dhf (Door & Hardware Federation) has welcomed recommendations made in the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’s Interim Report, published on 18 December that those working on the design, construction, inspection and maintenance of complex and high-risk buildings are suitably qualified.
Competency is crucial
“We fully support the proposals presented by this report, particularly pertaining to appropriate qualification of those responsible for manufacture, installation, repair and maintenance,” says dhf’s CEO, Bob Perry. “We have been actively lobbying for this and are pleased to work with other bodies in the industry to achieve this objective.
“The issue of competence is crucial to fire doors as to many other systems within the building. In the case of fire doors, however, the system is uniquely vulnerable to damage caused by use and abuse. This necessitates a high level of maintenance activity, which must be continually undertaken by competent persons throughout the life of the building, not solely during the construction phase or major refurbishment. We would like to see these four elements become mandatory requirements to deliver simplification and underpin building regulation.”
Just last month, the Tamworth-based trade association stressed the importance of compartmentation, and called for urgent change in building regulations, urging the UK government to adopt and enforce a mandatory requirement for all fire doors to be factory-prepared doorsets.
Proposals for change
Michael Skelding, dhf General Manager added, “We propose that any fire - or smoke - resistant door should be a factory-prepared doorset, manufactured under a third-party certification scheme, which is itself accredited by UKAS. Installation and maintenance of the doorsets should be undertaken only by companies certified to do so under a UKAS-accredited third-party certification scheme.”
And the organisation has asserted that the UK should follow Europe’s lead in providing more thorough fire door maintenance procedures, which can ultimately, save lives.
|Should a building owner be unable to provide these reports, the consequences include insurers being able to withdraw their cover|
“Currently, we are lagging behind our European neighbours, but the appropriate changes would bring the UK in line with many other developed nations and help to ensure that inadequate standards do not lead to tragedy, such as Grenfell,” says Bob. “France is a good example of a country that has more stringent fire door maintenance procedures in place.”
Following France's lead
France’s Article R. 122-16 of the Construction and Housing Code states it is the building owner’s responsibility to perform the necessary maintenance checks to ensure that fire doors fitted throughout a site are operating correctly. These inspections are carried out by trained professionals, as part of an accredited and recognised maintenance contract.
Furthermore, all relevant staff are aware of what these maintenance checks include and how often they need to be carried out, with any maintenance inspections undertaken properly documented. Should a building owner be unable to provide these reports, the potential consequences include insurers being able to withdraw their cover, due to a lack of evidence that the necessary maintenance checks have taken place.