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Guild renews its call for action on fire safety competencies and fire door checks

In response to the Building a Safer Future consultation on fire safety and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 call for evidence, the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) has renewed its call for mandatory competency checks on those who specify fire doors and associated door hardware.
The Building a Safer Future proposals build on the recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. The report sets out ideas for the fundamental reform of building safety requirements, designed to ensure residents can be safe, and feel safe, in their homes.
The GAI has also called again for mandatory fire door inspections and maintenance as part of Building Regulations.
Its response noted that, while the report says residents and landlords in High Risk Residential Buildings (HRRBs) should ensure fire compartmentation is maintained to a suitable standard, this was in fact only a step in the right direction.
Douglas Masterson, technical manager of the GAI, said:
“Any increased emphasis on competence in industry is most welcome by our industry. The architectural ironmongery industry’s view is that there is a clear requirement for fire-related and other complex specifications to be undertaken by qualified ironmongers, and that installations and maintenance should also be undertaken by qualified personnel or companies. Competence is key across all these areas when it comes to ironmongery, particularly for fire and escape doors.”
In its submission to the consultation, the GAI has also highlighted its growing concerns about continued ‘value engineering’ by contractors and sub-contractors, particularly the frequent changes to architectural ironmongery specified for fire doors.
The Guild supports the change control process recommended in Hackitt’s report, but also recommends taking it further to add ‘changes in specification on product with fire and life safety implications’ to the list of changes that would be deemed major.
Major changes would require the principal contractor to consult the client and principal designer, and then, if they are happy with these changes, the principal contractor must then notify the regulator and submit further details before carrying out the work.
“There is a danger that substitution of specified products which can have an impact on fire safety, such as architectural ironmongery, may not be picked up as part of the existing proposals,” said Douglas. “We are most concerned that any potential degrading of a specification which has been prepared by a qualified architectural ironmonger could have severe fire safety consequences.
“At the GAI we are still very much in support of reintroducing the Clerk of Works role to ensure that specifications are being followed to the letter, something that was sadly missing from the Government’s response.”
The Guild supports calls for a national construction products regulator that can take action against any manufacturer which makes false claims about its products. But the GAI argues that its remit needs to go wider:
“A national regulator with the powers to take legal action should be a necessity against all major standards, not purely those which are harmonised standards, as suggested in the original report.”
The GAI also backs recommendations to change the RRO so that the fire service has greater involvement with the sign-off of buildings, the industry-wide implementation of smart labels, greater clarity of approved documents, and third-party testing of products through schemes such as BWF-Certifire.
The GAI is part of the Industry Response Working Group 12 relating to products, chaired by the Construction Products Association.


ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions events ‘Unlock Compliance’ for Fire Door Safety Week 2019

Fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire, yet the strict specification, maintenance and management of these doorsets is still not fully understood. This is something that ASSA ABLOY is passionate about changing.
So, to coincide with Fire Door Safety Week 2019 (23-29 September), ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland will be hosting two dedicated events to help people responsible for fire doors, unlock compliance to fire door safety.
The two events will take place at the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Conference Suite on the 19th September and at the UBM Building in Central London on the 24th September.
The aim of the events is to educate and inform delegates about the fire door standards that can often be lost in translation. ASSA ABLOY will bring together all of its brands and wide ranging experience to speak about the common issues surrounding fire door compliance. It will then offer practical advice on how to overcome these issues, by breaking down current and future regulations and ramifications.
The events will promote fire door safety and compliance to facilities managers, building owners, specifiers and contractors. Attendees can expect to gain a greater understanding from ASSA ABLOY staff and guest speakers on the following key topics:
•    Safeguarding compliance through the supply chain
•    The important role door hardware plays in ensuring building compliance
•    The role and performance of fire door seals
•    The importance of compartmentalisation in fire safety
The event will end with a discussion panel.
Brian Sofley, Managing Director at ASSA ABLOY Door Group, comments: “In May 2018, results of the Independent Review of Building Regulation and Fire Safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, made it clear that even after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, fire doors remained a significant area of neglect, often downgraded and mismanaged throughout their service life.
“Fire safety can only be properly guaranteed if the standards and checks of equipment such as fire doors are carried out by-the-book, and throughout the lifecycle of both the products and the building.”
Eryl Jones, Managing Director at ASSA ABLOY Door Hardware & Access Control Group, adds: “Growth and acquisitions give ASSA ABLOY Door Hardware & Access Control Group the broadest range of fire compliant door hardware products in the market, backed up by an experienced team of industry professionals.
“ASSA ABLOY’s fire safety events have been a great success over the last couple of years, and we are keen to carry on helping industry professionals to understand compliance when it comes to fire door safety standards.
“We urge industry professionals, specifiers, contractors, property owners and facilities managers to join us at this year’s free events, to help better the standard of fire door compliance as an industry.”


CMS UK Ltd strengthens senior management team with three new appointments

Leading building services specialist Commercial Maintenance Services UK Ltd (CMS) has strengthened its management team following the appointment of three new directors.
Bennet Hoskyns-Abrahall, Stephen Dunn and Chris Golden bring a wealth of industry and business expertise to the CMS board to support its ongoing growth strategy.
The family-owned business is headquartered in Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, but its team of over 100 qualified in-house engineers provide an extensive range of nationwide business-critical services, including commercial gas, plumbing and electrical services.
The three board-level appointments, each of whom has an array of industry experience, has already provided fresh impetus to CMS as it continues to expand the business beyond its traditional North East heartland.
The company, which employs 125 people, works with several high-profile clients including Travelodge, Nissan, Four Seasons Healthcare, Vodafone Group, Nuffield Health and Marks & Spencer.
It is seeking to further expand into education, retail and health care sectors – working for clients with regional and nationwide requirements.
Commercial Director Bennet Hoskyns-Abrahall is a qualified chartered accountant, who joined CMS with a background in SME business management, corporate finance, venture capital and consulting.
He trained as an accountant with Deloitte in London, later joining the Commonwealth Development Corporation managing venture capital funds in West Africa and the West Indies. He then ran Cleveland Biotech, a Teesside based SME taking it through two private equity transactions.
Stephen Dunn joined CMS 12 years ago as a service engineer before being promoted to Technical and Compliance Manager and was recently appointed to Compliance Director.
A time-served engineer, he has held various position prestigious positions within the industry such as chairman of the North East Branch of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Engineering and the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers as well as being an active member of various professional institutes and working groups.
He regularly provides strategic advice and guidance to the gas industry at a national level and recently contributed to the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group.
Prior to joining CMS, Stephen – a qualified Ambulance Service Community First Responder – was Regional Manager for Switch2 Energy Solutions and Regional & Gas Technical Manager for Reactfast Solutions.
Projects Director Chris Golden is a Chartered Engineer and Project Manager who has worked across a wide variety of industry sectors including defence, rail, oil & gas and offshore energy, from concept, through design, manufacture and construction to in-service support.
During his career, he has worked on several multi-million pound projects throughout the UK and internationally. He joined CMS tasked with growing the projects division and increasing the size and complexity of the projects the company delivers.
CMS has been operating for over 20 years, headed up by brothers Nic and Neil Smith who are both experienced multi-skilled mechanical and electrical engineers. Nic said:
“We are extremely delighted to welcome such a wealth of industry and business talent to the board. Bennet, Stephen and Chris all contribute fresh and innovative ideas which ensure CMS continues to remain a forward-thinking, ambitious and customer-focused business.
“CMS is intent on continuing to grow its business nationwide by providing a complete commercial gas, mechanical and electrical engineering service for our commercial clients including design, installation, service and maintenance.”

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