Rampant Confusion: Fire AND Smoke Curtains vs. Smoke Curtains. Which Standards Apply?

Logic doesn’t always dictate, and top of the charts within our league for confused specifications is applying the wrong British Standard for fire and smoke curtains vs smoke “only” curtains, although we would be the first to admit that the specification and standards are not particularly clear and it is readily understandable how the confusion often comes about.

The good news is that having successfully argued through the confusions with various building controls, fire strategists and quantity surveyors and with 100s of major UK projects under our belt, we feel we can clear this often made confusion up succinctly. BS 8524-2 also states,

NOTE Smoke barriers, used solely for smoke control, are covered by BS EN 12101-1. Such smoke barriers are not considered to be active fire curtain barrier assemblies within the scope of BS 8524.”

1) Fire curtain only - BS 8524-1 or EN BS 1634-1

2) Fire AND Smoke curtain (Floor to ceiling with guides) - BS 8524-1 or EN BS 1634-1 WITH EN BS 1634-3 which is the requisite air or smoke leakage test for a fire curtain. As a note, fire curtain specifiers should be aware that the rate of leakage through an active fire curtain must not exceed 3 m3/m/hr at a pressure of 25Pa when subject to a test utilising the principles of BS EN 1634-3:2004 along with the additional guidance for calculating the leakage rate provided with Annex F of BS 8524-1 2013.

The A1S Group significantly exceeded the requirements for this smoke leakage test. Because normal test specimens are fixed at a testing house (in our case Warrington Exova) with nominal structural opening sizes of 2000mm high by 2300mm wide, Annex F of BS 8524-1 provides additional guidance and assessments must be provided to specifiers to verify compliance when dimensions exceeding these sizes are required. The A1S Group holds Annex F BS 8524-1 certification to manufacture a fire curtain with smoke seals to 10000mm wide x 5630mm high whilst never exceeding the critical 3 m3/m/hr threshold.

3) Smoke Curtain (Only). The required standard is BE EN 12101-1. (As a guide, smoke curtains often will not require guides and will not descend completely to finished floor level. They are designed to channel smoke in conjunction with an HVAC system and do not provide fire integrity.

For further information on our range of Flameshield Fire Curtains, Fire and Smoke Curtains and Smoke Curtains only, please contact paul@a1shutters.co.uk