Written by Neil Wansbrough, Dragon Fire Doors
After the Grenfell tragedy, it’s certainly true that building contractors are more aware of fire safety issues – however tight budgets and a lack of skilled Q Certified fire door installers means there is still a temptation to cut corners – nonetheless, the sobering reality of Grenfell should be uppermost in the minds of any modern property developer.
There are places to cut corners – fire safety is not one of them.
As a joiner with more than 20 years experience, many of them on fitting fire doors and fire stopping measures, I’ve frequently bored friends and family with my concerns when I visit a building for the first time. I always look at the fire doors and am frequently horrified at the lack of safety and the inadequacy of the install. Since Grenfell, though, my family pay more attention when I highlight my concerns and the value of my expertise is suddenly appreciated!
It’s often not down to a shoddy or lazy developer. The law surrounding fire doors is complex and even experienced and reputable developers make mistakes.
As a contract Q-certified fire door fitter and provider of fire stopping services, I see my role as fixing mistakes before they damage people and reputations – because most well-meaning builders want and are trying to get it right.
Here’s just some of the common mistakes I see, which would fail a building inspection:
- Q-Certified Fire doors fitted in inadequate, non-certified door frames with non-certified fittings – the wrong fittings means the door would fail and the wrong door frames mean the door will simply fall out in the event of a fire.
- Inadequate Fire stopping around fire doors, causing the door to fail well before it’s certified time
- Gaps above, below and to the side of fire doors, rendering the door ineffective in a fire
The fact is, most fire doors will not get tested in a real-world situation. Having seen so many mistakes, that is something I am truly thankful for, but the reality is that inhabitants will count on that fire door in a real-life emergency – and injury and loss of life are the potential price of failure.
Q- Certified fitters and fire stopping professionals are able to offer more than just fire door fitting, they are able to upgrade the standard of existing fire door installations to meet the new building regulations, source Q-Certified products and offer extensive advice, support and rectification work on fire stopping and fire doors. This enhances a developer’s reputation and will impress a building inspector.
Certified by bmtrada, these joiners usually work on a sub-contracting basis and have undergone specific, specialist training and have been assessed to offer the highest level of knowledge and workmanship, with expertise in fire safety.
As building regulations are becoming increasingly strict, there is no margin for getting installations wrong. However, after Grenfell, the importance of what I do for a living really hit home.
Hitting the highest standards for fire safety won’t just earn a building contractor the highest respect among their peers – it will give them the peace of mind that their buildings will, in the event of a fire, buy the inhabitants time to escape safely – the difference between life and death. That’s something I’m proud to strive for every day.
About the author
Neil Wansbrough is the Managing Director of Dragon Fire Doors. To learn more, visit https://www.dragonfiredoors.co.uk/