Vertical cross-section of the curtain-wall assembly that was tested.

Technal Middle East (TME) continues to stress the need to ensure the fire integrity of structures and promote curtain-walling solutions that have proven themselves under stringent tests.

Following the successful launch of its building facade solutions which are compliant with the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code 2017 at a seminar in Dubai last November, TME is poised to conduct another seminar in Abu Dhabi during the first quarter of 2018 to enhance awareness of its products, according to Hesham Kameshki, marketing and business development manager at TME, the regional office of Technal, a market leader in propriety architectural aluminium systems.

Technal’s new solution of utilising non-fire-rated curtain wall assembly, which features perimeter fire protection from the UK-based SideRise, has successfully completed the EN-1364-4 fire resistance test required in the UAE, he says.

According to Kameshki, the objective of the test was to provide a firestop at the gap between the edge of the slabs and back of the glazed aluminium curtain-wall. The assembly has used the SideRise fire board (FB) on the back of the spandrel area to protect this zone in the event of fire breakout “the fire passes from the spandrel area zone, where the flame will act on the aluminium glazed panels above the slab, and might even pass through this zone”, he explains.

The objective of the test was to provide a firestop at the gap between the edge of the slabs and back of the curtain-wall.

The objective of the test was to provide a firestop at the gap between the edge of the slabs and back of the curtain-wall.

The test, he says, was made for fire at the slab edge perimeter. The full assembly of aluminium glazed panels with the combination of firestop material (Lamatherm) and spandrel protection were put through the test.

“The test confirms that the assembly meets the stringent requirements outlined in the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code 2017, which building contractors must comply with to protect building façades,” says Kameshki. “The test was conducted in September 2017, at a leading laboratory specialised in fire testing in France – currently, no test laboratory in the region can conduct this kind of test. The target was to pass tests for insulation and integrity to EI120 (two-hour fire integrity), which was achieved successfully and exceeded during the actual test.

He says the test also proves the special cooperation in engineering research between Technal and SideRise – a leading manufacturer of acoustic, fire and thermal insulation solutions – to find a solution.

He points out, however, that fabricators need to be certified and prove the quality of their fabrication to obtain approval from the Dubai Civil Defence. This implies that in the future, fabricators must conduct tests for jobs where they are required to provide a curtain-wall facade with horizontal fire protection at the slab. The fabricator must also assign a qualified worker for the job and ensure quality control procedures are adopted.

Kameshki says the unique thing about this whole concept is that a standard Technal curtain-wall is used, which only needs to be fabricated in accordance with the company’s manuals and following the related codes of practice.

Kameshki adds that any standard curtain-wall from the Technal Géode range can incorporate SideRise’s perimeter fire protection.

“The installation procedures are standard and as per the prevailing practices. Only the gap between the edge slab and the back of the curtain-wall needs to be a minimum 50 mm (in addition to dimensional tolerance that needs to be considered for the concrete casting, or the position of the beam on the slab edge).”

The thickness of two SideRise FB panels is 50 mm, with the installation of the FB and Lamatherm being simple and also done from inside the building.

“The success of the results achieved depends equally on the curtain-wall integrity, quality and performances criteria – and Technal Géode meets such requirements. This fire protection is now available to meet the fire-safety requirements in countries such as the UAE where it is mandatory,” he adds.

Any Géode curtain-wall can incorporate the fire protection for structural glazing, horizonal line, VEC and bead effect.

Any Géode curtain-wall can incorporate the fire protection for structural glazing, horizonal line, VEC and bead effect.

The new UAE safety code was issued last year (2017) in the wake of a spate of fire incidents in high-rises, which has put the spotlight on the need to install quality façades that protect life and property. Globally, building fires cause 500,000 deaths annually while seriously injuring around six million people and, therefore is a major hazard to people.

More than 120 Civil Defence officials, contractors, consultants, specifiers and developers attended the seminar at the Conrad Dubai hotel, where Technal Middle East and SideRise elaborated on the requirements of EN-1364-4 test to ensure façades are fire resistant. They also announced the successful completion of the EN-1364-4 fire resistance test on the curtain-wall assembly.

At the seminar, Sam Robinson, general manager, TME, said a curtain-wall assembly with a physical barrier that prevents the flames, fumes and hot gases propagating will help to control the growth and spread of fire in a building, thus protecting both life and property by allowing occupants to escape.

The EN-1364-4 fire test, he said, is proven to be one of the most stringent compared to other standards used currently.

“I am proud that our curtain-wall system met the test requirements and to be a leader in providing such solutions. This will give building contractors, consultants and specifiers the confidence that our product will perform as expected,” he said.

Chris Hall, commercial development officer of SideRise Group, said: “Like stringent code requirements for cladding assemblies on building envelopes, the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code 2017 specifies that glazed curtain-walls also need to demonstrate compliance through tested assembly to ensure the safety of buildings. Technal’s curtain-wall assembly with our fire protection system is test approved and provides peace of mind to contractors and ensuring the safety of building residents in the case of a fire.”