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Our extensive industry experience means that we hold a lot of valuable knowledge and we would like to share this knowledge with you.

Here you will find blog posts from the SIDERISE team including articles written by our technical experts. Find out more about our products and what’s going on in the industry for acoustic, fire and thermal insulation.

As India marches on with its unprecedented growth and Prime Minister Narendra Modi promises every Indian will have a house by 2022, this will fuel a $1.3 trillion investment in new housing, according to brokerage firm CLSA India Pvt.

What might well be a possible game changer for the real estate industry, the successful delivery of this ambitious building programme, along with other commercial and infrastructure projects, will be hugely dependent on the effective functioning of the building and construction materials sector.  Without building materials in larger quantities, and of better quality, along with a workforce with the right skills, India’s building boom will be beset with defects.

India is looking inwards at best practice and the adoption of standards from around the world that they can practically introduce to the benefit of Indian communities.  Suppliers, builders and investors from across the world are a vital part of India’s growth story.  Companies such as SIDERISE can, in some way, improve standards.

As a company, one of our targets is to actually be a stakeholder in the discussion towards new regulatory framework in India.

One of the biggest challenges faced by the construction industry in India is improving the quality of workmanship. In the absence of standards and because of the vast geographical scale of the country, historically it’s been very difficult to translate specifications onto building sites. 

Poor workmanship has led to a market seeking, simple-to-use and simple-to-install products. As a leading manufacturer of fire, acoustic and thermal insulation products, SIDERISE has a strong benefit that needs highlighting in terms of the relative simplicity of our offer. 

Global companies are investing in India in terms of their corporate as well as manufacturing presence. Many have struck deals with local businesses to enjoy greater distribution networks and help facilitate expansion into the Indian market. Through our new distributor Allarch, SIDERISE is able to focus on a global client base building high specification offices and multiple occupancy large buildings across India.

The next five years will likely usher in a massive number of construction projects – from apartment complexes to office buildings – all of which will require quality and long lasting products.  India is an important and expanding market which represents the next phase of expansion for SIDERISE.

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Recent events have brought into sharp focus the issue of building regulations which some say are falling behind the scale and scope of what has been going on in the built environment.

The regulatory system can be a source of frequent misunderstanding and confusion, with many across the industry having a lack of understanding around materials and building regulations.  Put simply: what materials should go where and what should these materials be tested to?  But what does this mean for construction product manufacturers in terms of credibility and how can specifiers compare one tested and approved product over another?

With the failure to fully adopt EN standards and adherence to old BS standards, we’ve ended up creating two systems – one which is modern and following the latest thinking and regulation and another  that harks back to the building regulations originally conceived in the 1960s when buildings were very different indeed.  The way we design and construct buildings, the materials that are used have all changed drastically over the past decades. We only have to see the prevalence of glass and alumunium in our cities instead of concrete, all of which gives rise to greater challenges in terms of acoustics and fire.

From a competitive credibility point of view, it’s perfectly feasible that a company with cutting edge test data will find itself competing with a company which has a test certificate in line with outdated building regulations. The customer will think they are equally compliant because the regulations allow them to be so, but equally the one without the latest test data has the same access to the market than the one with the testing, but without the incumbent costs.

For example, SIDERISE invests a considerable sum each year on testingitsacoustic, fire and thermal insulation solutions. Specifiers will adopt the tick box approach to materials in the sense they will more often than not choose a product for an application, sometimes under time pressure, and one that they recognise to be the right thing.  They are easy prey for businesses, some of whom will do the minimum in terms of certification and testing, with very little evidence to back up their products. Four hour’s fire resistance for a product could have several interpretations.

Regulations need to be more descriptive and prescriptive, not just because of time pressures, but also because there is a lack of training and education in matters related to fire.  If you look at the way buildings are constructed there will be an architect, a fire engineer and possibly a façade engineer.  There are sometimes grey areas in terms of who is responsible for what? Some in the chain may be looking to push liability down the line. In other words, who will sign this off? While most manufacturers will have product liability insurance, far fewer will have professional indemnity insurance. SIDERISE carries both, so both our physical product and where necessary, product specific design advice can be given with confidence.

When we talk about professional credibility, it’s possible for companies to put products on the market, and because of the gaps in understanding on regulations, or the clever use of marketing words, these products can be completely acceptable and legal, but not fit-for-purpose.  While at SIDERISE, we get asked for our test data on a daily basis; specifiers need an explanation to ensure they come to the right conclusions about what they are reading. Do they want the data for the sake of compliance only to file away, or for the purpose of learning something about what they are using? There needs to be a checklist of questions about the products they are going to specify. Has the product got this rating? Are they understood?  Have they got the correct data and is it up to date?

So when it comes to competitive credibility, if you want to make a fair comparison between products you need to look at whether the product has any provenance. What is the history of the product? What testing is behind the specific product? And is the testing current?  Only when a specifier looks beyond a checklist will they be able to specify products which are fit-for-purpose.

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Chris Mort, Technical Officer at Siderise, believes that despite being a life safety issue the juncture between the supporting structure and external façade is quite often wrongly specified, or completely misunderstood.

Chris Mort, Technical Officer at Siderise, believes that despite being a life safety issue the juncture between the supporting structure and external façade is quite often wrongly specified, or completely misunderstood. This has become even more of an issue with CE Marking in place.

The ‘Construction Products Regulation’ (CPR) came into force on the 1st July which in effect makes it mandatory for construction products to be CE Marked prior to sale on the market, however this only applies to products with a ‘Harmonised Product Standard’ (hEN).

Curtain Walling external facades are covered by hEN13830 and therefore the final product being sold or installed must be CE Marked. Direct responsibility for this rests with the manufacturer or fabricator, with supporting Initial Type Testing (ITT) carried out by system suppliers.

Whilst there is ITT data available for all extruded aluminium elements, glazing, fixings etc., there is one critical element of ‘Life Safety’ that tends to be overlooked when estimating and designing a project. This element is the linear gap seal juncture between the compartment floor and the curtain wall where a suitable ‘Passive Fire Protection Product’ (PFPP) is required.

Lack of hEN’s

With PFPP constructions being ‘Life Safety materials’, albeit they come in a variety of forms, one would have reasonably expected these products to be amongst the first to be CE Marked. However, the reality is that there is currently no hEN that covers them. Consequently there is no formal route for CE Marking. A further reality is that the publication of any relevant hEN is also a number of years away due to the complexity of products and testing requirements.

Alternative Route to CE

PFPP companies can obtain a voluntary CE Mark by using the European Technical Approval (ETA) route and following a European Technical Approval Guidance (ETAG). For the linear gap seal at edge of the slab for Curtain Walling there is ETAG 026 Part 3. This document gives a prescriptive route to the correct test standard for this type of linear gap seal. Curtain Walling is covered by EN1364 Part 3 & 4. Part 3 is for full Curtain Wall screens typically 4.2m x 4.2m and is normally a test for ‘Fire Rated’ systems, whilst part 4 is a test of the ‘Linear Gap Seal’ and Curtain Walling which would occur at floor slab locations. Part 4 tests ‘Fire Rated’ and ‘NON Fire Rated’ systems.

Curtain Walling Designer / Fabricator

How does this affect you, with the majority of Curtain Wall systems being ‘NON Fire Rated’?

The hEN13830 for Curtain Walling section 4.10 ‘Fire Propagation’ calls for fire resistance to accord to EN13501-2 the ‘Fire Classification of Construction Products and Building’. The fire test standards for various construction products, and PFPP products that are installed into other elements of construction, fall within this classification. For Curtain Walling section 7.5.3 Classification of Curtain Walling states “Curtain Walls shall be tested in accordance with EN1364-3. Parts of Curtain Wall shall be tested in accordance with EN 1364-4” which is replicated in ETAG026-3.

Section 6 of the Curtain Wall hEN13830 however, allows for ‘No Performance Determined’ and only considers fire propagation from inside to outside, outside to inside and in both directions. It does not call for the inside to inside requirement, which is where the linear gap seal is required for life safety, as detailed in ETAG026-3.

Although it is apparent that there is no mandatory requirement for the Curtain Wall in conjunction with the Linear Gap Seal to be CE Marked, it is correct test procedure for all Curtain Wall Linear Gap Seals to be tested to EN1364 Part 4. This supersedes the BS476 requirement, which is now accepted as a minimum within the UK only.

Fire and Façade Consultants in the UK are starting to require compliance with the EN1364-4 test. This is a sign of change within the market that has been influenced by the CE Mark requirements for Curtain Walling.

The ETAG026-3 is part of the current work in Europe to produce a hEN for Passive Fire Protection Products. It is expected that this will be published within the next 2 years at which point the CE Marking of such products will be mandatory.

Siderise Position

Chris has been part of a research and development team at Siderise that has considered all of these requirements and has successfully tested a ‘NON Fire Rated’ Aluminium Curtain Wall to EN1364-4 with 210 minutes insulation and integrity on the full system, using the Siderise CW-FS180 linear gap seal and Siderise CW-FB protection system for the Curtain Wall. The team is currently engaged in further testing to EN1364-3.

Chris said that Siderise are interested in forming partnerships with façade companies that want to test their ‘NON Fire Rated’ and ‘Fire Rated’ systems. Contact facades@siderise.com for further information.

Laquisha
17 January 2015

What a joy to find such clear thinking. Thanks for posting!

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