Acoustic, smoke & fire containment systems

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Jargon buster

What’s the difference between a head and a jamb, and what's an astragal? Find out all you need to know with our handy industry jargon buster:

  • Acoustic seal – Any seal designed to reduce airborne sound transmission.
  • Airborne sound – Sound waves carried through air rather than a solid medium.
  • Ageing resistance – The ability to withstand degradation in service, tested through exposure to a particular environment.
  • Ambient temperature (smoke) – Smoke encountered some distance from the origin of a fire, and which has cooled but remains toxic.
  • Anodised – A hard, highly durable, electrolytic finish applied to aluminium extrusions, which greatly enhances the appearance at the same time. It is naturally clear, giving a silver effect, but coloured tints such as bronze, gold or gunmetal may be incorporated, generally at extra
    cost.
  • Astragal – A face-fixed vertical cover strip designed to conceal the gap that would otherwise exist between the meeting stiles of single-acting, non-rebated, double leaf doors.
  • Automatic door bottom – A threshold seal that automatically retracts from the floor surface as soon as the door leaf is opened by a few millimetres, and generally requires no electrical connections.
  • Automatic threshold seal –  As above.
  • BBA – British Board of Agrément – the premier independent quality assurance certification authority, which addresses relevant factors contributing to the fitness-for-purpose of building products.
  • British Standard – an official reference which may address either a recognised method-of-test or a code-of-practice.
  • BS – British standard, an official reference which may address either a recognised method-of-test or a code-of-practice.
  • BS EN – A British standard which is also identical to the relevant European Norm.
  • BS EN ISO – A British standard which is not only identical to the relevant European Norm, but also to the internationally recognised ISO standard.
  • Brush seal – Depending on the context, either: A seal element composed of nylon filaments, generally a minimum of 10mm long, and crimped into a metal spine – these are sometimes called ‘sweep action brushes’; or A short brush pile insert, fitted into an intumescent seal to provide smoke containment.
  • Carrier – Any metal or plastic holder for a seal element.
  • Certifire – An independent quality assurance certification authority, which addresses relevant factors contributing to the fitness-for-purpose of products used in either fire or smoke protection. (Aligned with and managed by Exova, formerly known as Bodycote WarringtonFire Ltd.)
  • Clearance gap – The gap between a door leaf and its frame, or between the door leaf and the threshold.
  • Compartmentation – The division of a building into areas by using solid walls and floors to prevent the spread of fire and/or smoke.
  • Compression seal – A seal that becomes effective when a compressive force is applied to it – eg, when a door leaf closes onto it.
  • Concealed threshold seal – An automatic threshold seal designed to be mortised into the bottom of a door leaf where it is hidden from view.
  • Cover strip – A removable metal or plastic strip incorporated into a seal holder, intended to cover up unsightly screw fixings after the seal has been fitted and adjusted.
  • Cover plate – A removable metal or plastic plate designed to clip over the whole of a seal body, to cover screw fixings and give a smooth overall appearance.
  • dB – Decibel – a comparative measurement of sound intensity, generally referring to a reduction measured from one point to another.
  • Document B – An “Approved Document” containing recommendations for demonstration of compliance with the Building Regulations (England & Wales) with respect to fire precautions.
  • Document E – An “Approved Document” containing recommendations for demonstration of compliance with the Building Regulations (England & Wales) with respect to acoustic provisions.
  • Document M – An “Approved Document” containing recommendations for demonstration of compliance with the Building Regulations (England & Wales) with respect to access provisions, particularly for people with limited mobility.
  • Double action – Refers to door assemblies in which the leaves are able to open in both directions of pedestrian travel.
  • Drop seal – An alternative expression for an automatic threshold seal.
  • Elastomer – Any material with rubber-like qualities of elasticity.
  • Escape route – A fire and smoke protected area of a building, leading to a place of greater safety.
  • Essential ironmongery – Any hardware items such as hinges, latch, hydraulic closer, etc, essential to the operation of a fire resistant door assembly.
  • Extrusion – A profile of constant cross-section and indefinite length, created by forcing a billet of metal, or pellets of a thermoplastic material, through a shaped die.
  • FD30 – A door assembly rated at 30 minutes fire resistance when tested in accordance with BS 476 Pt 22.
  • FD30S – A door assembly as above, with additional smoke resistance when tested in accordance with BS 476 Pt 31, Section 31.1.
  • Face-fixed – Door furniture or seals mounted directly on the surface of the door leaf.
  • Finger guard – A device covering the gap between a door leaf and its frame on the hinged edge, extending and contracting with the movement of the door. Its purpose is to provide protection from the risk of fingers being accidentally caught in the gap if the door should suddenly close.
  • Fire resistance – The ability of a door assembly to withstand exposure to fire when tested in accordance with a recognised standard
  • Fire seal – A seal designed to enhance the performance of a fire door assembly, generally by virtue of an intumescent core in the seal profile.
  • Frequency – The character of a sound wave referring to the number of vibrations or cycles per second and measured in Hertz.
  • Gasket – The flexible element associated with a seal profile, usually for smoke and/or acoustic containment.



 

  • Head – The top of a doorway and part of the perimeter seal system.
  • Hertz [Hz] – The unit of measurement for the frequency of a sound wave in cycles per second – eg, 3000 cycles per second = 3000 Hz.
  • Housing – A casing or other form of retention for a seal element.
  • IFC – An independent quality assurance certification, which addresses relevant factors contributing to the fitness-for-purpose of products used in either fire or smoke protection. (Managed by International Fire Consultants Ltd.)
  • Independent accreditation – Quality assurance certification which addresses many factors relating to serviceability and fitness-for-purpose of a product, going beyond the passing of a single fire, smoke or acoustic test.
  • Integrity– The capacity of a door assembly to maintain its resistance to fire or smoke exposure over a period of time.
  • Intumescent – A material which does not immediately melt on exposure to elevated temperature but first expands to a cellular structure many times its original volume, sometimes accompanied by pressure development.
  • Jamb – The vertical portion of the frame onto which the door is secured.
  • Leading edge – The closing edge of a door which meets the doorframe.
  • Meeting stile – The vertical edges of double doors at the point they meet, defining the gap between them.
  • Mill finish – The surface of a metal component after forming it to shape and without any further decorative or protective treatment.
  • Neoprene – A rubber material commonly used in the manufacture of gaskets and resilient seal elements.
  • Newton – The standard unit of measurement for force.
  • Nylon – A hard thermoplastic material, widely used in the form of filaments for sweep action brush seals.
  • Operating resistance – The force needed to overcome the resistance to opening and closing of a door assembly, caused by the combined presence of seals and essential ironmongery.
  • Opening and closing forces – As above.
  • PVC – Poly Vinyl Chloride – a thermoplastic material, commonly used in seal assemblies, which may be in varying degrees of hardness or softness as required.
  • PVCu – Hard “unplasticised” PVC material, widely used in the housings for intumescent seals.
  • Perimeter seal – A seal located on the long edges and across the head of a door assembly.
  • Pile seal – A flexible smoke or weather seal element made from short polypropylene fibres and generally incorporated in a rigid PVC or aluminium holder. See also brush seal.
  • Polymer – A synthetic mouldable material of either rubber or thermoplastic.
  • Polypropylene – A thermoplastic material widely used in the manufacture of fibres for flexible pile (brush) seal elements.
  • Rw – An acoustic measurement denoting the “weighted average sound reduction index” and used to describe the performance of a door assembly over a range of frequencies, but expressed as a single comparable figure – eg, 29dB Rw.
  • Rail – A horizontal reinforcing element in a door leaf construction.
  • Ramp – A sloping plate used to facilitate a smooth transition from one floor level to another.
  • Rebate – The part of a door frame created by the presence of the stop, and forming a recess for the edges of the door leaf.
  • Resilience – The ability of a flexible sealing element to recover quickly from deformation caused by compression or other locally applied force.
  • Reveal – The side of the door frame, revealed by opening the door.
  • Santoprene – A highly resilient and very durable thermoplastic material, closely resembling Neoprene rubber in its properties.
  • Satin anodised – A hard, durable, electrolytic finish applied to aluminium extrusions which greatly enhances the appearance by imparting a satin sheen. It is naturally clear, giving a silver effect, but coloured tints such as bronze, gold or gunmetal may be incorporated to order.
  • Single action – Refers to door assemblies in which the leaves are able to open in just one direction of pedestrian travel.
  • Smoke seal – Any seal designed to greatly reduce the transmission of smoke from one side of a door assembly to the other.
  • Sound pressure – The property of airborne sound which, combined with frequency, determines how easily it will transfer from one side of a door assembly to the other.
  • Sound wave – Refers to airborne sound in the form of a longitudinal wave, having a frequency and an amplitude.
  • Stile – A vertical reinforcing member in a door leaf – but also a commonly- used reference to the outside vertical edge of a door leaf.
  • Stop – The raised part of a door frame which prevents the leaf from swinging any further than needed to achieve the full closed position.
  • Thermoplastic – A synthetic material which can be formed to a specific shape by applying heat and compression – eg, by injection moulding or extrusion.
  • Threshold gap – The clearance necessary for everyday operation at the bottom of a door leaf.
  • Threshold seal – Any seal designed to bridge the threshold gap when the door leaf is in the closed position.
  • Threshold plate – A metal strip designed to fit across the doorway to form a level surface on which a better sealing efficiency may be achieved. It may also provide a transition from one floor surface to another.
  • uPVC – Hard “unplasticised” PVC material, widely used in the housings for intumescent seals.