Despite a promising start after the 1st July 2013 deadline, non CE marked smoke vents are still being installed, warns Bilco, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of Natural Smoke and Heat Exhaust Ventilators (NSHEVs). “Initial enquiries from customers after the deadline showed us that much of the market had embraced the need to specify and install only CE marked smoke vents,” says James Fisher, General Manager of Bilco. “However, nine months on we are still seeing an alarming number of non CE marked NSHEV products being installed on current projects. Although there is some discretion allowed if products meet the requirements of Building Control, the legislation was clearly designed to introduce a legally imposed standard that would safeguard lives in the event of fire. By now we should be specifying and installing only CE marked products as the norm, not as an option.”
This is not just a question of ensuring the use of high quality products, Bilco explains. Harmonised European standards are applied to products which have a profound effect on the overall safety of a building for its end users. For this reason, there shouldn’t be any non CE marked NSHEVs anywhere in the supply chain. The grace period, which applied only to products which had already been purchased on 1st July 2013 has well and truly passed, the company argues.
In order to meet the requirements of CE marking, manufacturers were obliged to complete rigorous testing to the harmonized European Standard EN12101-2, meeting the requirements of the Construction Products Regulation. “This represents a significant investment in product development to meet the new CE marked standard, reflecting the importance of reliable, dependable NSHEVs in fire safety best practice,” says James Fisher. “Responsible manufacturers have subjected their products to thorough testing by a third party ‘notified body’ to assess reliability; opening under loads; low ambient temperature (to temperatures as low as -15°C); wind load; and heat exposure; in addition to free aerodynamic area. As a result, the Bilco REM smoke vent range is now fully certified and CE marked in accordance with legislation, as are most of the leading UK brands. We shouldn’t be compromising on CE marking when in practice this could mean putting lives at risk,” he concludes.