TYPE 1 COMPLIANCE INSPECTIONS OF NEW FIRE DOORS MEETING RECORDING

TYPE 1 COMPLIANCE INSPECTIONS OF NEW FIRE DOORS MEETING RECORDING

GEORGE (shares screen). So, the purpose of this is we we've got the main document, is everybody aware of the main document? This is the main document that we're modifying. So, we're in this one here, which is the Type 1 compliance inspections. What we're doing here is we're looking at, this is the text, we want to find replacement images for these that are more residential specific. But what we need to do is just check this to make sure that there's nothing in here that isn't relevant for housing. So that's the purpose of this. So, can we just go through it? Has anybody looked at this ahead of the game at all? 

SHARON McCLURE George, I've had a quick look at it. The only thing I would put out there is a generic statement would be that the first paragraph states that the standard should be satisfactory as both the manufacturer and installer will systematically have a percentage of their doors subjected to regular audits. My concern is that there's a perception that that is probably a greater percentage than it actually is. So, it's not about the document, it's just I think there's a comfort when you read something like that, that there's quite a high proportion of inspections been carried out. And I think that the perception versus reality varies quite widely. And I think it's more to do with the system as opposed to the text, but I just think that makes it sound as if you don't have to worry about it because everything's been inspected. And I'm really concerned about the language. 

GEORGE So how do you think we might modify that, Sharon? Because there will be, depending on the risk that will determine it’s done, won’t it? 

SHARON McCLURE  I don't know whether or not, if the system's broken you're trying to write a document about a system that's broken, but highlight to people that the comfort that's given is by the audit purpose or the audit regime. So I think it might be something like whether you sort of caveat it with it should be investigated or the responsible person should be made aware of the audits that have been carried out. Just try and get it to drive down to a bit more detail so that if you've got an HMO or if you've got a housing association with thousands of doors, if someone's gone out and checked one or two doors on a large property, it's probably not a fair percentage. And there's an assumption that that will be across the board that it's the same joiner or the same certified door installer that’s actually carried out the work. But I just think post Grenfell and the fact that the system’s not fit for purpose I'm a bit concerned that there's too much of a comfort in that statement that once you read this, everybody's going to have their doors checked, everything's gonna be audited, so job done.

GEORGE OK. So what I've written there, is that helpful? 

SHARON McCLURE I think something along the lines of maybe confirmation of an appropriate level of audits have been carried out relative to the risk and size of the property, just draw it out a bit more. Until the systems fit for purpose. 

GEORGE Is that part of the management strategy? 

SHARON McCLURE Well, no. This is talking about compliance of new fire doors. So, they're talking about the manufacture and installation. So, this is the built element of it that I'm looking at. But I know that there's people who have third-party certified installers and have third-party certified schemes, but when we've gone to site they’ve not been installed properly, I know that we're a third-party certified installer for passive fire protection and we have about four visits a year. If you think of the number of fire stops that we can do per annum. OK, Big Brother is watching you and can pop into any job, but we can probably tell the auditor what job they go to and who they see. So it's not really as transparent as the system is made out to be, it can be abused. So I think if you're handing over a building with new fire doors installed, I think it's better to make the person who's responsible for the property aware that it might be a new building that's been handed over, but can they have confirmation of the percentage of the doors that have been carried out, and it's got to be relative.

GEORGE Does anybody else have a view on what Sharon has just been saying there in terms of the new doors? I'm amazed, I don't understand why we don't have more people in this.

DANNY MURPHY To echo that, Sharon, I think you’re bang on. Looking at third-party accreditors and stuff like that that may cover and audit the installers. I think to have something more robust in place where the responsible person takes control would prove better in the long term. 

SHARON McCLURE I noticed that when they’re doing this everything refers to the Red Book or VRE. I'm assuming that they're gonna change it to sort of more generic statements throughout. I wasn't sure if that's your take on it. DANNY MURPHY Are you referring to the whole document or just the section that we're reviewing? 

SHARON McCLURE The first 2 pages I think were the only 2 because after that it was just about door thickness. I just feel as if everybody’s trying to reinvent the wheel, so they get a badge on it. It’s the first 2 pages of the Word document. In fact the first page and the first paragraph of the second page. All I’ve written is paragraph 1, there’s a huge percentage difference between the perception and the reality. Invasive checks in paragraph 3 I've changed. I've sort of flagged that as possibly destructive test because I know they’re saying invasive between the frame and the wall, but I think if you do go in and the facings are on, I think you should be permitted to take them off. Unless they've got photographic evidence at that location. But I still think it wouldn't be…I think it would be good to frighten more people and I don't think we're frightening enough people. And the fourth paragraph, I’ve just got a big red procurement at the front of it, because I think all of this falls down at the beginning of the necessary procurement criteria not set out. But after that I don't think the documents anything worth commenting on. 

DANNY MURPHY Yeah, I think that paragraph 1.3, I don’t know any particularly Housing Association or Local Authority that would potentially procure anybody that wasn’t third-party accredited anyway. 

SHARON McCLURE I disagree. I’m a passive fire installer, so if I can ask you what side of the fence are you on? DANNY MURPHY We carry out fire risk assessments and we have an operations side of the business that does fire door installations and maintenance through to fire stopping. 

SHARON McCLURE I think the problem that we’ll both experience is there's a huge amount of work being carried out across the fire sector, if you like. There's not enough people that are qualified to do that work. So the issue that we've got, and I can only comment on Scotland, are joiners who are doing doors, they're not third-party certified. I’ve been working with an Academy in Glasgow as part of their executive committee to try and get people who have joiners working for them through some accreditation. It’s getting nothing to do with me because that's not the line of work that we do, but I just appreciate the fact that there's so many people needing to get doors done and it's a case of anybody's offering to do it just now. So I think it's probably a bit more wild west up here than it is maybe down south, but I think there is a huge problem with it up here. 

DANNY MURPHY I only know of one place or organisation that would be using in-house joiners and things like that to install doors. But then those joiners have the required training and expertise to do that. But yeah, it’s definitely something we’ve seen a culture shift, particularly within RSL, social landlords and stuff like that where they’re becoming more aware of the risk is they do not go to somebody that has the required competencies and the accreditations to back it up. 

GEORGE Danny, the point is here the document is there to…you’ve got a catch all there. We're not saying that there shouldn't be. Clearly that's a policy of the organisation, isn't it?

SHARON McCLURE Sorry, George, I think you may have missed my statement before Danny’s. What I had asked Danny, the first conversation we'd had was about the document, but because you weren't here we carried on talking. But the conversation about that statement was we’d talked about third-party certified installers and I'd say the problem that we have is we believe there is an issue in Scotland because there are people who are not third-party certified carrying out this work. Whereas I think Danny was alluding to the fact that there's more people down actually installing, they are sticking to that recommendation. But we're obviously having the conversation that there's far too much work across the fire sector and there's not enough people qualified to do the work that has to be carried out. But if you're on a project and you need fire-stopping, fire doors, insert any trade, you will take somebody with either the price or the people or the labour available. It’s not got to the stage where the project is on hold because I do not have somebody third-party certified to install this door. The project still goes on and they will take somebody. So, I don't think the Housing Associations, I think they might like it in many instances, but I don't think they're necessarily stopping projects and making sure that that is actually part of the procurement stop-go system. 

GEORGE Apologies for popping out, by the way. It's just that several door manufacturers and installers that I know were supposed to be in this group haven't come over. So that's why I was trying to track them down. And they're happily working in the other groups. So I've left them to it. 

So from that point of view, I think the key thing here is…are we saying, Sharon, broadly are we happy with the copy that’s in here? 

SHARON McCLURE My comments were the first page of the Word document and the first paragraph of the second page was as far as I read because after that it’s about doors etc…I’m not going to spend the time going through that which I think is a standard, anybody should be able to read that part of it. But Danny and I were talking about the fact that if the system is not fir for purpose paragraph 1, we’ve talked about the perception versus the reality. My concern is off the back of Grenfell everybody's trying to be an expert in the field and if you turn around and say to somebody, even in terms of fire-stopping, all the fire-stopping is audited and therefore there’s a comfort by this audit process that your installation is 100% guaranteed to be correct across the board, because you have employed a third-party certified contractor. I know for a fact that I'm not comfortable making that statement because that's not true. There are some certified contractors that their work has been ripped out by others. 

We're also saying that the amount of work that needs to be carried out just now, and it's being pushed, quite rightly, post Grenfell, with fire safety and the safety of building occupiers being first and foremost. There's far too much work that's needed to be carried out and not enough competent people to do it across the fire sector. So the concern is these documents, as soon as they come out, And at the moment, I think everybody's trying to reinvent the wheel so they get a document with their badge on it. The documents themselves are going to fall into the same trap as before. Once I've read this and I understand it, and I've complied with it, I think I'm all right. So without drawing out, yes, it’s part of regular audits, but what are those? You can’t just take it as read, it’s not like an MOT certificate, it’s just that that's the certificate you've been handed. The procurement has to be driven, there’s no stop-go. If you don't have somebody competent to do your doors that's a third-party certified installer they don't stop the project. They just carry on working. So as much as this document’s great in that we're only reviewing it for the text, I’m just concerned that if someone reads it, they just think about we've ticked all the boxes and before you know it, there's a problem getting pushed down the river again.

GEORGE The logic of the way the methodology is that you do this inspection, and I think the principle actually is that the person that's doing the inspection shouldn't be the installer. Maybe I've misread that, but I think that that's the point. It’s an inspection that needs to follow a certain documented process. A checklist for want of a better term.

DANNY MURPHY George, just on that. I find that quite interesting, not form the point of view like, I understand the conflict of interest between an installer then inspecting their own their own work. But if we think about the importance of the golden thread, so the information particularly around fire doors that would feed back into the golden thread and so on. Let’s just say, for example, your organisation goes out to procure for a fire door installation contract or project and that’s a thousand doors. They install those thousand doors on the third-party accredited scheme and they're all signed off according to that scheme. Something that we’ve been successful in winning through tender is fire door servicing contracts whereby depending on the location, type of door, we will have routine service inspections that are carried out to those doors under the same scheme. But it means that the installer, us in this case, is also the service engineer. And then all of that information, it’s almost like a door servicing pack, is maintained and kept within one place rather than being in several different places, and when called upon it's not accurate or things are missing. So we've had success in that area in particular, but it's just thinking about what we're saying here and I know there's different types of inspections across different types of doors that we're talking about. But that for us has been quite successful contracts. 

GEORGE I think having the records in a digital format is important. One of the challenges though, Danny, is that information needs to be available to the landlord from the systems that they're using, because otherwise it's going to be a nightmare. If, for example, you've done the door inspections and you've put it into, maybe there's lots of different systems there that people are using and some of them have got QR codes, some of them have got connections back to plugs that are into the doors themselves, which is great stuff. But the data itself needs to be accessible to the landlord in a generic way. 

DANNY MURPHY So what ends up happening, and we've a couple of times. A couple of examples. We’ve produced a hand over pack at the point of installation which has all of the required information, so certification, installation certificate and so on and so forth. And then it would have a servicing document which allowed room for servicing but could be extended over a period of time. And we provide that digital pack through Smartsheet, for example, which is accessible by the client or by the Housing Association. Or, we’ve also had instances where we have uploaded the information through data sheets which then integrated into asset management register. We’re trying to think of ways in which we can align with the systems that the social landlords and our clients have in order to make that recording of information a lot easier. The systems we’ve worked with are the Keystone database, so asset register. 

GEORGE I agree with you. Obviously, what I'm trying to do here, I'm not an expert in this area, your firms actually doing it. So I'm conscious of that. But from a practical point of view, I think the process here is to have somebody…I was talking with a Council last week and they're replacing 3,500 thousand fire doors at the moment. And they've done some spot checks and they've found that only 20% of the new fire doors that are being installed are up to quality, even though the company that's installed them is accredited. 

DANNY MURPHY Yeah, and that’s a common issue. Another thing i think is really important, because a bulk of our business is with Housing associations and Local Authorities, and we understand the importance of that and also the importance of the budget constraints and stuff like that. So we've developed a passport. It’s a fire door passport, it has pics of the install, and we can do things like scan the QR code. We upload pictures of the door at various stage of the install to evidence that the correct methods have been carried out. There’s calibrated measurement tools that are recorded in the photos so that people can see or your clients can see the actual measurements that we're talking about and not just rely on trying to judge that from a photo. And then what that allows them to do is carry out a desktop quality assurance process for their own satisfaction. 

GEORGE So that methodology, it could be a standardised process, could it? DANNY MURPHY Yes, 100%. GEORGE So is that what we ought to be saying here? That there's different stages that we should be tracking through that process? 

DANNY MURPHY Yeah. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always likened it to an active fire safety system. So if you talk about alarms, for example, and the amount of certification there is in installations and servicing and commissioning of fire alarms. That’s something that’s tested weekly that’s then tested again in accordance with the organisations policy and then serviced once a year, perhaps. And you look at the likes of… it may never be used in the event of a fire, but if you look at a fire door.  I use the example of an entrance lobby to a block of flats. Every person that's visiting or delivering something or that lives in that property has to walk through that very door and open it and close it. It’s used on a on a daily basis on a probably on an hourly basis, and we don't have a servicing regime for it. So that's why we kind of try and carry out from start to finish. So from the install we carry out the passport and we make sure the passport packs complete. We include that in the handover pack and the client's enabled to carry out their desktop exercise, but the passport itself can be an industry standard.

GEORGE Is that something, if you’re interested in sharing that. I think what we need to do is probably crack through this. Not now, but then pick up on what you're saying there and any anything you…I mean the benefit from your point of view, Danny, is that you've already got these processes in place and therefore if we as an organisation, if we can get people to agree that that methodology works, that presumably is going to be beneficial from your perspective.

DANNY MURPHY Yes, we’re quite happy to look at something like that. 

GEORGE Cool, OK. And recognising I sort of suggested that we try and get together again at midday, would you be willing, Danny, to go through this? Or your company to go through it if it’s not you that does it, and decide whether there’s anything you want modifying.  So for example, potentially could this be part of your passport? DANNY MURPHY Yes, all of that would potentially form part of that passport. It would be included in some way or another. I'll double check. I'll go through the document again. I have had a read of it. Well, only up to the pages that we are talking about today. So beyond that I haven't looked at it. But yes, certainly. What we can do is we can do a bit of a gap analysis on what the passport already contains and what's in the document and see what could be added to the passport to make it even more robust.

SHARON McCLURE  I think when we were talking about the document, the first page and the first paragraph of the second page is the actual text, the rest of it is a checklist. So, like the passport that Danny’s talking about the bolster that I'd shown you for the audit trail after that, so page 14 onwards. I think that's more of the checklist, so I've taken the first page in that first paragraph there and read that because after that I think I don't need to get involved in it. But as I say, I think the concerns are more about this is another person creating another document about doors. So I think the language needs to be across the board and obviously it's great that BIM4 are doing it but we need to make sure whatever text we've got here and recommendations. And as Danny’s saying about the passports and that audit trail, the perception of the audits, the installations, the procurement, all these things. I think if your organisation BIM4housing can take that message, and no matter what documents you're involved in, I think I would rather that we were more centred on the text at the top because I think that's the bit that can be misleading for certain people. 

If you're talking about people who aren't into doors, the doors, as Danny said, are something that people walk through. They don't understand the importance of that as part of the building fabric, as part of the compartmentation, and they don't understand that is part of their maintenance regime. It's a new understanding for people who are building users. I think our priorities should really be the text and the instruction manual, not the audit and the checklist below. 

GEORGE So, Sharon, are you saying here that the first sort of two pages up till page 13, that's probably relevant to any of the asset types? SHARON McCLURE Yes, I think the concern is making sure that people understand what you want to have, what you can get, what you are getting and the problems and that can be related to any asset. GEORGE Cool. OK, I think that's a great take away actually. So have you got any other comments that you could add to that? Is there anything else that we need to do with this, Sharon?

SHARON McCLURE The other thing I mentioned was the fact that it's very limited to the BRE statements like the LPS 1197. So I just wondered if it was gonna be more generic as a document or whether they were just gonna quote the Red Book? See the third last line there, LPS 1197. They’re saying, obviously, ‘such as’, but obviously there's other schemes, so if it's going to be a slightly more generic document, is it gonna take another guidance?

GEORGE Brilliant, Sharon. I think we now close this and go back to the main meeting if that's OK. Thank you very much for your contribution.