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The Complete Guide to Fire Curtains & Smoke Curtains

What’s in this guide?

  1. Introduction
  2. Legal requirements for employers and building owners
  3. Starting with the building fire strategy
  4. Standards
  5. Fire Curtains and smoke curtains explained
  6. Components
  7. Product specifications
  8. Maintenance & safety checks
  9. Door regulations
  10. Frequently asked questions
  11. Why choose HAG Doors Ltd?
  12. Services offered

1. Introduction

HAG Ltd. has provided bespoke fire curtains and smoke curtains manufactured to suit specific site requirements to companies in the UK and worldwide since 1983.
We’ve compiled this complete guide to fire curtains and smoke curtains to help you find the right curtain for your premises.

 

2. Legal requirements for employers and building owners

Legal compliance

You’re responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises if you’re:

You’re known as the ‘responsible person’. As the responsible person you must carry out and regularly review a fire risk assessment of the premises. This will identify what you need to do to prevent fire and keep people safe. (source: https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities)

All fire curtains in England and Wales must be compliant to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (in Scotland the equivalent are: Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and in Northern Ireland the equivalent are: The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 ).  This states that fire doors require mandatory servicing for optimum safety in the event of an accident.

With regular maintenance, your premises will be compliant to legal obligations like the current Health and Safety Act 1974 Regulation 18, which stipulates that all equipment should be:

All doors must comply with British Standards and CE certified (in future to be replaced by UKCA certifications in England, Scotland and Wales). Failure to do so can result in prosecution or can invalidate your insurance and warranty. You must be able to provide all relevant documents and plans in the event of a Health and Safety inspection.

 

3. Starting with the building fire strategy

Fire protection is paramount in designing today’s workspaces and industrial premises. It’s one of the few things that takes precedence even over security.

There are many factors to consider when specifying a fire curtain or smoke curtain for property and personnel protection. The building fire strategy report should be the first and most important element to review, as this will detail how the entire emergency procedures and safety devices will work together in the event of fire and evacuation.

Once you have reviewed this document you should consider the following when specifying fire curtains:

 

4. Standards

The primary standard for specifiers, architects, fire engineers specifying active fire curtain barrier assemblies include:
BS EN 1634 Fire resistance and smoke control tests for door and shutter assemblies, openable windows and elements of building hardware – Fire resistance test for door and shutter assemblies and openable windows
BS EN 16034:2104 Pedestrian doorsets, industrial, commercial, garage doors and openable windows. Product standard, performance characteristics. Fire resisting and/or smoke control characteristics
BS EN 13501 Fire classification of construction products and building elements – Classification using data from fire resistance tests, excluding ventilation services
BSI PAS 121 Specification for active fire curtain barrier assemblies and active fire barrier assemblies with smoke rating
BS EN 12101 Smoke and heat control system

 

5. Fire Curtains and smoke curtains explained

Fire curtains and smoke curtains are designed to be used in doorways, lift doors, in corridors and egress areas where it is important for:

They are typically made from a woven fibreglass material that is stored in a headbox at a high level and activated by an emergency alarm device to descend to its ‘safe position’ – normally the floor – thus creating a barrier to smoke and/or fire.

What is the difference between a fire curtain, a smoke curtain and a fire & smoke curtains?

All three products products must be deployed in an appropriate manner to meet the building’s fire safety strategy.

smoke curtain operating at a JD Sports retail outlet

A smoke curtain in operation at a retail shop

Fire resistance level

All fire curtains and smoke curtains are performance tested and the results are provided in three categories:

The performance in these three categories can be stated individually or in combination to provide a fire resistance level (FRL) for a curtain.

Fire resistance level is rated on a scale of 60 to 240 minutes.

Product compliance

Fire curtains are tested to BS EN 16034-1 and manufactured in conjunction with EN 13241-1 & EN 13501-2 and are classified as a machine, requiring the CE identification.

Government legislation changed 1st November 2019. All new fire curtains and smoke curtains must be fire tested and compliant to latest standard BS EN 16034:2014 & CE Marked to BS EN 13241-1:2003. Products tested to 2008 standard are prohibited by law.

All of HAG’s fire curtains have been independently tested and CERTIFIRE certified by the international fire testing experts at Warringtonfire. Test reports are available on application.

For more information, download the latest DHF guidance.

Fire system integration

Fire curtains are normally wired into their independent, programmable interface panels, to automatically operate when the mains alarm / alarm device is activated. A fiberglass curtain is guaranteed closure wih the implementation of a gravity failsafe control panel, referred to as a GFS.

Fire curtains are held in the open position on a day-to-day basis, closing in the event of a fire with a pre-programmed closing protocol which could be delayed drop, split drop or immediate full closure.

The surrounding structure must match the specified fire/smoke product to maintain integrity. All fire and smoke products require regular testing and maintenance under UK law.

Fire curtain features (optional or specified)

AV (audio visual) panels can be attached to any fire/smoke curtain system and are wired into the GFS panel. On activation of the mains alarm/ alarm device, the AV panel activates a flashing beacon and
audio alarm signalling the imminent closure of the safety curtain.

Mounting of fire curtains

Fire curtains can replace the more traditional fire doors in some cases, leading to more open corridors and doorways. A fire curtain fits into a slim box casing that sits out of the way above your doors or hatches, dropping automatically only when it is needed. The casing can be specified to a suitable RAL colour to blend in with your interior colour scheme. This inconspicuous design makes it perfect for areas where space is important.

Hospitals are a good example of a premises that can benefit from this type of fire protection where heavy fire doors or shutters with their frames and guide rails would reduce the width of the corridor hindering the movement of staff, patients as well as beds and wheelchairs.

Physical Security

Neither fire curtains nor smoke curtains provide any level of physical security; fire shutters should be used if this is required.

 

6. Components

There are many components that make up the design of a fire or smoke curtain which work together in the event of an emergency to keep the building occupants safe from harm, and property safe from damage.

Curtains
The curtain is manufactured from a woven fibreglass and stainless-steel fabric with a coating of intumescent silicone. Metal studs are sewn down the side of the curtain to ensure its correct position in the guide frames whilst in operation.

Smoke seals
A smoke seal provides an all-round physical barrier to prevent smoke passing through the construction of a fire curtain.

Guides rails
Two galvanised steel side guide rails of 100 mm x 50 mm.

Head plates
Two galvanised steel head plates hold the shaft with the curtain, sizing dependent upon the height of the application.

Head Box
The fire curtain assembly comprises of a box housing at high level in which sits the shaft, tubular motor and wrapped curtain. The box is attached to channel section guides at each end.

Bottom Rail
A galvanised steel angle either side of the curtain, bolted together, forms a ‘T’ shaped bottom section to aid in the gravity drop of the curtain and provide a flat seal across the bottom/floor.

Finish
Head box, guides and bottom rail are galvanised at source and can be powder coated as required to any standard RAL or BS4800 colour. Fire curtains are naturally silver grey or charcoal finish, dependent on specification.

Controls
Curtains are supplied with gravity failsafe control panel with in-built lead-acid battery support.

Control Options
Dependant on the site fire protection requirements, various options are available to ensure compliance:

 

7. Product Specifications

HAG offers three ranges of fire and/or smoke curtains:

Fireguard HF240 fire curtain

A premium fire resisting curtain giving 240 minutes fire protection with the added benefit of up to 60 minutes irradiance shield. This adaptable self-closing fire curtain can be installed in suspended or solid ceilings. Unlimited widths can be obtained by overlapping curtains.

Fire Curtain HF240

 

Fireguard HFS Plus fire & smoke curtain

Incorporating smoke seals it is designed to provide safe evacuation routes in proximity to the fire curtain and protection for close contact. It provides fire and smoke protection for up to 240 minutes with added irradiance shield up to 60 minutes.

Fire Curtain

 

Fireguard HS120 smoke curtain

This highly adaptable smoke protection system can be specified to be either fixed or automated to protect escape routes. The smoke curtain can be manufactured with unlimited width and can be installed discreetly for low headroom. Protects against the spread of smoke for up to 120 minutes.

smoke curtain in use in a shopping centre

Comparison between the ranges:

HS240 Fire Curtain HFS Plus Fire & Smoke Curtain HS120 Smoke Curtain
Fire integrity (E) 240 min 120 min n/a
Irradiance (W) 60 min 120 min n/a
Smoke safe (D) n/a 240 min 120 min
Max width unlimited
BS1634 BS1634 BS1634 BSEN1210-1
CERTIFIRE approved

 

All systems come with a GFS control panel. This takes the alarm signal from the mains alarm system, or localised detectors, and performs its closing protocols. In the event of a power outage, the system is designed to self-close when the internal battery pack drops below safe operating voltage – thus ensuring continuity of safety.

The control panel comes with numerous other features including timer delay, 2-stage closure, and is fully programmable pre- or post-installation.

 

8. Maintenance & Safety Checks

Like with any mechanical doors, it is important to make sure your doors are regularly serviced. According to Regulation 5 of the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, all powered doors must be “checked at regular intervals, as appropriate, by inspection, testing, adjustment, lubrication, repair and cleaning.”

If you are the owner of a property, you must comply with certain laws to prevent the spread of flames and smoke. According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all emergency doors must be regularly serviced. It states that:  “…the responsible person must ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state and in efficient working order and in good repair”.

Fire curtains must be serviced every six (6) months to ensure they are in working condition. Risk assessments must be performed to identify and remove all fire risks, which includes checks to the door.

According to the Local Government Association, failure to provide adequate fire safety measures can be punished by a fine “currently of up to £5,000 in the Magistrates’ Court, or by an unlimited fine and/or two years imprisonment in the Crown Court.”

 

9. Door regulations

You will need to follow certain regulations to ensure your fire curtain is in optimum condition.

One of the first steps is making sure the correct signage is visible above any fire door in a non-domestic building. It should have signage on both sides. The sign should indicate clearly that it is a fire door. Watch for further details such as “Keep Locked” to keep the premises safe.

Escape routes including corridors and staircases should be properly protected. In any domestic dwelling which has two or more levels, any door which leads to the staircase must be indicated as a fire door.

Whilst the required fire resistance period cannot be lowered, it is important to understand that the minimum is usually 60 minutes. In any other situation 30-minute fire doors are allowed.

 

10. Frequently asked questions

Whilst both are fabric-based products deployed by a fire control system they have different design and characteristics. A fire curtain is designed to prevent the spread of fire whilst a smoke curtain is designed to spread of smoke. Neither provide physical security.

Due to varying size and specifications all fire curtains and smoke curtains are bespoke manufactured to individual requirements resulting in significant variance from one model cost to another.

As a made-to-measure product, you can receive a free estimate for your fire shutter door from HAG. Simply call 0800 072 3444 and our specialists will be happy to help.

All fire curtains and smoke curtains have been approved by UK and European legislation and comply with current British Standards.

The fire curtains and smoke curtains are generally available within 2 – 4 weeks from manufacture through to Installation and take approximately one day to install for each curtain.

All HAG products come with a comprehensive 12-month warranty covering parts and labour.

 

11. Why choose HAG Ltd?

Businesses will be able to find fire curtains and smoke curtains to keep their premises safe by choosing HAG Doors Ltd. The company was established in 1983 and has developed into a major player in the doors industry, providing all aspects of design, manufacture, installation and after-care.

As members of the Door and Hardware Federation (DHF), Automatic Door Suppliers Association (ADSA), Safe Contractor and Constructionline, HAG is committed to providing a superior level of service and adhering to all associations’ codes of conducts.

Quality

HAG’s fire curtains are constructed using mainly British-sourced materials and manufactured to the very highest testing authority, Warringtonfire.

 

12. Services offered by HAG Ltd.

Design

HAG’s system design service can help end users and architects integrate built-for-purpose fire curtains and doors into their premises. Our team will work with you to gain an understanding of the type of door system required, helping us to produce a design that meets security needs, expected usage and cycle, aesthetics, safety requirements and your budget.
Installation

HAG provide an unequalled quality service during the installation process, with in-house qualified engineers equipped with industry relevant training and experience. Full contractual compliances are adhered to, with all engineers trained in all aspects of site process and management.

Maintenance and Repair Service

HAG operates 24/7, 365 days a year across England, Wales and Scotland. We provide skilled service and repair engineers who are qualified to NVQ level 2 to provide responsive and effective solutions.

HAG offers a 12-month warranty on all new products, which means your products are guaranteed to work with efficiency and ease. At the end of the 12 months, you will be given the option to extend your warranty service for your chosen timespan.

Online Service Manager

The HAG Online Service Manager is an industry first. The software allows us to deliver prompt customer care and efficiency standards. HAG is here to ensure there is a quick installation, and space is managed efficiently, with our high-quality knowledge and fast communication.

Assurance

Architects, specifiers, contractors and building owners have security and assurance in choosing a fire shutter that conforms to the latest government standards BS EN 16034:2014 and is CE compliant. If you need help talk to the door specialists on 0800 072 3444

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HAG offers a wide range of products and services, if you would like further information call 0800 072 3444 now to speak to a member of our team.

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