In the case of meter boxes in some blocks of flats, once the door has been damaged or removed, the wooden board at the back of the box is the only barrier between the flat and the common corridor outside. The FireSeal units can also be used as fire rated access panels for risers.
To re-instate acceptable fire protection in cases like this, Ritherdon developed and tested the FireSeal range – fire and smoke resistant access panels – from their meter box door and frame unit range.
Features and Benefits
- Made to measure fire rated access panels
- Tested both front and rear facing up in a range of sizes from 283 x 201 x 52 up to 1500 x 1000 x 152 (hwd in mm)
- Designed to upgrade the fire resistance of meter boxes and service riser openings especially in blocks of flats
- At least 60 minutes protection demonstrated in testing to BS EN 1366-3 and BS EN 1363-1
- Made in our factory to your requirements up to 1500h x 1000w x 152d mm
The FireSeal was an adaptation of the range of Ritherdon meter box repair units. It has higher temperature resistant locks extra door strength and can be fitted to a wall to cover a variety of aperture shapes and sizes.
Another fire-related hazard identified in some London tower blocks was a potential smoke pathway between floors via unsealed meter boxes and the electrical ducting. For this reason, intumescent seals were fitted right around the gap between the door and frame and also between the frame and wall. The FireSeal was just the start for Ritherdon, who went on to develop the Riser FireSeal.
Fire Access Panels Testing and Performance Assurance
Multiple units of the FireSeal have been tested from both sides. The test samples were made in our own factory, using the same materials and fabrication methods as we use to make all our FireSeal products. We deliberately designed the tests to be conservative, for example by making the fire’s access to the back of the unit as large as possible. We are happy to provide all the testing information available to our customers so that they can have complete confidence in the performance of any fire protection equipment made by us.
The tests were carried out by Chiltern International Fire (now Exova BM TRADA) to the method specified in EN 1363 and EN1366 and it was demonstrated to maintain its integrity as a barrier to fire penetration for at least 60 minutes in temperatures approaching 1000 °C. The test assessment report can be found here.
Although the FireSeal’s finish was discoloured by the testing temperatures, the structural integrity of the units themselves was not compromised. Once the units had cooled-down, the locks and hinges worked and the doors could actually still be opened and closed.
Improving Fire Safety
Depending on the situation, BS 9999: 2008, recommends that elements in a multi-storey block should typically provide between 30 and 60 minutes fire resistance. The FireSeal easily managed that, matching the performance of the fire doors normally used in flats. These fire rated access panels are currently helping to improve fire safety in Leeds and we’d like to thank the Fire Safety Teams at Leeds City Council for their help in developing this innovative product.