FIRE DAMPERS BIM4HOUSING ROUNDTABLES 23-06-2023

RICHARD This meeting is to update the 12 pieces of guidance we put together 18 months - 2 years ago on 12 fire critical assets, basically to get us up to date with the Building Safety and Fire Safety Acts. We’ve been getting quite a lot of new information, given the depth of work that was put in quite surprisingly we’ve had a lot of new information in these meetings, not necessarily all to do with time. I think the best thing is, apologies again to the people that have heard it all before, but we’ve got a lot of new members at BIM4Housing, just over half of the meetings attended so far have been new people, so we need to give them a bit of context and George will do that now.

GEORGE (shares screen). We took over management of BIM4Housing about 3 years ago and we’ve moved it away from being about 3D modelling to being about better information management. We’ve created 6 working groups who meet once every 2 months to determine what things could be achieved more effectively if they have better information. As a result of that we set up different workstreams to carry out particular tasks, these tend to run for a couple of months. We’ve come up with standardised data templates, reusable data libraries, the fire safety critical components we’re going through this week and next week and we’re doing work and carbon and also the digital record. Just to put this in context, we’re discovering that different people need different information for different purposes and everybody needs different levels of detail.

What we want to do is identify what information might be on a data sheet or might be going into the documentation that is being generally provided, and what is specific to that particular job which might be, for example, commissioning figures and things like that. Also, we want to make sure that the fire risk assessments and fire safety case reports are actually a live document that’s being constantly updated and changed so when things change the risk can be rerun. And things like inspections, we want to make sure that they’re tied back to an individual asset, so in terms of fire dampers I regularly hear, in particular on existing buildings but sadly it’s also true on new build, that no one is properly recording where they are, which is something that we need to overcome.

What we’re trying to do is address the fact that what we’ve now got are lots of different software applications, great information that is being used to collect the golden thread. So in this case we’ve got a door, we’ve got the information about the door, the system is highlighting here what’s missing which could be a document or data. That can then be also connected with manufacturers’ product data and also we can then locate where things are. We think that this is the way forward to be able to tie it back to a unique asset so that if somebody is then using a mobile app (like Plan Radar) to go and do an inspection, the inspection is being done against that specific fire damper, not simply recording that an inspection was done. Because it might be that it’s done by somebody using Plan Radar one day or Riskbase or Hilti in 2 or 3 years-time, and we want to make sure that that inspection then becomes part of the golden thread and feeds into, for example, Civica.

We want to make sure that some information of this data sheet is machine-readable. When we embarked on this journey I was trying to get it all to be machine-readable and I’ve now concluded that what we should be doing is concentrating on the P information, in this case for a door, fire rating, but we ought to be picking out fire rating as machine-readable information because on different doors it’s described differently. So, we want to have a situation where it’s simple for people to pick this information up and assign it to the object, but still be supported by a good document. To achieve that we’ve been working with HACT (Housing Association Charitable Trust) and other organisations to come up with standardised data templates, that’s part of what we’re doing here today, that can then be used on existing buildings and new, and organise the information so it can be consumed by any different software application. This is part of the exercise that we’ve been doing, for example, here we’ve got an AOV. We’ve classified that AOV according to Uniclass, so that should then be simply identified, but it might also be that people use different terms for it. That Automatic Opening Vent may also be called a smoke vent.

So, in the database you’re able to manage that and then through that we’ve then focused on which asset types are fire related, which ones are safety related, so again this is all coming back to a degree of standardisation. COBie is the international standard for product information, so manufacturer, model number, but here you’ll see that could be for a door or a fire damper or an air handling unit. The thing that makes it different is the additional attributes that are relevant to a, let’s say, a damper. But deciding what those attributes should be is a challenge. We’ve got the BIM attributes (IFC), we’ve also got the ones that CIBSE have produced. We’ve got NRM and we’ve got the system that wholesalers and merchants use called ETIM. So, all of those are very relevant for different purposes. So here we’ve got, against this AOV, the attributes that are coming from IFC. You might look at those and say if you’re a designer you’d want to know this information, but if you’re doing inspections or if you’re an asset manager, you might only want to now what the fire rating is.

What we’re trying to do today is get you, as subject matter experts, to help us understand what these data sets are because if we’ve got them we can then publish them and then get them collected onsite. So, this all folds into the initiative that L&Q set up called the Golden Thread Initiative to inform the government as to what the golden thread should contain. We had 10 working groups, I led the Asset and Survey Information group and really asked people like you what data do we need to know about a fire damper and in most cases people said ‘it depends’. Paul’s going to show us an example of that in a moment. We’ve gone through that exercise now for 12 different asset types and this is just an example of the way in which we’ve done that. So, here people that don’t understand fire doors, for example, might not appreciate that it’s a composite of a number of different component elements.

What we then wanted to do, the HSE asked us to look at this from the point of view of something crops up, a fire in a particular room, how do we precent the spread of smoke, or how do we make it safe for the residents to get out. One way of doing that is by having compartment walls and dampers, but if that fails, if any of those individual assets fail, you’ve got to make sure that the smoke control systems work and also the detection systems. So we used that to frame the question as to what risks does a particular asset mitigate so that we can understand that side of it. Also, what do people do to fire dampers to stop them from working. What information do we need for different purposes, what tasks do we need to maybe have documented so we can make sure that things have been installed, commissioned, inspected and maintained properly, should we have some standardised steps. The same with competency, what standard should we be working to in terms of competency and how should changes be recorded.

If we can do this properly we can get information so that it can be held in an auditable form and we’re not reliant on it being put into the models. The same data might be used in procurement applications or inspection or maintenance. And by doing that once it can then be applied many times using APIs to different software applications and that means that the new guidance BS8644, we can take that data, add it to the template and then it updates everything.

RICHARD Question 1a. So, we’re talking about fire dampers and what risks do fire dampers mitigate. We record this session and after the session the video is available, but we also take highpoints of the session which include what’s written in the chat, so please do use the chat. Anyone got anything to add?

PAUL WHITE Just the fact that not every fire damper resists the spread of smoke, so I don’t know whether you want to fit it in someway.

RICHARD What, in terms of being aware that that’s the case?

PAUL WHITE Yes. That line ‘risk of speed of fire and smoke spread’, if you use curtain fire dampers you’re not going to prevent any risk of the speed of smoke spreading.

GEORGE Should we take smoke out of the reference to this?

PAUL WHITE Maybe we just take smoke out and have at the end certain dampers precent the risk of spreading smoke or help prevent the risk of spreading smoke.

GEORGE Take the mention of smoke out on each of them. The purpose of the issue here is, as we were discussing yesterday with smoke dampers, the maintenance industry calls them smoke and fire dampers.

PAUL WHITE Everybody does, and there’s the confusion with smoke control dampers, but the fire damper is to stop fire and some of them reduce the spread of smoke, but not all of them.

RICHARD The risk of smoke damage on, just take out totally.

CONOR LOGAN The one we had earlier in the week was the risk of system failure because they don’t really mitigate, that’s a risk to the fire dampers.

DEANE SALES We moved that one in one of the other working groups, that system failure the AOV, we moved that into a different section because it was more relevant there. But that one that says risk of compromising security, that doesn’t really make any sense to me because unless we’re being robbed by Spiderman crawling through the ducting I’m not sure whether security comes into that, or am I just reading that wrong.

PAUL WHITE Yeah, that one can go.

STEVE FITCHETT I don't know what it would do as regards to stopping contaminated firefighting water run off.

PAUL WHITE I think get rid of the last one completely. There’s three types of dampers: we’ve got an FD which is a curtain fire damper, we’ve got an FD with an ES classification which is the motorised fire damper, and we have a smoke control damper which is a completely different product with completely different standards. And you don’t need to call it a motorised smoke control damper because it has to have a motor, so a motorised fire damper with an ES classification is what we commonly call a fire and smoke damper, but you can’t use them for the different applications because if you do it won’t work.

DEANE SALES Is it worth putting a little paragraph at the beginning just clarifying what the differences are because I think there’s a lot of ambiguity in the industry amongst many people.

RICHARD Yeah, we have got a section that explains what a fire damper is, but I think we’ve only got two fire dampers in there.

COLIN WHITE We mentioned yesterday that we would call them motorised fire dampers.

RICHARD Right, let’s go onto question 1b. What compromises the fire dampers ability to perform as required? So, what are the risks to the fire damper?

PAUL WHITE Do you remember we indented those below the first one. Everything including risk of aluminium, as far as I can see at the moment. Risk that the assets not being tested against the cause and effect document is a bit irrelevant because cause and effect is it shuts. If it’s got a cause and effect it’s wrong, so that can go.

SCOTT FENTON I’ll mention it, but I don’t know if it’s relevant. We had a damper on a job where the installer didn’t take off the strap of a curtain damper and our client didn’t inspect it, so it’s not going to work.

STEVE FITCHETT That’s the norm. What about the risk of the way it’s designed being incompatible with maintenance? You can have the best of everything, if it’s designed wrong and installed right it’s still wrong. And that’s generally where my issue tends to start from, let’s just put every service, jam it all in and give no concept to how it's actually gonna be done later, cause it all looks great on a drawing. It doesn't matter what you do after the rest of it if you haven't designed it properly, you haven't put a consideration in or better still, ask someone who does it for a living to have a look at your drawing before you send it out to be priced.

GEORGE Steve, I think it’s covered here, failure to install properly.

STEVE FITCHETT That’s well after where I’m talking. Before we’ve even touched a damper, before we’ve even broken ground, if you do not put thought into where a fire damper is going in regards to can it be accessed, what services…the term coordinated drawing is an absolute oxymoron.

DEANE SALES That’s a CDM issue because obviously under CDM you’ve got to give consideration to the ability to be able to maintain it, so I fully agree with what you’re saying.

RICHARD OK, we’ve got to materials.

PAUL WHITE I think it’s a bit like yesterday, we weren’t quite sure what to do with materials.

GAVIN RICHARDS Water damage needs to come out. Laboratory testing is only very limited to about 3 different types of testing as well.

PAUL WHITE So what we’re saying is that there is a risk at number 1 if the coordination drawings are not correct you will make it impossible to have access to dampers.

GAVIN RICHARDS Yeah, and also as well even if the drawings are correct it’s making sure they’ve been installed correctly so we can get to the dampers. The ducting and the damper go in first.

PAUL MCSOLEY It’s a bit like Steve said earlier, you'll be surprised how aligned we are to what you're saying with this is that dampers have breakaway joints, they have different frames, you’ve still got other space to get inside.

RICHARD Right, installation.

DEANE SALES The section there that says fire damper not in line with compartment element, is that reference that if you've got a wall that's 30 minutes fire rated but you put a 60 minute fire rated damper in that hasn't been tested in a 30 minute wall, is that what we’re referring to?

PAUL WHITE It’s to overcome the requirement in ADB etc that the damper should be installed in the centre of the wall, or potentially slightly offset. Damper manufacturers have now tested where it can be away from the wall, but there’s still the detail of how you connect to the wall and then on the other side of the wall is still important.

GAVIN RICHARDS You can actually get a self drilling aluminium tech screw now.

DEANE SALES Is it worth adding another line, again, what I just said a second ago was that just checking to make sure obviously the damper that’s being used and the test criteria that damper has been subjected to is relevant to its application. So, a 30 min rated damper and a 60 min rated wall, if it hasn’t been tested to that then should it be used?

GAVIN RICHARDS So the manufacturer is testing in 3 different criteria for their installation into walls, floors, concrete walls, and plasterboard. If your installation isn’t as per the manufacturer you have to go to the manufacturer to ask them whether or not it’s suitable for that product. That’s you starting point.

PAUL MCSOLEY What it is, Steve, we’re all on the same headspace, we looked at it with Paul White a while a go. The first thing is that a product has got be an appropriate for the function for which its designed, so it’s about the space, the risk, some are ES, some need to be IE, some might need EIS. Then you look at it and you go now you’ve ascertained what the function should be, you can then start looking at how you actually install it, the maintenance requirements for it because there’s 8 frame types of dampers that kind of exist and dampers have breakaway joints, pipes don’t have breakaway joints like dampers do, it’s generally a continuous system throughout, that’s why they’re classed as CC. Some you’ll see that have got a joint too close to the wall that can drop the pipe off, but generally that isn’t what they do on those tests.

So when you look at it this way, someone’s got to get in, especially when you’ve got things like opposed blade or parallel blade because they’re ES, it could be single blade. Someone’s got to install the breakaway joint, then you’ve got to put a TR…19 access into it, and we see commonly risers that are designed with 90 mm of space behind the wall to the duct and we go we can’t get it, we can’t seal it, we can’t verify you can actually put a breakaway joint there is no space, and you can’t clean it, it just doesn’t work. And that’s the bit I think you’re pertaining to as well. Is it right for the function and actually can you do the work involved to install it correctly.

RICHARD Does that answer your question, Steve?

STEVE FITCHETT It’s relevant to my question, it’s just the point being like say, you can have all the best information, the people who need to sort it out are the people who are designing it and, even now, I could probably pull up half a dozen drawings, they just put things where they just make no sense. It makes sense to them because it’s designed with the easiest possible linear drawing. There’s never, I’ve spoken to numerous consultants and whatever, they never consult with the people who are doing the maintenance, not once in my experience.

RICHARD OK, so perhaps when we’re looking at out risk to the product, if we start off with the risk of inappropriate, or something like that.

STEVE FITCHETT …some of the detail in that, whoever’s designing it needs to take advice from Pete From? 35mins 22secs, not the builder, not the construction team. I don’t care who deals with it in between practical completion and design, it’s the people who deal with it after that, because 99 times out of 100 the installer never comes back to that building unless there is a fault.

RICHARD I think this is really important, could you put that in the chat for me? Type that in then we won’t lose it. So, on question 2 we’re focusing on information. We’re doing this slightly different from the way we did it last time because we’re going to be drilling down rather more than we did last time.

PAUL MCSOLEY George, I sent through the other thing earlier for you which was the culmination of how that went. We went through this originally and to echo Steve’s point, we went through all the characteristics you’re required to record for one damper in one location, and it was enormous when you started getting into it.

SCOTT FENTON Can I ask a question to Steve who raised that query. I work with Paul, I’m a design manager, and we try and get the designer to take into account maintenance but just looking at a smoke damper on advance there, it doesn’t say in their documentation what they need for maintenance…a diagram with a person standing right next to it saying the space you need would be massively helpful.

STEVE FITCHETT Never going to happen, and the reason why it’s not going to happen is the important thing. You know the issue as regards to tech screws at the minute? A fire damper is not part of the ducting, it is technically what is installed in the ducting, but it’s not part of the ducting, it’s part of the building fabric. So, when a fire damper is tested it’s tested in installation in the building fabric, so that’s why you’ve got the different hebat frames and plasterboard frames and so on. They don’t test the ducting, it’s nothing to do with them. If you didn’t put a piece of ducting on it doesn’t affect the damper’s efficacy, also you can have multiple fire dampers that are just sat in walls as regards to air transfers ,I’ve got about 5,000 in one building. So, whilst they will say there needs to be access for maintenance, they all say on all of the documents, it’s up to you to then interpret that collaborating with DW144 and TR19, it’ don’t care.

RICHARD Question 2: What information is needed about fire dampers to ensure they perform as required? Have a look through those, anything you disagree with?

PAUL WHITE Mould resistance and paintability aren’t really required. The other point is if you paint something, any fire resisting product, if you paint it you’re probably destroying the fire resistant capabilities.

RICHARD OK, take those two out, Jiss.

STEVE FITCHETT Can I just ask, where it says test evidence of compliance to match the intended use. Is that prior to installation at design, or after that installation?

RICHARD That would be prior to installation.

STEVE FITCHETT So this is a pre-installation checklist as opposed to a during contract installation checklist.

GEORGE It’s information that may be needed. At which point it’s needed we’re not defining here, we’re just basically gathering the information that can then be used at different stages.

STEVE FITCHETT My point is the only people who are ever going to see this are the designers and the main contractor, the subbies not seeing this.

PAUL MCSOLEY Yeah, that’s the bit we’re trying to tackle in the industry, so they actually understand what's appropriate for the circumstances, and actually the combination of all the devices in the wall work for the support and constructions of all of it.

PAUL WHITE I’m not so sure about the true cause and effect part because essentially all fire dampers will either shut when the fusible link goes, or if they’re ES in control of the system then they will shut. If this is intended to include the fans, the fans should go of. If it’s confusing it with smoke control, then they shouldn’t be in fire dampers anyway.

STEVE FITCHETT What about the cause and effect of non-maintainable systems? As regards to the cause and effect.

PAUL WHITE Fire dampers shouldn’t be installed in non-maintainable systems.

STEVE FITCHETT Yeah, I know you should make sure they’re maintainable, but it’s understanding what happens if it’s not. People don’t see that the inability to maintain things as being that detrimental. There’s numerous sites, numerous services where people don’t maintain things and it’s not got a life threatening issue if it doesn’t work. As the gentlemen said before about the transport tape still being on the damper that was seen, it’s half the time because people didn’t maintain it because they don’t consider it and contemplate what the issue is. Having a cause and effect of non-maintenance might make them think twice as to why maintenance is so important.

PAUL WHITE Well yeah, but we’er talking about, this is the control system. I think what we need in here is the maintenance requirements which is just above the break in the page, and the fact that you can’t ignore them is neither here nor there.

STEVE FITCHETT Well, people have ignored them for the last 30 years is my point.

PAUL WHITE I’m not going to argue with you what they have done.

STEVE FITCHETT My issue is, I’ll go back to tech screws, I’ve spoken to people who’ve been doing this job for 50 years, people who were asked to be chairman of BESA, they didn’t know what a sacrifice? 50mins 21secs joint was, never needed to know what it was because no one told him that tech screws shouldn’t be fitted in fire dampers.

PAUL WHITE No, but it’s been in the instructions for 20 years.

STEVE FITCHETT You’re reiterating my point, people don’t read them.

RICHARD Are we taking this off, or leaving it?

STEVE FITCHETT Next to where it says maintenance requirements, statement regarding the cause and effect of inability to maintain. Just put in the document cause and effect of non-maintenance of fire dampers. Because if designers thought it was important, they wouldn’t have been doing it for the last 20 years. But the time scales for likely upgrades and replacements is very important.

RICHARD Question 3: What tasks are required to ensure that fire dampers are installed, commissioned, inspected and maintained properly?

GEORGE Is there third-party accreditation?

STEVE FITCHETT There is, the SVQ and NVQ are currently being updated for the NOS. Paddeco and AEME have got accredited training for damper inspection and maintenance. I’m an NVQ qualified ventilation installer and there’s numerous qualifications. So there are third-party accredited methodologies for it.

As regards to check manufacturer has method statement for commissioning and that there is a sign off procedure, would it not be best to recommend that’s by an independent third-party? There is a qualification that will come in June. To be honest, I’m not even bothered if they’ve got a qualification in regards to this new SVQ/NVQ, the person who has to sign it off and if they don’t sign it off doesn’t get the cheque, miraculously the sign off happens. I think we’ve all seen that. if it didn’t happen I wouldn’t have a job.

RICHARD Right, so what you’re saying is there is a sign off procedure by a third-party?

STEVE FITCHETT Yes. I know we can’t enforce it.

PAUL WHITE Independent commissioning is not a bad idea at all.

PAUL MCSOLEY Just to echo Steve’s point, the biggest thing that we find is that when we go and look at these things on a procedure for say digital records on site you find that some might go, yeah, it’s installed perfectly to the manufacturers guidance or what it should be for that frame type, but nobody’s ever verified that it’s the adequate product for the function that it’s designed to do. Is it ES, is it E, what should it have been to meet the risk of the space, and that’s where a third-party comes in quite useful.

STEVE FITCHETT Just as an example, this is literally from yesterday, this is a signed off building. (shows an image on screen). Anyone impressed? That’s a hospital, it’s been signed off.

RICHARD Right, that’s the SFG20 example.

PAUL WHITE As yesterday, Richard, I’ll go through this and pick out some best practice and we’ll develop it separately.

SCOTT FENTON I couldn’t see anything in that section about the positioning. If you’ve got a hole, say a metre by a metre, and it should be centred, how do you know the person hasn’t put it in offset to one side? It should be installed as per the design.

STEVE FITCHETT The SFG20, what is the maintenance schedule now for fire dampers? At one point it was every 3 months, I’m assuming they’ve rectified that to 12 months now.

RICHARD We’re taking this out, Steve, Paul’s going to come up with something else so it’s a bit more current.

STEVE FITCHETT Based on anything in particular?

PAUL WHITE Just knowledge and other standards and practical applications.

RICHARD Obviously that’s the point of this exercise, there’s an amount of stuff we’ve got here from 2 years ago that’s now out of date. Competency, what level of competency training needs to be in place? Anything you disagree with or want to amend or add?

STEVE FITCHETT It says follow latest Best Practice guidance for openings within fire rated systems. So, let’s say, for instance, it was in BESA, why is that not follow manufacturers guidance?

PAUL McSOLEY It’s that the wall has still got it’s own test standard and its still got to be capable of standing up.

STEVE FITCHETT So as regards to best practice that manufacturers, that manufacturers installation method or methods.

PAUL McSOLEY Yeah, it probably should say follow the latest Best Practice guidance for fire resisting wall systems from those manufacturers, basically, which is the FIS work that’s going on at the moment. Follow the best practise guidance for openings within the fire resistant wall systems. I think you wanna say probably something as applicable to the wall system manufacturer that you’re using. The amount of time we’ve seen openings in walls and actually the wall is not capable of taking the amount of openings that’s in it is beyond belief.

PAUL WHITE Should we put in brackets structure integrity?

PAUL McSOLEY The point is BGs got a Best Practice guidance that tells you how to do a wall, the problem you have is say you’ve got to put 3 layers of aperture framing in it but actually the damper test preceded that and says you’ve used none or 2 or 1, so it’s getting that bit sort of driven out.

STEVE FITCHETT Which then goes onto the second one which is use accredit installers for fire damper/fire duct installation, they must be competent to assess suitability of the compartment barrier and how to support and restrain a fire damper in any given compartment barrier. i don’t know when you’re going to get a duct fitter competent to assess the suitability of the compartment barrier. Secondly, we normally are in there before anyone else because we’re the biggest and most in the way people. So…I’ve done this again, dozens of applications, I’ll fit a fire damper and there isn’t even walls in there. I don't think you can put it on the ducting guy that the wall should be right.

PAUL McSOLEY The kind of thought process at the moment is that you’ve got to tackle the top, the middle and the bottom, so the guy that’s actually certifying the installation at the end has got a list of things he or she should check, and what one of them should be is is the type of wall that’s been used compatible.

STEVE FITCHETT It would be a uniform no from me until you prove otherwise, because that’s the best thing for me to do is to say no as often as possible. I’m not trying to be an arse when I say that, but the more I say no the more I put it back on someone else and they have to prove it.

PAUL McSOLEY If you’ve not seen the David Mosely report on procurement from MLGH, have a look at it, you’ll giggle. It's all in there.

SCOTT FENTON Paul, that comment in green about walls, we have to do anything about floors?

PAUL McSOLEY You could probably do the same comment for floors as well, the floor system needs to be capable of taking it because everyone’s bringing in low carbon concrete slabs which are 120-30 mil thick and it’s a no brainer that it just ain’t gonna work.

STEVE FITCHETT Can we also put in there that the only approved installation method in a floor is concrete? It’s not like the walls where it’s this wall, that wall, whatever, it’s concrete or nothing.

PAUL McSOLEY It’s classed as other supporting construction, that’s the general issue, but the bonus of it is we’ve got CLT testing into other stuff we’ve done onto different slab types, but it’s thicker, denser. You can say generally it’s concrete.

STEVE FITCHETT We’ll slab, then. I’ve got a site with 192 fire dampers in a timber framed plaster board celling…but if we could just put the only penetration through a horizontal floor that can be installed with a damper is a slab floor.

SCOTT FENTON I think we need to have something that covers floors because at the moment we’re just talking about walls only in that green item. So whatever the wording ends up being, it should allow for floors as well.

PAUL WHITE Replace wall systems with compartment barriers. Both of them, just put compartment barrier.

RICHARD Question 5: How are the changes from one product to another recorded? We've got a few requirements and suggestions.

STEVE FITCHETT Is this in relation to an initial design being done, like for instance a specification with Actionair dampers and then someone, as is the case, comes back and says I can get them cheaper from BSB?

GEORGE Yes.

STEVE FITCHETT Should that not be in the O&M?

GEORGE Nothing’s in the O&M unless you ask for it.

STEVE FITCHETT So the intimation in this is that the designer needs to sign off any changes.

PAUL McSOLEY Yeah, and it’s all to do with this gateway process because the problem is if you’ve got 5 key attributes which could be 50 items that list to those attributes, if you record them at the start and you lock them in if anyone changes one of them the ripples are immense. You’ve got to have a method of saying, hold on, you’re changing one thing form an ES to an E but you’ve got to be able to spot in because the designers can’t see it.

STEVE FITCHETT Well, you’re never going to see it because the reason why it’s changed is because of pound notes, not because of efficacy. So you tend to find that gets changed right at the last minute when the installation is done.

PAUL McSOLEY Absolutely.

STEVE FENTON I don't think it's glaringly wrong, but what I would say is if someone does what Steve said, changes from company A company B, it's not just recording it, it's also doing the impact assessment of it because it it says down here about no detriment to the overall design, but if someone comes back and says I'm changing from damper A to damper B because I have to, that have to means do you need to go and change the wall, do you need to go and change something else, the fire stopping, energy penetration. The essence of it being no detriment to the overall design is right, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be detriment, you might have to change something else to achieve the end design. If I was going through a designer it would be a please go and do the impact assessment of it and tell us the impacts and then investigate if we’re going to go ahead with it.

RICHARD OK, so then if you’re going to make changes there needs to be an impact assessment.

COLIN WHITE Can we lose this AOV, this is a fire damper document and they don’t open, they close. It’s at the top of what’s showing in the document. It’s got the cause and effect business again which we’ve dropped out, haven’t we.

RICHARD Take out cause and effect, and make a not we need to write something on impact assessment.

GEORGE I think this change management element, recording change under the gateways, is going to be increasingly important because changing something like fire dampers I think that would be seen as a significant change, therefore it could go into the 12 week review. That’s the change control process in the legislation requires up to 12 weeks, so hopefully Steve’s ambition of getting stuff identified earlier.

STEVE FITCHETT On the change thing, I do want it doing earlier. The problem is the single most detrimental point when it is changed is when you send out the drawings for the contract to continue, not pricing, not anything else. When that job is actually contracted out that’s when the dampers change because it will say somewhere in the M&E spec X,Y,Z damper or equivalent, and the equivalent is 99% of the time going to be the cheaper version because it’s priced on the dear and installed on the cheaper. So the point is then at management level on the M&E side at the job is when that change needs to be managed, not at design phase.

PAUL WHITE One of the things that we're trying to work on with specs and within this is the fact that we're looking for product performance in terms of a classification. We're not looking at terms of specific products and specifications are going to have to change so that they actually put the classification in. And if they want to specify a supplier then they’ll have to do it very clearly.

STEVE FITCHETT Yeah, which they do, but unfortunately it tends to say Actionair or equivalent.

GEORGE (shares screen). So this is what I was trying to show earlier which is a simpler version of the document that Paul was showing, and it’s Paul’s version that we actually want to work on, but I think just to get over the point here. What we’re trying to do is for each of the asset types to be able to assign a responsibility against the different sectors. For example, who needs to be aware of this information, who needs to use it, either because they’re responsible for it or responsible for providing it or they’re accountable or they need to be consulted or just to be kept informed.

The point is looking at each of these information sets what we really want to do is to understand who needs to know about the lifespan, who needs to know about areas that need to be accessible and who’s responsible for providing that information. Who’s accountable for it, who’s to be consulted and who needs to be informed. So, on some of these we’ve actually gone through already and done this RACI matrix, so that’s part of the exercise that we’d like to do, not now, but as a followup session.

So if anybody is interested in getting involved in that, we’ve got 3 groupings that are coming through form this process. One is looking at the data, so looking at this from a point of view of how do we group together this information in ways that is easily consumed, so that’s process. And then we’ve got application, so how is that information then going to be used. So if you’re interested in spending a couple of hours after this session on improving the guidance and also making some of the changes that we all think are necessary, if you could put your name in the chat with that particular topic against it then we’ll invite you to another session to do that.

But the other point about this is what I was saying earlier, let’s identify which of these attributes are needed…which of them might be presented or provided as static information, e.g. from a manufacturer, and which ones are variable. So which ones may be commissioning information or, for example, air tightness, mould resistance and paintability, if those are relevant items, then they’re probably static because they’ll be maybe in a data sheet. Whereas if they’re variable, those are things that are going to change. So that’s what we’re trying to make so that we can make this information machine-readable.

PAUL McSOLEY (shares screen). What we did is we listed out all the key attributes, we’ve probably got a few more to add, there’s all the things you can select against for one damper n the BIM world. So I’ll get that back over to you because the wall type has an effect on the attributes and that’s part of the problem that we’re finding. To answer the big question around hoe you get designers to do it I think we’re a long way off getting designers to select appropriate products for walls, but I think all of these tools together will make it easier for them to not get it wrong. As you said, Steve, you’ve got to have someone onsite, you’’re not going to expect them to verify the adequacy of the wall. I thin we’ll get to the point where we haven’t got to worry about that.

STEVE FITCHETT With the software BIM, is there not a facility…for instance you put a wall with XYZ integrity, and then the software your telling your going to put a fire damper in, that it can negate any options other than what is relevant to that specific construction.

GEORGE Only if you’ve got a rule set that can be used to actually look at all of those variables and make that decision.

STEVE FITCHETT That would be a minimal rule set, though, that should be the only…there should be a thing whereby you cannot pick and choose anything that isn't relevant to that wall. I've had discussions with people and they'll go, even coming down to simple things like a consultant who point blank refused to have access hatches in the ceiling in front of the damper because he didn’t want his ceiling being ruined. But if it was that wall with that ceiling then you tick a box and it goes, right, that fire damper or smoke damper or whatever is then automatically and it says, right, automatically there has to be a hatch or…to take away the personalised thoughts of it, I think this should happen so XYZ, I don’t care what you think, I only care what’s right. We all have thoughts but if the software itself then said it’s this and this and that’s it, that would deal with some of the issues that we have with regards to the remedial side of it.

GEORGE Steve, we’re BIM developers and technically that is possible, but it probably is really challenging to get the rules defined and also to look at how people are likely to use it.

PAUL McSOLEY The other problem is getting the language agreed in such a way we all understand what it means. It’s like there’s no such thing as fire rating, there’s no such thing as fire stopping, it doesn’t exist, it’s either part 3, part 2…there’s all these other things that cause the nuances so you’ve got to get the language right as well because otherwise you look at SFG20 in comparison to Uniclass, things have got to be lined up.

STEVE FITCHETT It’s merely a thought from an uneducated technical side, it seems as though there should be more complicated yet simpler ways of eradicating these issues. They’re easy, not simple.

ADDENUM

CHAT

Paul White 

despite design, installation that prevents access.

Steve

there needs to be a directive that the designers need to take advice from a maintenance company to help them identify where the access issues will be in the future once the building is handed over to the end user. Also, to prepare for different fit outs like CAT B and CAT C.

Richard Michael

Fire dampers shall be clearly marked as per section 7 of BS 15650 and numbered using a traffolyte or similar engraved label. The numbers shall then be included on an as installed drawing showing their exact location

Scott Fenton

I couldn’t see anything in there about the positioning of the damper being installed in the correct location. If we have say a 1m x1m hole and the damper should be centred but ends up being offset something can be mentioned in that section to avoid the error.

Richard Michael

It used to be 6 monthly for smoke dampers in SFG 20. I haven't got an up to date copy to check what it is now.

Scott Fenton

can all references to should / must be standardised

Gavin Richards

SFG 20 latest  guidance states 12 months for testing and is highlighted in BESA VH001

Richard Michael

Unfortunately, Public Contract Regulations reduce the ability of Local Authorities to insist on using a particular manufacturer.

Gavin Richards

I haven’t seen manufacturers stating lifespan of dampers.