FPA chosen for 8414 testing
THE FIRE Protection Association (FPA) has been chosen by the government to conduct the next round of cladding façade tests by the government.
Earlier this year, the FPA was officially accredited by UKAS to carry out BS 8414 testing on the ‘effectiveness of external cladding on buildings’. It stated that it was ‘open for business’ in regard to testing cladding systems to the BS 8414 standard, commenting that in response to Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, cladding testing ‘has now become of paramount importance’, with the UK currently only having ‘few facilities’ in which to conduct the BS 8414 tests.
In turn, ‘even when a slot is available it can take months to receive results’, which contain the ‘vital evidence needed’ for building control approval. With the accreditation received, the FPA’s ‘easily accessible’ sites at Moreton in Marsh and Blockley in Gloucestershire offer a ‘comprehensive range’ of testing facilities, providing results that ‘often exceed’ legislative guidelines.
The FPA constructed two test rigs for commercial BS 8414 testing, with that test evaluating the ‘effectiveness against fire’ of external cladding on buildings. The rigs can test systems to part one (cladding attached to a concrete wall) and part 2 (cladding attached directly to a steel structure), while a half sized rig can test ‘bespoke’ elements surrounding a cladding test, such as the addition of a window or another type of opening to ‘more closely replicate’ a real life situation.
Jonathan O’Neill, managing director of the FPA, commented: ‘The Fire Protection Association is proud to have been chosen to conduct the next round of indicative façade testing by the government – as we are accredited by UKAS to carry out the 8414 test. Our concerns regarding 8414 are well documented and are currently being considered by the BSI committee, which is reviewing and updating the test.
‘The work we have been commissioned to undertake on behalf of MHCLG is looking to assess the performance of systems currently installed (the tender was to carry out an existing 8414 test of a system representative of those in England). The design of the system and the materials used will be typical of an as installed system, ensuring that it's as realistic a test as possible.’