GIA renews call for fire door
The Guild of Architectural Ironmongers has renewed its call for mandatory competency checks on anyone specifying fire doors and associated door hardware, and for fire door inspections and maintenance to be included in Building Regulations.
The call comes in response to the Building a Safer Future consultation on fire safety and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, on which the call for evidence was recently closed.
GAI technical manager Douglas Masterson said: “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 consultations on the issues, the Guild 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.
Masterson continued: “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. 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.”