Fire Doors Meeting 1 BIM4 Housing Roundtables 20210716
The first question is shared on screen: What Risks do Fire Doors Mitigate?
GARY A fire door is also to be a door, do we need to be talking about that side of things as well? A fire door will mitigate risks around fire but it will also mitigate risks around security, acoustics, thermal performance etc. Do you want that to be in scope or are we specifically looking at the fire properties of a fire door? RICHARD I think purely in terms of fire. GARY Then what I’d add although it’s kind of in here, obviously a fire door operates as part of a controlled system when it comes to the spread of fire, so it doesn’t act in isolation. it mitigates the risk of a system failure, not just an individual point failure.
PAUL The top two, risk of smoke and spread of fire, absolutely, but when I think of the fire safety order I always think of the first point of minimising risk (including of injury) which comes from the risk of spread of smoke. So, in terms of the question, is this for a technical audience or are we reaching out to people here for which that will be a primary concern. RICHARD The idea is that we’ll come out with a definitive guide for the industry, so it’s the industry rather than individual persons. This isn’t for householders. X No, but I think in alignment, if you’re looking at the fire safety order, for me I would say risk of injury, harm etc.
GEORGE What we’re trying to do at the moment is feedback to the MHCLG what information’s required. The idea is to put this into data templates so that this information can be procured but in the context of a particular risk. Building upon what Paul was saying, it is the individual tenants requirements as well that we need to take account of because at the end of the day they’re a very major stakeholder in all of this.
IAN SMITH About the spread of smoke, I’ve had practical experience of fires in a school. Even without the smoke seal operating (because it never got that hot) good fitting fire doors minimised the smoke damage to other areas so school continuity is greatly enhanced because clean up after a fire is significantly reduced. Risk of smoke damage and loss of facility as a consequence is reduced.
GEORGE We look at fire doors from the POV of they’re protecting against fire, but also the door is there for security and therefore…GARY As George said, a door is there to offer a security gain, potentially a thermal gain, to have acoustic properties. The risk around that is obviously risk of security failure, poor thermal performance or a risk fo sound transmission. PAUL I agree, but that’s what risks does a front door mitigate, the security side is not technical to the fire side in the sense that the security is more the general what is the purpose of a flat entrance door…
DANNY WHITE When you’re looking at security, approved document Q carries the same weight as approved document B, so regarding security in apartments and flats it’s mandatory to have the security aspect in there.
GEORGE We’re trying to set down what information are we going to ask from manufacturers, supply chains etc. to inform the Golden Thread. At the moment the prism through which the Golden Thread is being viewed is fire and (to some extent) structure, but there’s other risks that e need to take account of e.g. environmental. What information should we be capturing about sustainability (carbon etc) and these are the things we probably need to build in as attributes that need to be collected against a fire door.
DANNY When we’re talking about fire doors, there’s a lot of emphasis on the fire element but when we’re talking about doors we have to adhere to the other building regulations, we can’t trade those in isolation, and this is where a lot of fire door manufacturers go wrong because they’re not aware of the other regulations. So specifications shouldn’t be just based around fire, and the thermal element is mandatory, acoustics are mandatory, if it’s a new build security is mandatory. You have to think about what the client’s requirements are as well because even though approved document Q is only for new build, in social housing a lot of the clients want the added benefit of security going on to their fire door. That’s why there are dual certification documents, so it means if a door has been tested for fire it’s the same door that’s been tested for security.
Also, depending on the location of the door, if it’s an external fire door (an open balcony) the doors need to be fire rated, they need to be CE or UKCA marked. With CE and UKCA marking. It’s mandatory.
DAS Pretty much every component of a building has to meet all of the building regs which are relevant to it, so you could just in the next question identify, I think we realise none of the regs can be looked at independently. In terms of this roundtable to focus on the fire aspect of a door is the only thing we can do. Obviously, you can put in all the other building regs as well, part M, part K, all applied to a door. So a blanket saying it has to meet all the regs is requirement. It may be diverging a bit form the topic.
GEORGE About risk, within the Golden Thread Initiative we’ve been working with the health & safety working group and they and the compliance team who are looking at standards have been trying to classify risk…Uniclass and the purpose of that is so we’ve got an organised way, this is coming through from CDM. An Excel document is shared on screen. These are the risks that his team have been formulating. What I’m looking to do is to say if we can take the risks we can describe them in this standard way. I’m going to feed this into this group for us to then…it may be fed into Uniclass itself.
Mwenzi About procedures, having now read the draft document BS8644 there is quite a few changes to legislation now coming in to place when ti comes to the European standards - it’s been got rid of because we’re no longer part of Europe. It’s worth reading the draft because there’s quite a lot of pertinent information when it comes to procedures and standards that re now going to be changing due to Britain leaving the EU.
RICHARD Mwenzi is part of my team, she’s a colleague of mine from The IceFire Portfolio who does work for Active Plan and others with a specialism in health & safety and fire. She’ll actually be leading the group that puts together the outcomes of this and the other roundtables we’ll be having in the next few weeks.
Question 2: What information do you need to know about a Fire Door to ensure it performs correctly? This is a consolidation of the 5 or 6 question answers that we had through so pretty much everything people sent through to us are on this page.
LUKE DRISCOLL 28mins 45secs For me, I’d try and simplify it and say to the landlord I want to know it’s compliant, standard…is correct and the baseline parameters are from a compliant installation to be able to inspect against it in the future. Ultimately I need to know it’s legal, up-to-date and I need to know how to test against that standard in the future when it gets inspected on a quarterly basis.
DANNY I think it was Luke just made a point that’s incredibly valid, the information that we’ve got in front of us from a compliance POV is overcomplicating things. If you’re looking to do things properly you should be looking at third party certified door sets under a fire door manufacturing scheme. Therefore what that means is what they put in for the fire test and what is written up in their extended filed of application is rally what can be used, so they will be using C marked hinges, the correct letterboxes etc because otherwise they’d lose their certification. In a lot of specifications this is where they get it wrong because they only look at certain elements and not the whole system as a complete thing.
GEORGE I think yes from a compliance perspective, but what we’re trying to do here is do more than just simply referring to a British standard or a particular specification. What we need to be doing…let’s say, for example, somebody is an FM and they need to buy a new fire door to replace that existing one. In practice that will go to somebody in the procurement department and they won’t be able to read and understand a fire strategy, they certainly won’t know enough about which British standards and how to interpret them. You might say that’s an issue that everybody should be competent but in practice it’s the weakest link in the chain that we need to be addressing.
I’ve got a specification from a door manufacturer saying the door closers are compliant because they will perform to this level, but I’m told by asset managers and FM managers that the speed the door closes is set according to the tenant and the circumstances of that particular scenario. That information is an example of something that needs to be captured because otherwise what information do we actually need to capture specifically about an individual door.
DANNY The word that you mentioned was procurement and that’s where a lot of the issues start from because supposing if you haven’t got a robust specification you will get rubbish being supplied to you. Procurement will look at 2 prices, one is 500 one is 1000, and say we’ll go with the 500 one because they’ve said it meets all the requirements whereas in fact it doesn’t because the specification was wrong in the first place. If you can get a specification which is correct then it means only door manufacturers who can achieve the requirements would be allowed to provide that door set.
RICHARD Just remember part of what we’re doing is to inform the MHCLG for forthcoming legislation and rules. We can’t say, well, just abide by their rules if we haven’t helped set them.
STEVE (Willmott Dixon) I think the question is very broad at the moment which kind of explains the level of detail that we’ve all gone into individually because we’ve probably all read the question slightly differently. If the question was what evidence do you need to evidence that a fire door complies is one question, what information you require to procure a door frame or a new fire door set is a different question and I think we’ve…there’s a couple of different questions because one is what evidence do we need to ensure what’s installed complies and the next one is what evidence do we need to demonstrate doors being maintained and continues to comply, and the next one (probably easier) is what information is required to procure a replacement. So it might be that there’s 3 questions here in this one.
PAUL, I agree, this is specification, Luke is correct, but the question would be what information do you need to know as fire safety manager or compliance manager that this door is compliant. This for me is more in depth and says what do you need in your specification for installation and procurement. Then the procurement is a separate question, I think this one is purely specification.
GEORGE I set the question and it isn’t just about specification, that’s actually the whole point. But the point really is what information would anybody that needs to do anything to a fire door (either design with it, or buy it or install it or maintain it). So, the purpose of the exercise is for us to ensure that all of those different parties have got the information that they need and then, Paul, what we need to do is to ensure the information that Danny needs is definitely there and can be delivered to him. The fact that somebody else in procurement or FM needs something else is important to be able to do.
STUART the level of detail that we’re going into here is almost beyond a building safety manager because going up to the Newton pressures on what a door closer is required, for a building safety manager to have that level and depth of knowledge and information about the doors seems to be going a bit too heavy for me. I work in social housing so we have to replace flat entrance front doors and communal area fire doors on a cyclical basis. In terms of procurement we work out the fire strategy for that building and what protection level is required for those escape routes to be maintained. We then take that specification of information to experts who are able to provide a door with the adequate certification on the back of it a bi-sided test with all the correct ironmongery to fit the aperture and will give us that level of protection rather than us having to say I need a door that is BS47622. For a building safety manager to be expected to be at that level, that’s more fire engineer level.
GEORGE We’re not suggesting that this is only for building safety managers. What’s critical in this process is to ensure that the information that you as a building safety manager need is recorded in this and makes sure it’s recorded in a form of words you can relate to and we go down to the next level of detail where we say how does that from a software POV need to be described so it becomes machine-readable so that you don’t heed to read a specification to understand it. When that’s going through it can then be automatically validated. The reason we’ve got such a wide group of people on the call is we’ve got representatives from various different aspects including e.g. Das as a designer might need to know that.
RICHARD the consensus of the opinion is the question is very broad and every stakeholder needs different things. That being the case, from your own specific POV is there anything that should be on those answers that isn’t there? For the purpose of this exercise look at what you or people adjacent to you might require and what you think needs to be added in there.
STEVE I think if we thought long enough we could probably double the size of the list there. What might be a different way of coming at this same question is what information is required, as Stuart just said, as a building manager if Stuart is replacing doors he probably needs about 6 bits of information for him to go out and procure that. For somebody to install it a similar amount of information, for somebody to inspect it what information do they require because I think understanding the process that we go through at the various stages, what comes out of that is the information required.
We require, the first thing is the fire safety strategy and understand the compartmentation strategy of the wall (30, 60 or 90 minutes). We need to understand whether it’s a smoke or not smoke, the width and dimensions of the door and the wall thicknesses. We need to know the weight of the door to be sure that the wall can take that weight. Ironmongery is interesting and challenging because we would only procure a fire door set, that usually comes with ironmongery and also a field of extended application (EXAP). We need to ensure that any ironmongery on that door is comparable and compatible with the fire door certification. That’s quite a complicated exercise specifically if there are security implications or door entry systems being fitted because if the ironmongery is outside of the EXAP you easily compromise…
Probably not all of those points are included on this list because I’ve probably not understood the question and if I were to list out what I need to install it and then what evidence we would provide to confirm that it’s a compliant door set (regulation 38 information). So I could probably do that differently if it was required.
DANNY The one thing that I would like to see and if you speak to door manufacturers it’s probably easier to break into the Tower of London to nick the crown jewels, is there proper documentation, because they are loath to give it out. They’re hiding behind ‘it’s our intellectual property’.
GEORGE shares as Assa Abloy document on screen. Assa Abloy are a major manufacturer and this is their declaration of performance. They’ve got information about harmonised standards, the declared performance which goes through showing it’s passed all of the relevant standards. Then it’s saying at different positions how that particular item performs, then you’ve got a reference what the class is and also the door closer sizes and what their torque is etc. If I were somebody working in an FM department and I’m replacing a door this is the performance capability of that type of door to say that depending on the context it will or won’t satisfy that context.
I think the person what’s actually doing the procurement of the door needs to know isn’t that depending on what the door width or thickness is because somebody will have made that decision by the time it gets installed. I think we need to know what the value is of that particular individual door and how it’s been set because otherwise when you come along to replace it I believe you won’t have the information that you need. That’s why we’re saying we want to be able to capture the information that…In the Grenfell inquiry it’s clear that the whole thing is coming around to it being the competent person and there’s a lot of people in that supply chain that need explicit information rather than having to interpret based on being knowledgeable in certain areas.
In terms of the asset information the thing that I’m looking for I want to know what information actually everybody needs. Here’s another example. Everybody thinks that BIM solves all this because it will all be in the BIM model, but in practice, for example, fire rating is described in different ways in 4 different BIM models and that means that it’s not computer readable. And then you’ve also got different ways of describing the attributes which from a software engineering POV it’s a nightmare. This is something that we’re working on with the Bim4housing association to try and resolve all of this.
This is the BIM data (ifc) for a door and you can look at this and see all of these different attributes and if you look at most BIM models, these are all in the BIM models themselves but they’re all empty because they’re actually needed by different people at different times. Things like BS8644, they’ve introduced another 10 attributes that they’re presumably expecting people to be recording but are over and above these requirements. Now that’s not a problem because if we’ve got all of this information we can then slice it out according to who needs it. For example, what I’ve done here is I’ve identified information that is probably needed by a designer or somebody that’s bothered about compliance, somebody that’s looking at the environmental side of things….
GEORGE In response to the question of whether the group should be adding to the list ‘Standard BIM data for a door’: I’ve started to do that already. In MBS there is no term for ‘fire rating’, in the MBS specification it says fire integrity and fire insulation. George shares on screen Cobie door template document. This is the conundrum we’re trying to address within the housing association data group. Here we’ve got COBie data, these are COBie attributes which are basically generic to any type of product – who is the manufacturer, what’s the warranty etc. We’ve then got the IFC and the environmental data standards. But then you’ve got MBS. A lot of people are using MBS for the specification and they’ve got different ways of describing things.
We’ve also got ETIM which is the wholesaler’s institute so this is what they and manufacturers will be providing. And then you’ve got the declarations of performance. So all of those are relevant plus the new ones coming through as BS8644, Our end goal with this is to actually put it into a master library which then people that are accessing information can get the data that they need. You don’t need to worry about the fact that there’s 2 or 3 hundred attributes against a particular object because you will only see the 6 that you need for your particular purpose and that’s why we’re trying to get a collection of people on this. Does that make sense?
STEVE You’ve show 4 or 5 different standards each collecting information on a door, some will repeat and some will be unique and what we’re saying is that we’re going to produce another list or a compendium of all the existing lists plus any extra bits that we need.
GEORGE What I’m asking at the moment, and people have been trying to do this unsuccessfully, from this group is talk to people who are subject matter experts from different perspectives and understand the 5 or 10 bits of information that are really important to them. STEVE Because pretty much most of that information that you’ve shown is all about the product, not about installation. GEORGE No, I’ve got more on that
DANNY Is it worth breaking it down slightly further so that you have a section for front entrance doors you can click onto, a section for riser doors, and a section say for communal doors. Otherwise you could have information overload there when the requirements for a front entrance door are different to a riser cupboard and try and simplify it in that way.
GEORGE Yeah, absolutely. As far as how that’s organised from a data perspective if you leave that with us because we’ve got people who specialise in that stuff. Giving the example that you said there, what we’ve got is a door. The base set of information you need about every door, you’ve then got use cases or things that that door is expected to do, so if it’s acting as a front door then it will have additional information. If it’s acting as an external door then it will have additional information and what we’re doing, we’ve got different ways of viewing the information that can accommodate that particular use case.
There’s also something in the data engineering thing called actors, so you’ve got different people that want to see different information in different contexts. And that’s why the risk side of things is important because what the HSE is trying to do is look at things from a POV of the asset data - what risk are we actually trying to mitigate, how does that door need to perform simply to address that particular risk. Now, there’s other information that we’re going to be capturing, but that’s one risk. it was my intention that once we finish this session here we’ll distill the information that we’ve got but we’ll also invite you to go through the housing association data information (as experts) to look at fire doors. We’ve identified 20 or so asset types across…
Moving on to Question 3…
GEORGE Steve of Willmott Dixon gave me access to their yellow book which in my view is excellent because it’s actually got explicit steps to go through that they expect their installers and people that are dong inspections to follow. I imagine that most of the major contractors have gone through the same thing. I don’t know how familiar people are with SFG20 but that is a maintenance standard. This (he shares 16009 Fire Doors 1M document) is maintenance for a fire door and (audio drops out)…competency but you’ve got a list of the relevant legislation and this is issued to somebody that’s carrying out maintenance.
They’re expected to be competent, this has come largely from health care where they have got evidence the individual tasks that are being carried out. I know there’s a UKAS standard being created for competency of maintenance generally, it would be useful if we could do the same sort of thing for all of the different elements: installation, inspection, so that there’s a common way that you can then evidence that. We’re not going to do that today, but if you can share with us information about that type of thing.
DANNY When you’re looking at maintenance, there are two angles you need to look at it and you need to be quite specific about it, because some people see upgrading a fire door as maintaining it. Now, under the certification schemes you can only maintain a fire door as you found it and a lot of it is down to what information have you got about that particular door set. If you’re looking at social housing, if they’ve inherited blocks which are 40-50 years old then they probably won’t have anything. There’s also an issue with the word notional fire doors and that’s causing havoc within the industry and I think you need to have a better understanding of how the UKAS maintenance schemes are run in order for you to draw up a decent proposal and a decent checklist. It’s just to make sure that people don’t get confused with maintaining a fire door and trying to upgrade it because they’re two completely different things.
STEVE And there’s a third one about repairs to existing fire doors and there’s a whole load of documentation about what you can and cannot do, I think it’s by Trada. DANNY Yeah, they’ve got their approve repair techniques, there’s 23 items on there and the idea is you go and inspect a door and every fault, you look down your article, your approve repair technique and it gives you a number and tells you how to repair it. X??? 1hr 6mins 13secs I think a lot of the risk will be taken away from that and I don’t think we’ll be allowed to. My guess is the risk will be too great. if anyone is not competent is touching that door and doing something that makes it not contributing to life safety then we’ll be told you’ve got to replace it if you’ve got to do anything to it. STEVE I think you’re right, some of the way that repairs and maintenance contracts in the past, it’s been about fix and make good and repair, that’s likely to disappear.
RICHARD re answers to Question 3 from your own specific point of view Is there anything there that’s missing? DANNY Yes, on the first sentence you talk about BM Trada, realistically you should take out BM Trada and put UKAS accredited scheme.
GARY Do we need to be setting out what the tasks and method statements actually are? Or do we just need to be saying that we need certification to prove that it has been installed and maintained correctly? We don't have the skill to set out what those method statements are.
GEORGE yes, we do need to do that. Now, if you don’t have the skill to do it I respect that but we do need to set them out because we need to identify what those are so that we can start to feed towards they type of thing that has come out…SFG20 has been put together by the M&E maintenance community and I believe we need an equivalent set of standardised procedures. Direct Works, which represents 80% of housing associations, they were involved in an initiative last year where they assessed 550 fire people that said they were able to install fire doors and when they were assessed they found that only 6 passed the assessment. We do need to have something that’s explicit because that’s the way the industry is going.
GARY I guess I’m not sure it’s realistic or the role of this group to define how to properly install a fire door. GEORGE If we don’t know, I respect that. We’ve got 2 sessions coming up where we are hoping to have people that install fire doors. DANNY One of the problems that we’ve got is we hear phrases like 3rd party certification so we go through to a 3rd party certification scheme, but they’re all different. For example, if you had BM Trada you can put one person on the course and he can sign off the works of 20 other people. Everybody’s that’s installed the door has to be trained. So there’s a great disparity under this terminology 3rd party certification. GARY The question is very broad again because you’ve got one is about the product and the other one is about installation.
STEVE From an installation perspective anyone installing a fire door has to work for an organisation that’s accredited by a UKAS accredited organisation at a company level (IFC, Trada etc) and sometimes that 3rd party assessment of a company may specifically name a supervisor. That’s at the company level and that makes sure that the company has the systems and processes, checklists and training in house. A supervisor has either got to be named in that certification or hold an NVQ level 2. Not just in carpentry, but there's a specific module within the within the NVQ for the installation of fire doors and the supervisor needs to have had that.
And then the worker is the installer. Currently they don't have to have anything, but they have to be under the supervision of a competent supervisor that's ultimately signing off their work. But as a minimum they have to have had a toolbox talk by the fire door set manufacturer and understood the installation instructions. So that’s the three levels of competence: installing organisation, supervisor and operative. Then we have an installation checklist for our own QD records.
GEORGE So would it make sense to have that checklist in a standardised form, just like they have in the whole of the M&E industry? It would mean that you've got an effective way of knowing whether something has been done in accordance with best practice.
STEVE One of the growing issues is that the organisations themselves a a UKAS accredited organisation, they have to have their own processes in place and the accreditation bodies out there accredit there as part of their management system. So whilst I agree with what you're saying, it's a bit like saying why don't we have a standard management system that everyone works to. You could certainly have an indicative one, but it’s very different and different door set manufacturers have different installation instructions to suit their doors. A GRP door is a very different fire door to a steel or a timber and a double door sets very different from a single. There's quite a lot of variation so a lot of it revolves around manufacturers’ installation instructions as well. So I don’t think that’s going to be possible, but it’s a good point.
KELLY I’m coming at this from a different POV with regards to we’re looking at how we’re going to be inspecting doors. We probably have around 30,000 fire doors. Our concern is around the competency to do that, who are we going to get to do that, how often. And how we record that data because I think the biggest challenge for us is the actual recording specifically to each door. Something else that’s not on your list we’ve been looking at is is there a way to record data in real time on these doors, to actually have sensors and links that send-off information that tells you if doors haven’t closed properly etc.
So we’re looking at technology as well. Obviously we’ve got different types of doors and what we actually do with those doors: are we going to have a program to replace all of the doors, how are we going to approach it. If we do do that then we have to be looking at that technology, how are we going to maintain them in the future because for an organisation that’s got so many fire doors it’s going to be really difficult to do that.
The other thing that needs to be incorporated in here, I know it’s holding the data information but it’s also how are we going to inspect doors on customers flats. I know that’s not holding the data of the installation but it’s all around how are doors manufactured for us to have that data in BIM in the Golden Thread so we know what we need to look at and how we’re going to process that if we’re not going to have the access. What is the minimum of information we can have if we really can’t get in and view these…
RICHARD Let me throw that back at you. What is the minimum information that you need to function properly?
KELLY I suppose with a customer’s door which is harder to inspect, we need to ensure that that door closes properly, so this is where we’re looking at intelligent data (is there a way to put some data into these doors to find out if they don’t close properly). I know they’re all going to close their doors behind them if they’re in their house but in an emergency do we know if these doors are going to close.
GEORGE Ian Smith was the technical director at Pinnacle so he’s run 100s of maintenance engineers that have been doing maintenance. Does it make sense, Ian, to have some sort of standardised task list?
IAN SMITH I've been fortunate in working with companies including Pinnacle who've been quite well ahead in terms of recognising the importance of fire doors. So on PFI schools you've got hundreds of doors in a senior school, the same in housing. It’s interesting the comments that have been made in relation to the door to apartments and the like, these are always a problem. It's surprising how many people don't seem to take their own safety and recognise that they should have somebody check that door to make sure it's correct. Going forward, I don’t want to push us back into the bad old days, coming out of Hackett it was quite evident that whole tranches of the industry had removed fire doors without any thought of the consequences. Going forward, once things settle down there’ll be a much better organised benchmark in terms of managing the fire door inspections and the maintenance and repairs that would arise out of that.
I do think it’s important that people who work on fire doors have the appropriate knowledge, training and experience (and that again comes out of Hackett. We’ve taken delivery on some new build sites recently and it’s quite evident that whoever put in the fire doors really didn’t understand what they were doing and unfortunately the guy doing the checking didn’t know what he was looking at either, so we end up with a building that’s signed off by building control that has numerous fire door faults all over it. I think the list covers everything that’s needed and as we go forward it will draw into a nice action plan.
STUART I’m a building safety manager. I think the list is fairly well rounded for my requirements.
GEORGE I’ve got a question: if we were to try and draw together some sort of initiative to produce best practice examples for installation and inspection. Are there people that we should be talking to who might be willing to share their knowledge? The British Wood Working Federation is suggested.
DANNY I’ve done thousands and thousands of post-installation inspections and I could share your photos of the horrors that I find if required. GEORGE yeah, that would definitely be helpful because one of the things we want to do, I seem as though I'm singing the praises of Willmott Dixon all the time, but what I've been also impressed with the Yellow book is that they've got this culture of people reporting back things that go wrong. So it's this black box thinking to identify problems so that they can then be engineered out. Something we’re very keen to start looking at in Bim4housing because if we can start to gather that together as an industry experience then that becomes a very useful resource.
DANNY I do a lot of post-installation inspections for contractors, what you find is when the installer gets it wrong (be they 3rd party or not) they quickly learn how to put things right and what to look at. The main contractor will turn round and say Danny’s coming on sire and they panic, but the make sure that everything is correct, they’ve got a copy of the installation instructions and the correct materials they’ve using and it’s just trying to educate people this is what you need to be doing and it’s not being to say look at you, your completely useless, it’s being done for life safety. Eventually when they get the message through to that then they’re a lot more receptive. What there should be is an independent tier going in and signing things off because when you look at certification schemes it’s very easy to pass because you’re audited twice a year and you know in advance. If there was an organisation that could just drop in and do random inspections that would greatly help the industry.
The installations in new builds are absolutely shocking. I was speaking to a former director of Barclay Homes, he said the average base build defects for high-rise in London is between one and a half and two and a half million.
RICHARD Question 4, competency. GEORGE The important thing here is to look at both the training and also we need standard procedures. If we have some standardised procedures you’ve then got something you can audit against. The Fire Industry Association have told me that they’ve got a range of different elements. I’ve dropped down there the people that I’ve been told about but it would be good…I think I’ve explained that there’s a new UKAS standard that’s being evolved at the moment for competency. If you could feed to us any other initiatives that we can feed through that would be excellent. RICHARD something I’ve gleaned over the last half hour is that there are a lot of nationally recognised approved routes of competency. Unfortunately some are better than others, so you need something that is nationally recognised as the one, don’t you?
DANNY Wouldn’t that come under the NVQ level 2? X? 1hr 29mins 10secs I believe that there’s a competency working group that Build UK are leading on behalf of the construction leadership council as part of the Dame Judith Hackett…the competency thing is a bit shocking at the moment and that certainly needs to be resolved. I don’t know anyone directly involved with that working group. X? 1hr 29mins 40secs Andy Frankham was on the working group and i know he’s just moved and gone on to the competency working group so i’ll try and get an update directly from him.
RICHARD Something that came up in another workstream is you can get certified to fit a cavity barrier and you go on to site and show your documentation. Unfortunately you’ve been certified to fit a cavity barrier in a certain situation and the cavity barriers that need fitting are in a totally different situation. So the person who’s certified to fit that charity barrier doesn't actually know what they're doing. But they’re certified.
GEORGE I was talking with Amira who are a fire door manufacturer and they said the problem with the certification is that they can actually go and do an assessment very quickly and actually there’s no real rigour behind how that’s being managed, that’s a concern. Clearly we want a culture where we’ve got people that are properly trained and accredited, but is that enough. if you’re a building safety manager or an accountable person or responsible person is it adequate for you just to say that we appointed somebody that had the right accreditations.
LUKE it has to be because otherwise that job becomes untenable very quickly. We have to go the UKAS standard is X, the mark is BM Trada or whoever, it gets to a point where we have to rely on that the controls in the business are in place. The funding and how to get there, dark art, don’t understand it, but we’re rapidly moving to a place where a building safety manager is going to have a licence to operate to do that. It doesn’t take a massive leap of faith to the point where we’ll end up with carpenters in the same way as you’ve got gas safe engineers. I should think you’ll have a ticket where you go I can do fire doors but I can’t touch anything else, or a particular type of carpentry but I can’t do anything else.
All those different permutations that sit underneath the gas safe ticket, you’re gonna add to that fundamentally if you’re employing someone you’ve got an obligation to get them how safely everyday so you’ve got to train them and put them in the right position and if you’re responsible for someone in a building we’ve got to do the same. if I try and control the accreditation my mind will explode - it’s exploding already with net zero carbon, supply chain issues, the age of the ageing workforce, so that’s out of my control. What I can control is what i want, competent people, competency, it’s kind of over there. I won’t employ you unless you’ve got a competency. yes, you’re going to need competency if you’re looking at anything with fire. The door inspections is probably one that worries me, how we get the consistent view of consistent door inspections and that doesn’t overrule UKAS accredited installation.
Absolutely right, Luke. I agree that there’s a bar and it’s about setting that bar and trusting that UKAS accredited, from a manufacturers perspective no one ever checks the competencies of the bench joiners in the door set manufacturing facility. What you're looking for is that it’s a fire door that’s tested by a UKAS accredited test house and they have certification for that fire door. It’s the same with competency, we need the installers to…we need to set the bar and that’s the bar you need to jump over.
LUKE Completely, and we need to find the right balance between setting that bar, the lens that we’re looking at this through is all, we can all cast aspersions on BRE testing and the scale it has gone on, but actually we need to say they’re sitting there, they’re money on the line, that’s the standard set and if everyone reaches that standard it becomes really good for us. I’ve done it where we had 30 chippies on board and we had a small team doing fire doors, got them BM Trada and it was brilliant, some of them said it was some of the best training they’d done. It also allowed us to support fire risk actions in a different way, training, different career paths for trades as well, other incentives about how you can pay differently, it unlocks an awful lot. But you’ve got to trust that that standard is the right one.
GEORGE Absolutely, Luke, I wasn’t suggesting you drill down into the detail just as I’m not suggesting that a client that’s employing an M&E maintenance person would go down into that level of detail. What they do in their processes, they need to record what tasks have actually been carried out because if there is an issue they need to be able to evidence that the person was instructed correctly to do the work. That’s current and absolutely required in the M&E market.
LUKE That’s where it comes down to: a gas safe ticket, or it’s a CSCS card or the new equivalent of that goes I’ve got a licence to operate in this sector, there’s my competency, it’s updated annually and it’s down to the employer to evidence how they’ve selected that person (unfortunately) and how they’ve instructed that person to carry out their duties.
GEORGE That’s absolutely right, but what I’m saying is that in the M&E maintenance market if you’re maintaining an air conditioning unit it’s not adequate to anymore, it used to be the case that you’d have a competent person that carried out a 6 monthly maintenance. Now, it’s coming through that there’s 12 tasks that they have to carry out and there’s a checklist. It’s not for you, Luke, to define what those tasks are, that’s where experts like Danny will carry that out.
DANNY I think the greatest thing that we could achieve is to get regulation within the fire door industry because at the moment there is absolutely zero. GEORGE I agree with you but that’s outside of the scope of what we’re trying to achieve. Our task is really to try and define what information is needed under which circumstances to support the safe at the golden thread really. In terms of the accreditation, I agree with you.
DAS I think the response I gave was more from a designer's point of view. I think obviously a lot of this has to do with either installation or maintenance. What I've come across from more recently on a couple of projects is that depending on the material of the door before mentioned about the different requirements of security, fire, access control, aesthetics and it seems like not all of them can be achieved with every different type of door material for example. And that might be just due to the subcontractor that the contractor has chosen or is going with but certain timber doors can't have a PAS rating if they've got us access control or the other way round with the steel door and aluminium. So I think from a competency POV I’m realising that as designers we probably need to continue that CPD element of it from different suppliers to understand what the barriers to achieving ever so more increasingly complicated things that the doors have to do - from fire to access control to security and the aesthetic element.
Before we get to installing or maintaining, it seems like there's quite a lot of things that either can or can't be achieved just because the doors haven't been tested for those scenarios from suppliers that we're coming across on recent projects and that may just be a consequence of the supplier as opposed to the industry. But that was quite interesting, we’d design and then only come across this problem when they actually come to procure and install the project. Then you had to go around the whole exercise changing everything again.
RICHARD Do the answers in this question cover what you individually need? DAS I think it’s drawing on what I was saying. I don’t know if there’s a simple matrix which says with this type of door you can’t achieve this security rating, for example. That would help me from a competency POV.
STEVE The point that Andrew’s making in relation to ironmongery fitted to doors often happens after it comes out after procurement. So you set yourselves on a doorstep manufacturer, they've got all the accreditations they need and the fire door tests and then you find out when you get really into the detail that their door certification is invalid because the ironmonger you propose to fit is not compatible with it. And that is something that really does need to be picked up in the specification. We’ve had instances where a customer working in some hospitals, they've got their own access control system. And that's it, that’s their access control company. Sometimes we hand the door over and then their access control company comes in and destroys the door to fit.
So that's an issue and part of that goes back to earlier on about how difficult it is to get primary test evidence and copies of the extended field of application, because all the door set manufacturers, they won't say here's a door and it achieves 75 minutes, they’ll say it only needs to meet 50. So they'll they'll look at what can we say to compete in the market because we only need to achieve 60 minutes and if achieves 75 it's over engineered. So they all want to get hold of each other's test data to find out how they've done it. I don't know where that is gonna be resolved. This this question here, I’ve seen this question here about competency of the operatives, of the installers rather than the competency of the product because as far as we're concerned the product is certified.
RICHARD You are right, this is about personnel.
STEVE Until somebody legislates like they have done with Gas Safe that says you can't work on a fire door unless you've got this qualification, we're pushing the market, you know, we're trying to lead and we're putting competency requirements out there and what we get back from a lot of our supply chain is no one else is asking for this and I've got to spend 3 grand a year.
RICHARD Yeah. But you must remember, Steve, the point of this operation is that this feeds through to the MHCLG. Our procedures have been approved by them, this is semi-official I guess. Were’ feeding through semi-directly, what we’re doing here is to help frame legislation guidelines moving forward. So it's not about the status quo, it's about what we want in the future. So if you've got anything personally that needs to be added into this list, you know what to do.
PAUL I think Steve makes a really relevant point there about the ironmongery. I had an example last year where FIRAS/Warrington Fire stood down a product which was in common usage, a closer type on a door. They wouldn't give any leeway about this so as far as they were concerned every product that had that closure which they’d now removed from their approved list, the certification was no longer…integrity, so I think there’s a real problem in that sense that not only every action that goes on that door but there’s a need to keep an understanding of what products are approved and when they do go to remove these products from an approved list there needs to be some sort of leeway or time frame about what the reaction is in the industry where certification has been approved previously for this product is there a time frame for change.
I made a brief note which someone's added in for me about this industry competence committee. And I just wonder where that's going because everything I've seen in the fire safety acts and the building safety bill keeps saying we're coming towards this, this is going to be specified within the legislation at a later date. Particularly competence around the fire risk assessments has come out as we know, being enhanced in October. And I think the working group is looking at the building safety bill and what competence will be there, particularly as one of the requirements In the accountable person is to approve the competency of any named individuals. So whether it comes with fire safety and building safety then encompasses a lot of fire safety and the Fire Safety Act. I think it's important to get this view of what's being done in the background as well and bring that into this, so I'll go away and do that and add this in.
GEORGE One thing we’ve encountered, if I’m having an accredited person if a door needs replacing it needs to go to an approved door supplier. So what happens if the door's not closing? So the maintenance guy comes along to try and make sure that the door is secure because obviously it's not closing because it's dropped or whatever. I'm led to believe they need very clear instructions to ensure that when they're carrying out that the door closes, that they don't take stuff off the bottom of the door that then damages the intermittent strip. The other example that I was given was if flooring is replaced or somebody puts a carpet in there in their own home and therefore the door won't open properly. So again, they could well go and take something off the bottom of the door. Therefore there needs to be some mechanism there whereby those cheques are carried.
RICHARD Number 5, how changes from one product to another are recorded, change management.
GEORGE This has been covered reasonably well by the comments that people have had. One of the things that’s missing from this, what I’ve discovered (the specification) when I look at the NBS specification, for example, that Das’s team would produce the nature of the specifications are typically that they’re not explicit. That's understandable because of the way procurement is being done, but the difficulty with that unless we end up with something that is actually an explicit specification at handover as to how that particular product is expected to perform. Not that you need to go and read a British standard, this, that and the other to be able to interpret that. In this particular context for that particular product, doing that job in that area, then this is how that is supposed to perform. I think that's one point. And the 2nd is we need to actually record what the product was that was actually installed. And in many cases I'm finding that people are not recording the details. In many cases, door closers aren't recorded, so therefore how can you have a change management process? Either during the design and construction period or after that unless you’ve got that evidence.
GARY I agree with everything that was on the screen and with what George is saying. The key thing with changes of products is understanding what was there and understanding what is being replaced and recording that accurately throughout. Also, linking through to competence, who is changing that, their competence around whatever it is in the same way that you install…and that accreditation piece that goes with competence. Also, where appropriate, evidence that the design has been referenced so that whoever has made that decision to change it is warranting that is actually within the overall design. So not being looked at from a component perspective, but being looked at that component’s role in the system.
I’d add to the list the bit about competence around recording who has actually replaced rather than the what, the Who, but then also the what. Particularly if that’s not like for like, I don’t think that’s referenced on there.
DANNY In response to a couple of the questions which have been there already. The first one was to Andrew, I don't know whether you know how the fire door industry works, but basically you've probably got about 10 door blank manufacturers supplying to every door manufacturer into the marketplace. So even though you've got maybe 1000 door manufacturers, they're probably only using one of ten products and what you can do is go back to the sole source because they've done their independent testing, though they don't sell anything, they only sell door blanks. So there's an avenue there to say have you tested this access system with this particular door blank? And if they have, you can then go to a supplier and say if you're using this type of door blank, go and get it tested. In relation to one of Paul's questions and the removal of the door closer, this is critical because I think I'm I may know the door closer you're talking about and it was a commercial decision. The reason being that the door closer manufacturer didn't want to pay the increase in the fees to still be part of the certification scheme. So there was nothing actually wrong with that door closer, it was more of a financial thing. So what they should have done is gone to another supplier, another certification scheme and say could you add that in.
What I would like to add to the list is to make it mandatory, or make it part of the process, that the door manufacturer has to provide all the ironmongery items that are on that door set. So, if something breaks you've got a record of what's replacing with.
GEORGE It might help with that example that Paul’s just given, I was talking with a major insurance broker yesterday and they used the term a serious loss clause’ (which I’d not heard before). It’s apparently a relatively new thing that’s coming into the industry and it relates to an item that causes a loss. If that product is actually used and it’s identified as being the cause of the failure they will only pay out once. So if you’ve got, for example, a product like Daniel’s just been saying with a door closer, if that door closer fails and you carry on installing those door closers then you’re not covered and I thought that was quite significant. It’s change management related, you would need to have a record, clearly you need to have a record of what’s been installed, that’s the whole point about the mandatory occurrence reporting. It’s interesting that that’s a new requirement that the insurers are now bringing in.
PAUL Re that change of product, but changing that product would not would not only negate the integrity of the certification, but should an event happen, you wouldn't be insured as well. The impact across that is huge potentially, so it's a really significant point.
RICHARD With a lot of these impacts it’s a question of communicating them. It’s becoming more onerous almost daily, but it’s communicating that to the relevant stakeholders so they actually understand the implications because I think, right now, they don’t.
LUKE DRISCOLL 1hr 59mins 05secs I think they need to be very, very understanding about the unintended consequences of making those decisions, the insurance market stepping in, in that way. The only reason we got code for sustainable homes all those years ago was because the insurers went with the climate change is gonna happen, we won't insure you unless you build this in this place.
RICHARD We had a case with a contact of George's just a few weeks ago And the guy who was head of sustainability said nobody ever spoke to me, I was just there as a placement. We've got a sustainability director. And then suddenly he's getting calls from the FD almost daily Because they’re a developer, they rely on borrowing money and the banks now have a very strict policy. And suddenly this guy had to support all this sustainability information, suddenly he was on the phone everyday, this sustainability guy. It's changing.
LUKE DRISCOLL 2hrs 15mins 15secs I can foresee a position where we won't be able to do stock acquisitions or swaps or disposals unless they're at a certain EPC level and the the levels of stuff I’m being asked to go back on securitisation is was that solar PV installer 10 years ago accredited to the right standards? Please can you give me the address.
RICHARD The impact is going to be huge because anything existing IS automatically a huge liability because the information is not there, generally speaking
LUKE DRISCOLL But we need, we need to go back to a strong message to these groups to be able to say we get that the competence has got to change, we get that the the providence of information and competence of people has got to change massively. But if you carry on down this route, the unintended consequences are that people will not be safer in their homes because no one will do it because…
STEVE COOK 2hr 1min 15secs We have got an issue, and I've spoken to a couple of insurers and you say, oh, we've got a requirement to only employ competent people and they'll look at you as if you're from another planet. You mean you've been employing incompetent people? You're like, well, no, but we haven't been able to prove it. And so it is that change that's happening that the only way to prove your competence…it's that retrospective activity you know looking at PV installed 10 years or so did it did it meet this, it wouldn't have done. 10 years ago we thought we were the bees knees and we were buying door blanks and frames and getting plumbers to go around filling after their own holes as an industry.
LUKE DRISCOLL 2hrs 2mins 1 sec These things really need to be, it’s push down pop up OK you get what you want all this but you're gonna rewrite a different EWS1 situation all over the sector. And let's not forget EWS1 was a mortgage provision and a lender's approach to advice note 14. It wasn't the output of advice Note 14, it was the lending interpretation. If they interpret other things in a different way and say that blocks risky it's really difficult.
RICHARD Well, this is part of what we're trying to do here is make sure that what happens in our small way input into those new regulations that they're fit for purpose and they come out of the industry rather than become imposed by a number of bods who are professional at imposing things because they write these regulations on various and sundry different things and they're great and very professional at writing regulations. Unfortunately, very often (and not just in this industry) they don't know a lot about the industry, and I think that might possibly be the case here and hopefully what we're doing will help a little.
STEVE Probably need to review that question before anything goes back to MHCLG again on some of the stuff that we're coming up with the proposing because by implications of us requiring competent people to do this type of work they’ll ask the question, well, why are you only asking for that now? So we just need to balance things.
RICHARD I think that's a very good point. Believe me, before this output goes anywhere it goes through hoops.
STEVE Because If the competency working group that's working under the under the sphere of the greater good come up with a different conclusion to us then we need to possibly bow to them, but we’ll see.
GEORGE No, we we are working collaboratively across the Golden Thread initiative. We've got 11 working groups and they in turn are also interfacing with the other MHCLG initiatives. So we're not doing this as a silo, Steve. What we’ll now do is try and interpret this into an output and and and you know share it with you. We'll also look at the the data templates side of things and if you're willing to spend maybe half an hour or so, maybe less, just looking at the data templates that are being compiled and seeing whether they include everything that you would want, then that would be a useful thing as well.