Fire protection is about safety and should be handled with respect for invaluable functionality in case of fire. In procurements a reference product is provided as the basis for what the fire protection regulations in BBR prescribe as minimum requirements, with the addition that even equivalent products may be accepted.
But who decides what can be considered an equivalent product?
Awarding land registration and building permits means that most of the experts have worked for a long time to develop construction and products that meet society's requirements for fire safety. When the client and the architect present their suggestions to an expert fire consultant, the project is examined in the smallest detail and the instructions for fire performance are determined. By law, individual specific product may not be favoured but may be named with the addition, "or equivalent", which opens the doors for procurement. What is important to understand is that the current product, designated for example "Manufactured by Woodsafe Exterior WFX", has specialist fire consultant documents, such as fire performance, functionality reviewed for e.g. exterior use as well as certificate-reviewed according to requirements specified in CPR, BBR, PBL and others.
When procurement is up to date, your place as a buyer is to interpret and compare the performance of another product as prescribed. How much do you know about product performance performance requirements and functionality?
What, then, is an equivalent product, and what rights do you have as a buyer to replace the prescribed product with another? None, it may seem, but in practice it is not particularly difficult and common sense can help you chose. Ask yourself the question: Is it good to choose a product that does not meet current performance requirements and where the fire protection properties are not suitable for use in external environments due to hygroscopic properties?
A tender that does not comply with all mandatory requirements will not proceed to evaluation, but instead the offer will be rejected (see judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court).
What is considered equivalent is therefore not obvious, but it is up to the supplier to show that what has been offered is equivalent to what was requested, and it is the contracting party, and the court of law determines if the supplier has shown that the offered product is equivalent and fulfills the required mandatory requirements or not. See, for example, the Chamber of Commerce in Sundsvall's judgment in Case No. 2685-2687-12 regarding the assessment of the equivalence of a product offered by the contracting authority in the procurement documents referring to a specific reference product.
PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE FIRE PROTECTION TRADE ARE:
- Possession of CE certificate
- Possession of type-approval certificates
- Mounting ratio of air gap or not
- Durable fire-resistant properties in exterior environment EN16755 EXT
- The above properties are met with or without requirement of surface treatment