World News

Industry news and insights from Europe and around the World

UK News

Latest news and developments in the United Kingdom

Products

Keep up-to-date with the latest new products and technology

Features

General articles, applications and industry analysis

BESA flags fire damper safety issue

UK: Inspections carried out by maintenance contractors have revealed that a “huge number” of fire and smoke dampers have been incorrectly installed in building ventilation systems.

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has taken the unusual step in issuing an urgent warning after inspections found potential fire safety weakness in a large number of building ventilation systems.

It has issued an interim technical bulletin (VH001) ahead of a full update of its industry guidance for the Installation of Fire Dampers and Smoke Dampers (DW145) which is due for launch at the Association’s National Conference in October.

Head of technical Graeme Fox explained that many did not comply with manufacturers’ instructions and needed remedial action “without delay”.

“We have been alerted to the very dangerous practice of using self-drilling ‘tek’ screws which do not melt when temperatures rise during a building fire. This means spring-loaded dampers will not be released to contain the spread of fire within the zone and ensure the integrity of the fire stopping measure,” he said.

“Dampers must be secured by fusible fixings that allow the duct to break away otherwise the collapsing duct could pull the damper out of place and break the seal between the fire zones,” added Fox.

BESA’s technical committee sanctioned the technical bulletin, which is freely available on the Association’s website, to give contractors the information and appropriate terminology to alert clients to this potentially life-threatening problem.

The bulletin also updates the guidance and statutory requirements covering installation, testing and maintenance of fire dampers and smoke dampers including clients’ legal obligations to ensure their fire safety systems remain fit for purpose in line with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for England and Wales and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

It outlines the crucial role played by the penetration seal in ensuring the overall fire stopping integrity of an installation, the importance of maintenance teams being able to find and access dampers for testing and repair, and the need for designers and installers to seek expert advice from damper manufacturers.

“While this is clearly a very worrying situation, we can take some reassurance from the fact that this problem is being brought to our attention by the increasing frequency of fire damper inspections and tests as awareness grows of this extremely important issue,” said Fox.

“We would urge contractors to alert their clients immediately so all the necessary checks and repairs can be carried out.”

The document can reviewed and downloaded here.

Latest News

20th February 2024

F-gas regulation published in Official Journal

EUROPE: The new F-gas regulation has now been published in the EU’s Official Journal, making it legally binding and entering into force in 20 days.
20th February 2024

Carrier Germany increases heat pump training

GERMANY: Carrier Germany is offering new hydraulics training courses  at its training centre on the IKKE campus in Duisburg to support the growing demand for heat pump expertise. 
20th February 2024

Oceanair acquired by builders’ merchant MKM

UK: Air conditioning and heat pump distributor Oceanair UK has been acquired by MKM, the independent builders’ merchant.
20th February 2024

Carrier to build factory and R&D facility in Saudi Arabia

SAUDI ARABIA: Carrier is to build an advanced manufacturing and R&D facility in Saudi Arabia in a partnership with Alat, a new Riyadh-based public investment fund company.
19th February 2024

BDN offers high level monitoring

IRELAND: The first installation of Bitzer’s Digital Network (BDN) in Ireland is providing high-level monitoring, system diagnostics and optimisation for an award-winning deli food specialist.
19th February 2024

Manchester receives heat pump training boost

UK: Daikin UK in partnership with the Green Skills Academy is to deliver the first heat pump training programme for college tutors and staff at nine Greater Manchester colleges.