an MSc in fire engineering*(1) proved that it is possible and that the results were very encouraging.

Omitting intumescent seals on bedroom and on cross‐corridor doors would result in a more rapid loss of tenable conditions in a similar manner to the smoke seals jeopardising the safety of the occupants.

The tone of the Determination was that fire doors without seals were accepted as being adequate several decades ago, i.e. under the requirements of the 1971 Fire Precaution Act and by inference should still be acceptable in 2011/2012.    This concept was, in fact, the very principle behind the ‘statutory bar’ whereby persons responsible for operating certificated buildings did not feel obliged to keep updating their building standards.

Effectively, the ‘Crown’ indemnified these owners against the need to keep reaching ever higher standards.  However, setting of acceptable levels of fire safety is not the responsibility of the owner (the Responsible Person) but it the responsibility of the competent person as he has the ongoing insurable responsibility for the safety of the property.

Is the competent person willing to put his reputation and professional indemnity insurance behind the safety levels enshrined in 40 year old legislation?    IFSA suggests that in the event of a fire tragedy occurring in premises for which the fire risk assessor is responsibly, any inquiry would find it hard to understand why the assessment failed to recommend the adoption of equipment that provides higher levels of fire safety.   Members of IFSA would not wish to find themselves in that position.

However, one of the most potentially dangerous aspects of not fitting intumescent seals is the fact that many types of intumescent provide essential structural benefits keeping a fire door leaf closed.   In the case of unlatched doors, this is the only mechanism that holds the door shut after the door closer melts at around 10 to 14 minutes.

What the Determination fails to recognise is that prior to the late 1970’s all unlatched door assemblies were fitted with floor springs which remained operative throughout a fire, keeping the door closed.    The invention of intumescent seals which generated pressure changed all this and unlatched doors fitted with overhead closers, became possible and, indeed, preferred, for both financial and simplicity of construction reasons.    Not fitting the correct type of intumescent on unlatched doors effectively means that the door will probably fall or be ‘blown’ open before 15 minutes have been reached.    Unfortunately, such doors are normally those that feature in the construction of protected stairways, probably the most important part of any protected escape route because people are in the stairs for longer periods.

Therefore, maybe the argument in favour of the use of seals has not been lost.    The recommendation from the CLG was that the fire risk assessment should be carried out again, but this time the report should justify why the seals do not need to be fitted,……..  Is that an ‘easy’ task in the light of the above?

Why should doors in hotels not need to prevent the spread of hot smoke (the most toxic), when restricting cold smoke will do?  How do you justify not adopting seals with the benefit of more than 30 years product development, testing and refinement when we can omit the seal completely and revert to 1960’s level of fire protection, which experiments showed led to almost immediately smoke logging?  Why do we need to keep unlatched fire doors closed when we could allow them to come open after 10 to 12 minutes?

Maybe it is more difficult to justify the omission of fire seals than the CLG Determination suggests.     Knowing how difficult it is to quantify the role of intumescent materials in the assessment of fire hazards is the very reason why IFSA has published a range of free downloads to help the competent persons make an adequate assessment of the risk.  These are available [on this site/from IFSA] and perhaps the competent person(s) tasked with carrying out the new risk assessment may find them of some help with the new task because the issues are not as simple as the CLG may suggest.

Lee Woodings
Chairman of IFSA
*(1)    Davies R BSc(Hons) AIFireE AMIMechE: Thesis on Quantification of hot smoke leakage rates across door/frame junctions  School of the Built Environment, Jordanstown Campus, University of Ulster 2006