In response to the urgent demand for more fire testing facilities in the UK, a major new fire resistance testing laboratory at Blockley, Gloucestershire has opened featuring two of the largest furnaces of their kind.
UL Solutions, a leader in applied safety science, in partnership with the UK Fire Protection Association (FPA), an research and testing organisation and the UK.’s national fire safety organisation, announced the opening of a new fire resistance testing laboratory for building products and systems, doors and windows, fire stopping, joint systems and related fire resistance products.
Located in Blockley, Gloucestershire, the facility features fire resistance test furnaces, funded by UL Solutions, that will benefit manufacturers from the UK, Europe and worldwide who require independent fire testing and certification. The testing capabilities at the laboratory, performed by FPA, will be beneficial to manufacturers seeking UKCA and CE marking services.
The UKAS-accredited ISO/IEC 17025 laboratory includes BS 8414 test rigs that are complemented by two new furnaces. The large 4x3m wall furnace can accommodate larger test samples, and more systems can be tested simultaneously, allowing UL Solutions to provide customers with expedited results.
“This new laboratory offers much-needed extra capacity for fire resistance testing, and we’re delighted to have worked with the FPA on this project,” Karine Johnfroe, vice president and general manager of the Built Environment group at UL Solutions, said. “The partnership between the FPA and UL Solutions demonstrates our shared mission of working for a safer world. With the Blockley laboratory and by offering services to help meet regulatory and code requirements, we are able to provide trust and confidence to code authorities while supporting contractors and building owners that building products they use to meet regulatory and code requirements.”
The opening of the new laboratory is welcome news for manufacturers, specifiers and contractors. In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy of 2017, they are now required to provide detailed test data for their projects and will now have increased independent testing capacity in the U.K. The laboratory’s location in central England, the fire safety expertise that the two parties bring and the synergies that come from UL Solutions cooperating with the FPA will help satisfy the needs for independent testing capacity and help ensure better fire safety compliance for a wide range of construction products and systems. Although the fire resistance laboratory has been developed primarily to support U.K.-based manufacturers, it also serves as a resource for businesses outside the U.K. wishing to access the post-Brexit U.K. market, who can use it to confirm that their products meet U.K. requirements and standards.
"The FPA is delighted to be part of this dynamic collaboration with UL Solutions that will further enhance capacity and capabilities at our Blockley site,” said Jonathan O’Neill OBE, the FPA’s managing director. “A UL Solutions Certification is universally recognised as providing trust and confidence to code authorities that products meet code requirements. Now, as a result of our work together, manufacturers and system providers will not only have access to the tests and certifications required by UK regulations but will also be able to satisfy the requirements of regulators around the world."
The Blockley facility complements the existing UL Solutions testing and certification services provided in the UK, covering facades, cladding building envelope systems, and door hardware testing, including testing to a wide range of North American and European standards.