Articles by Bob Perry
The need for compliant fire-resistant doorsets is crucial, and as Dr Lane has stated, the non-compliance of the flat entrance fire doors would have contributed to the failure to prevent the spread of fire DHF (Door & Hardware Federation) has welcomed a series of findings into the Grenfell Tower blaze by Chartered Fire Safety Engineer, Dr Barbara Lane. Dr Lane, who has presented her conclusions in a comprehensive report, gave evidence to Sir Martin Moore-Bick's public inquiry on 18th June, in which she listed a number of failed safety regulations that she believes contributed to the significant loss of life. 72 people died in Grenfell Tower in West London, on 14 June 2017. In particular, DHF has saluted her findings pertaining to the inadequacy of the tower’s fire doors, described by Dr Lane as “a crucial element of the stay-put strategy, as they represent an opportunity for weak spots to form in the fire-resistant partitions that separate a flat fire from occupants either on that floor where the fire has started, or occupants in the flat above the floor where the fire has started.” This is something DHF has been emphasising for many months. Importance of compartmentation in fire safety “Compartmentation is vital and plays an important role in passive fire protection”, says DHF’s CEO, Bob Perry, “The need for compliant fire-resistant doorsets is crucial, and as Dr Lane has stated, the non-compliance of the flat entrance fire doors would have contributed to the failure to prevent the spread of fire and hot smoke from the flat to the lobby.” “Additionally,” continues Perry, “she highlights that faulty fire doors mean faulty compartmentation, and compartmentation is the primary basis of the stay-put strategy.” DHF has actively lobbied for many months for changes in regulations and included this in its report to the Industry Response Group Mandatory third-party certification for doorsets The simplest way of achieving compliancy is by making it mandatory for third-party certification of companies manufacturing, installing, repairing or inspecting fire-resisting doorsets and is something DHF will continue to strive for. Under UKAS, accredited third- party certification auditing and traceability procedures for fire doors, unauthorised substitution of compliant fire-tested door materials and components which may lead to failure under exposure to fire, are tightly controlled and generally prevented. DHF has actively lobbied for many months for changes in regulations and included this in its report to the Industry Response Group, with the Tamworth-based trade association working continuously to highlight the importance of compartmentation, issues surrounding poorly or ill-fitted door closers, as well as the need for compliant letter plates, locks and door hinges. Poor functioning of fire doors led to the disaster During her own visit to the site, Dr Lane observed that the installed doors contained different locks, hinges, letter plates and self-closers, which she believes significantly affected the performance of the door, by reducing its burn time. She concluded that the fire doors and their lack of performance, contributed significantly to the spread of smoke, and fire, to the lobbies, with this failure affecting the ability or willingness of occupants to escape independently through this space to the stairs. “The industry has got to do better to ensure that compliant, safe and regulated products are put on the market, and are installed and maintained or repaired by credible, trained people who adhere to the regulations,” says Bob. “For the past year, we have learned the heart-breaking details surrounding this disaster, and the preventative measures that could have been taken to save lives. This report adds further weight to our on-going campaign, so that a disaster like Grenfell never happens again.”
Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) has welcomed the Ministerial Statement to the House, given by the then Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, in which he updated members on building safety. In particular, he informed those present that following an independent investigation into timber fire doors, no issues had been found with the consistency of the fire-resistance performance of the doors tested. This is good news for the industry and adds further weight to DHF’s continuing campaign for all fire doorsets to be factory-prepared (as opposed to prepared on-site), and furthermore, certified by a third-party. Tested under British Standard BS-476:223 25 timber fire doors from manufacturers were furnace tested, all of which passed the 30-minute standard on both sidesIn reporting his findings on 18th July, Mr. Brokenshire explained that all tests were undertaken to British Standard BS-476:223 in a UKAS accredited test house on complete doorsets facing into and away from the furnace. 25 timber fire doors from different manufacturers (and including a range of glazed and un-glazed fire doors with a variety of hardware) were furnace tested, all of which passed the 30-minute standard on both sides. As a result, the Expert Panel concluded that timber fire doors perform consistently in fire resistance when tested and pass the 30-minute required standard across the market when manufactured to specification. He did, however, make clear that complete assurance can only be achieved if building owners insist that installed fire doors are fit for purpose and have the required documentation and certification in place. Promotes third-party certification Commenting on the findings, DHF’s CEO, Bob Perry, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of this investigation, which is very positive for the industry.” He said, “As an organization, DHF has lobbied assiduously for third-party certification of manufacture, installation, maintenance and inspection of fire, smoke and security doors, all of which form a vital part of fire safety." DHF joined forces with SBD and the FIA to publish a guidance document on flat entrance doorsets" “It is imperative that those responsible for installing and maintaining flat entrance doorsets, such as building owners, ensure that these are purchased directly from the manufacturer and produced to specification. They have a legal and moral obligation to uphold these practices.” Guidance document on flat entrance doorsets Earlier this year, DHF joined forces with Secured by Design (SBD) and the Fire Industry Association (FIA) to publish a guidance document on flat entrance doorsets. The joint publication: A Guide for Selecting Flat Entrance Doorsets: A publication for housing associations, landlords, building owners and local authorities in England, highlights the fundamental issues of fire safety for those selecting fire doorsets. The federation has, since 2014, also partnered with BRE Academy to offer fire door training courses, together, developing three all-inclusive one-day training courses on fire door safety to offer greater clarity on the regulations and standards applying to fire doors.
In an unprecedented collaboration within the fire and security industry, three not-for-profit organizations with expertise in fire and security doorsets have combined their knowledge to offer guidance on a newly-published document on flat entrance doorsets. The joint publication: ‘A Guide for Selecting Flat Entrance Doorsets; A publication for housing associations, landlords, building owners and local authorities in England’, relates to new doorsets and is the product of DHF (Door & Hardware Federation), Secured by Design (SBD) and the Fire Industry Association (FIA). The publication brings together the best collaborative advice available from the industry in one straightforward document to highlight the fundamental issues of fire safety and security for those selecting fire doorsets. The publication makes the point that there is no conflict between fire and security with Building Regulations ADB and ADQ carrying equal weight Equal Weightage For ADB And ADQ Importantly, the publication makes the point that there is no conflict between fire and security with Building Regulations ADB (fire) and ADQ (security) carrying equal weight with neither taking precedence over the other. It explains why only factory produced doorsets can meet both ADB and ADQ. Specifiers can have confidence in using the publication as an authoritative source of information as they are guided through the complexities of an extremely important area of Building Regulations to help them make informed choices. The publication, which can be downloaded from any of the co-operating organizations’ websites, comes in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy and in response to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Governments’ (MHCLG) Implementation Plan – ‘Building a Safer Future’, released at the end of December 2018. Enabling Safer, Easier Escape This new guidance document recommends that all fire doorsets are factory-prepared, and audited by a third-partyThis new guidance document, which launched in March of this year, recommends that all fire doorsets are factory-prepared (as opposed to prepared on-site), and furthermore, audited by a third-party. It is suggested these recommendations will offer greater assurance on door performance and protect occupants, control the spread of fire and enable safer, easier escape in the event of an incident. “We are delighted to have collaborated with SBD and FIA, in sharing our joint expertise on doorsets and fire safety,” explains DHF’s CEO, Bob Perry. “It seemed a natural partnership to come together and offer guidance on what to look for in a flat entrance doorset, how this relates to the latest advice supplied by Government (MHCLG) and why third-party certification of fire and security doorset manufacture, installation and maintenance is a critical part of the protection against fire ingress and unlawful entry. “Third party certification of manufacture, installation, maintenance and inspection of fire, smoke and security doors is something DHF has lobbied for tirelessly, as well as issues surrounding poorly or ill-fitting door closers,” he continues. “These form a vital part of fire safety.” Importance Of Third-Party Certification It is worth noting that although this document is specific to England and Wales, it is also useful information for Northern Ireland and Scotland"FIA’s CEO, Ian Moore, says: “We are very pleased to work with DHF and Secured by Design in producing a guidance document to assist housing associations, landlords, building owners and local authorities on what to look for in a new flat entrance doorset and why third-party certification of fire doorset manufacture, installation and maintenance is a critical part of fire protection. “This underlines the Fire Industry Association’s objective to improve and perfect fire protection work and builds on MHCLG guidance within the Government’s building safety program. It is worth noting that although this document is specific to England and Wales, it is also useful information for Northern Ireland and Scotland.” Establishing Effective Security Standards Chief Operating Officer of Secured by Design, Jon Cole, emphasized how important it is for the three organizations to work together to provide a holistic overview. Third party certification, by suitably qualified bodies, has certainly delivered consistency and quality within the security sector"He says: “For many years, we have worked closely with national and local government, manufacturers, trade associations and standards authorities at home and abroad to establish effective security standards in the building and construction industry. We insist on United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited independent, third-party certification to provide product control and to ensure that specification and quality is maintained over time.” “Third party certification, by suitably qualified bodies, has certainly delivered consistency and quality within the security sector. This is why, we have campaigned for flat entrance doorsets to have dual certification, meeting all the relevant requirements for security and fire resistance in a single combined design specification. We believe that certification remains the best and only way to assure that effective quality products are delivered to market, providing additional assurance of performance.”
Bob Perry would "like to see these become mandatory requirements to deliver building regulations" 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.