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A leading international supplier of steel glazing systems has called on the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) to ensure that only glass fire protective systems that have been tested as one compatible unit should be accredited within the new building code.
Wrightstyle, the UK-based company, whose fire, ballistic and bomb-proofing systems are in place in several MENA countries, says that, the key to ensuring true fire safety is to make sure that the glass and framing systems are tested as one compatible unit.
The company also refutes suggestions that new building regulations will add to the cost of passive fire protection, such as glazing systems, based on its close involvement in major projects throughout the Middle East for many years.
Wrightstyle also makes clear that the new regulations should cover passive as well as active fire protection, covering glazing and other systems designed to contain fire, and therefore provide safe evacuation and fire-fighter access, and not concentrate on active systems such as, for example, fire alarms or sprinkler systems.
“The current focus on inward investment to diversify the UAE economy places particular importance on protecting asset values, and we welcome Abu Dhabi’s decision to bring together the various building and other codes into one set of regulations. However, we do caution that the mega-structures now being built or planned must have the highest specifications for fire safety – and that need not add to the overall cost of the building,” said Simon Bennett, Wrightstyle’s international sales director.
Wrightstyle points out that there are many differing aspects affecting the compliance of fire rated glazing; for example, a fire test that covers a single piece of glass, of a certain size and fixed into concrete, would not cover a multiple run of glazing, particularly if the glass was installed in a different framing system. Fire test certification must be specific if it is to hold any validity, and must cover both the glass and the framing system that supports it.
“As a responsible supplier, we have responded in two ways. First, to ensure that design proposals for fire resistance being submitted to architects and consultants are fit for purpose, as well as compliant with performance criteria. This covers all submitted drawings and test certification that are being used to support either the framing system or the proposed glass, to ensure it is fit for purpose and meets the required performance standard,” said Simon Bennett.
“Second, we now only issue project-related test certification. In other words, when our fire resistant systems are used, the test report will refer to that particular project, and will only be valid for the named building. This once-only test certification reduces the chance of illegal or unsuitable test reports being used to support non-compliant installations.
“Our systems have been tested to EU, US and Asia Pacific standards. In the event of a fire, our fire doors and glazing systems will perform as designed. This should be built into the new regulations.
“Importantly also, specifying compatible systems that have been tested together, need not add to cost – merely to fire safety. We have invested significantly to ensure that our systems guard against everything from fire to bomb attack, and we urge the Abu Dhabi authorities to build compatibility into the new code,” he said.
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