Why does Secured By Design (SBD) include smoke testing in dual certification?

This is a question often asked by those with an interest in fire-doors and entrance doors. The question arises due to changes in the testing specification regime for SBD dual-certification compliance. 
What does Secured By Design mean for fire-doors?

Being a Police initiative, SBD is primarily about design principles for security, however, many doors are required to be both secure and offer a specified level of fire protection to comply with Building Regs. An example is flat entrance doors in communal housing and apartments.
The original purpose of the UK police Secured by Design (SBD) accreditation scheme was to “design out” crime by promoting ‘police preferred specification’ standards to be met in building security products such as entrance doors, locks, etc.
The scheme works to increase the physical safety of residents and building occupiers, give confidence to specifiers and users, and reward high standards in the manufacture of security and fire-rated entry points.  It is a voluntary initiative, now widely recommended or even specified by influential stakeholders such as insurance companies, planning authorities, and local councils.
“We are committed to saving lives and making homes safer places in which to live, work and play,” comments Alfie Hosker, Technical Manager at Secured by Design.
Ill-thought-out security features can impede fire safety; what might be the best construction from a security point of view, could decrease it’s fire safety. With this in mind, SBD set out a requirement from the outset, that fire-rated doors should have third-party dual certification for fire and security. This meant that the exact same door-set specification had to be tested for both flame and security by an independent UKAS-approved testing house.
Following Grenfell, many organisations undertook a review of their requirements for meeting compliance, along with consultation across industry and government. One of the lessons that came out of the Grenfell Tower tragedy was that increased protection from smoke inhalation was needed, with it being by far the largest risk to life during a building fire.
As a result, since 1st June 2022, Secured By Design now requires all SBD listed fire-rated doors to be tested for smoke permeability to the same standards as the dual certification of fire and security. Therefore, SBD ‘dual certification’ now involves triple testing: security, fire - and smoke.
Why a fire door needs testing for both flames (heat) and smoke.
Flames and smoke have different behaviours and present different risks.

It might sound surprising that a firedoor could prevent the spread of flame, yet allow the passage of smoke. The main reason for this is there is usually a gap between a fire door and it’s frame; without a gap the door would be prone to jamming. Obviously for evacuation and emergency access fire doors need to be openable at any time, whilst to function at all they need to allow the self-closing device to properly shut the door without hindrance. 
As smoke can travel faster than flames in most building fire situations, fire doors need to prevent excessive air (smoke) passage whilst remaining openable for the escape of persons within. Intumescent seals are a common method of closing gaps around fire doors, however it is important to note with these that they only come into effect at high temperatures.  When activated, they will jam a door against it’s frame which helps stop the spread of the fire, but not something that should happen within the evacuation period.For more about door fire and smoke testing, read our article, “Why isn’t smoke control included within a standard fire test?”.
Most Housing Associations, Local Authority and other responsible organisations are specifying SBD accredited doors, door hardware and other security-critical building components, which is driving more manufacturers to implement the scheme.  
SBD is campaigning for increased testing standards, to reduce the amount of smoke permeability within door-set threshold gaps. At Rutland, we are committed to working across the door manufacturing and wider fire safety industry, with the shared goal of making residential housing safer for the people within.  If you are involved in fire-door production, installation, specifying or inspection we want to work with you in improving fire safety for all. Join our next virtual or face-to-face fire door/door manufacturing industry event, or contact us today.

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