The threat of fire in multi-occupancy dwellings is a major concern to landlords, councils and, of course, residents themselves. A fire can spread rapidly and unpredictably. But often there are breaches in critical walls that make way for ducting and other services, which can create deadly smoke pathways. Critical elements of fire safety can also be compromised by, for example, doors opening into service risers, plumbing access panels, and electricity meter boxes set into walls.
In the last of these dangers, once the meter box door has been damaged or removed, the wooden meter board may be the only barrier between the flat and the common corridor outside. Ritherdon technicians set their minds to the task of solving this potentially life-threatening problem – and re-instating acceptable fire resistance to these breaches. The result? The Ritherdon FireSeal, a fire and smoke resistant meter box door and frame unit.
The easy-to-fit steel unit with intumescent seals fits over the meter box and provides 60-minute fire protection, preventing the transmission of smoke and harmful fumes through any aperture the unit covers. BS 9999: 2008 recommends that elements in a multi-storey block should typically provide between 30 and 60 minutes fire resistance. The FireSeal easily reaches this standard when tested to EN 1363 and EN 1366, matching the performance of the fire doors normally used in flats.
The FireSeal is an adaptation of the existing range of Ritherdon meter box repair units. Higher temperature-resistant locks and stronger doors mean that it can be fitted to a wall to cover a variety of aperture shapes and sizes. The unit has a modified hinge design, allowing an intumescent seal to be added to all four sides of the door. A second intumescent seal between the frame of the FireSeal and the wall gives added smoke protection against potential smoke pathways. A high temperature resistant cam-lock completes the enhanced fire resistant design.
Fire Resistance Testing
The FireSeal was independently tested by Chiltern International Fire (now BM TRADA) to the method specified in EN 1363 and EN 1366 and was demonstrated to maintain its integrity as a barrier to fire penetration for at least 60 minutes up to almost 1000° C. Read the full testing report here. The structural integrity of the units themselves was not compromised during testing, and once the units had cooled-down, the locks, hinges and doors still worked.
More than 2000 FireSeal units are already helping to improve fire safety in properties throughout the country.