The recent Grenfell Tower tragedy in London and the revelation that five recently built schools in Leinster have failed fire safety audits brought into sharp relief the need for rigorous enforcement of fire safety standards. The launch in August 2017 of Ireland’s first commercially accredited fire testing facility is timely in this context.

Efectis UK/Ireland Limited is a joint venture between Ulster University’s world-class FireSERT research centre and the Efectis Group, a leading international fire testing and engineering company with 16 offices and laboratories across Europe. The new company will offer a comprehensive range of fire testing and accreditation services to manufacturers of construction products as well as the broader construction sector on the island of Ireland and further afield.

While Efectis will operate independently of Ulster University, it will make use of its best-in-class testing facilities and research resources. FireSERT (the Institute for Fire Safety Engineering Research and Technology) is internationally recognized as a centre of excellence for fire safety science and engineering research.

The facilities include a 600m2 burn hall that facilitates full-scale fire research, a large-scale combination wall and floor furnace (3m x 3m x 4m long), and intermediate and small size furnaces that allow for investigations over a range of scales. The 20 MW Calorimeter hood, one of the largest in Europe, has a 9m x 9m x 9m capacity. This facility can be used for full-scale test validation with respect to reaction to fire and fire resistance tests.

These facilities are complemented by a well-equipped fire dynamics and chemistry laboratory furnished with state of the art testing equipment and dedicated computer facilities for fire modelling.

A specific set of laboratories is also available for the investigation of human behaviour and responses to fire and for evacuation simulations. To date, the focus of this research has been the evacuation capabilities of building occupants including persons with physical and sensory impairments.

The new joint venture will allow FireSERT at Ulster University to focus its research on fire science whilst Efectis UK/Ireland will focus on third-party assessment of products and buildings and will assist governmental bodies in fire safety issues,” says Talal Fateh, General Manager of Efectis UK/Ireland Limited. “A key objective is to become the major actor in fire safety for construction on the island of Ireland. We want to avoid a tragedy like Grenfell Tower and to guarantee the safety of Irish buildings, including schools, and we want to maintain and sustain FireSERT as a centre of excellence in the field of fire safety science.

Efectis UK/Ireland is already up and running at the FireSERT facility in Jordanstown and We already have enquiries from Irish firms and from Europe. Efectis UK/Ireland is actively recruiting staff to meet the anticipated demand. You are welcome to join us.

Contact: Talal Fateh  – [talal.fateh@efectis.com]

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