Type 2 - Compliance Inspections of Existing Fire Doors-20230308_142339

ALAN OLIVER to HELEN BUCHAN - I’m aware that you weren’t at the last meeting so so far you haven’t been involved with proofreading the section, have you? HELEN BUCHAN No, but please feel free to crack on and I can chip in wherever, if you like. DENNIS MUNDAY I’m new to this as well, this time round.

ALAN OLIVER What I'd like to do is just tell you what happened last time. We went into a group, we very quickly discussed an action plan, and what we agreed is that I would send the words…basically, I took the Section 2 words that were in the existing health care document, I stripped out all the healthcare related words. I emailed the words, with the healthcare stuff stripped out, to people and the idea was you’d read through these words and then you would either be happy with those words or you’d look to change some of the words. Or there might be a whole new section that you feel just isn’t there at the moment. Bearing in mind that we’ve taken it from a healthcare background there might be things like security issues with doors that are not relevant to hospital ward entrance doors, and so on, but might be very relevant to housing doors. So, if you can bear that in mind. That was very successful, I had feedback from three different people and as a result of that I’ve already got a housing draft 1.

So what I’m planning to do after this meeting is send out housing draft 1 and invite you all to review it, to read it, to either agree or disagree with the words, to offer some changes, to offer maybe some completely different relevant ideas. For example, the healthcare version didn’t have anything related to composite doors because composite doors are not really relevant in hospitals, but they’re massively relevant in housing. So, you’ll find that draft 1 has already got a section on composite doors, which is brilliant, we’re already heading in the right direction. So, with your permission, I’ll send you all the brand new draft 1 housing version, and the idea will be to try and see if we can improve on that as a draft 2 housing version. Hopefully, at that stage, working groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 will all have a draft that we believe is there or thereabouts, so we’ll then put the document back together and we’ll then offer it to everyone who’s involved in this process. I don’t know to what extent you might have been in two minds, shall I go into group 2 to discuss existing doors or would I prefer to discuss brand new doors in group 1. Nobody is going to miss out, because everyone is going to have an opportunity to comment on the whole document. But we thought it was far easier and more manageable to try and get people to focus on just one section, and I think it’s been successful.

So that’s where we’re up to and after this meeting I will send you working group 2 housing draft 1 for you to comment on then hopefully relatively quickly we’ll have agreed on the words for what will then become draft 2. And if everyone in the other sections are happy at that stage we’ll look to put the whole thing back together again as a complete working paper and issue it as the complete document draft 1, for further peer review. Once people in the group are happy, we’ll then look to go to a wider audience, offering it to people like the ASFP, Aviva Insurance, the NFCC, and hopefully get their buy-in and approval of the document, and then we’ve got a really robust document that’s been very well peer reviewed and should be accepted as an industry standard.

HELEN BUCHAN I work for JLA. We’re quite new on the fire journey. We got our BM Trada accreditation about 6 months ago, the accreditation process obviously started way before then. We manufacture, install and maintain service fire doors. Our head office is in Ripponden, West Yorkshire. Our manufacturing hub is in Staffordshire, and then we have fire hubs, we have one in Sunderland, one in Hixon, some of the technical guys are in Cheshire and we have a hub down south in Frimley as well.

DENNIS MUNDAY I'm a certified fire door inspector, I own my own company. That's all I do, and I'm based in Ashford in Kent, but I travel many miles.

BENJAMIN FREEMAN I’m managing director of IFI group, various divisions, independent fire inspections, training, engineering. I’m here today to provide support in anyway that I can.

MALCOLM GREGORCZYK I've been involved in fire safety management for at least 10 years and I'm also a qualified fire risk assessor. But I also, as a building supplier/surveyor? 9mins 23secs, I get involved in asset management as well. So, I've worked at several organisations putting the door specifications together for new and refurbishment works to fire doors and obviously passive fire measures as well. Currently, I’ve changed roles and gone back to fire risk assessing on-site for Northampton Partnership Homes, so I’m sort of contracting out at the moment. I thought this was interesting to see you what concepts are gonna come in place, because obviously the important part about all this is the keeping of golden thread information, isn't it.

ALAN OLIVER Yes, absolutely. To bring you up-to-date with some things, there’s one particular section of the document which I already knew would be contentious. And I sort of threw it out there to everyone who’d been at the last group. So I know that Andrew will have been covered in, I'm not sure that others have been. It’s difficult for you to picture this because I don’t think you’ve actually received the words yet, but in the reference document on page 47…the Health Care Reference should have been emailed out to everyone, but obviously some people are new, so I’ll make a note to send the reference document out to everybody. Under the Reference document in Section 2, which is our working group, Point 2.20 says that doors competently inspected are remediated under schemes such as LPS1197 can have third-party certificates conformity issued as evidence that the doors are as tested or have been remediated to the limitations of their repair.

That is very contentious, because a lot of people I know are very negative about third-party schemes, although as an industry the passive fire protection industry is passionate about third-party certification, I think most of us are aware that there are limitations because third-party schemes are a little bit like ISO 9001. To some extent it’s up to people where they set the bar, and we know that some bars are higher and more robust than others. This is a big debate going on, so I wanted to make you aware of that. There’s no doubt there is going to be a lot of different views on whether we should have that kept in, or whether we should change it or whatever. So I just wanted to bring you up to speed on that, but if you bear in mind this has come out of a reference document that's already been peer reviewed by more than 50 individuals and organisations, including the NFCC, Aviva Insurance, ASFP, BRE, London Fire Brigade and NHS Improvement. That’s not to say that everyone’s got it right, we’ve got to take a really pragmatic view and that’s not to say that necessarily it’s what we want to include in the housing version of this. But I just wanted to raise that because this is something we can't ignore. We've got to confront it. We've got to discuss it and then at some point, we've got to agree on this one.

So, when I send you the draft 1 you’ll see that particular point is deliberately highlighted and we know that is going to be something that will need to be discussed and agreed on. The reason why LPS1197 is specifically mentioned is that BRE/LPCB under that scheme, they allow people to remediate doors, and then they can be third-party certified to the limit of their repair. So they deliberately have a pragmatic scheme for remediating existing doors that allow those doors to be not as fully as tested. Now, the reason why only that scheme is mentioned is that I'm not aware of another third-party certification scheme which allows you to certify doors within the limits of their repair. But if other people have got better knowledge on that, I'd be really pleased to hear it. But this is very, very important, if you're looking to risk manage doors, which you need to do with existing doors, i you haven't got a golden thread of information on your doors, you either have to replace them all, or you have to take a pragmatic view. Now, BRE allow people to take a pragmatic view, especially if you've got 5000 doors in your portfolio and you haven't got the money to replace them all this year. Do you know what I mean? So, I don’t want to say anymore than that. I passionately believe that this is a really good scheme, but I recognise there’s a lot of other people who will have a different view on that.

MALCOLM GREGORCZYK  I've just come from an organisation where we were using the BIM Trada and they have like the approve repair techniques and there's like 90 methodologies for repairs to doors, wouldn't that be classed as a as a third-party certification as well?

ALAN OLIVER  I don't know. As you know, Malcolm, with these schemes, the devil's always in the detail, isn't it? So I'm not an expert on the BM Trada schemes. I know that there are a lot of people who are critical of the BM Trada scheme. It’s the market leader, the go-to scheme, but a lot of people have said third-party certification schemes don’t work, they’re not fit for purpose. The most popular scheme that people are aware of is clearly the BM Trada one.

DENNIS MUNDAY The biggest problem I’ve found is that you tarnish all the third-party certification schemes with the same brush. They all have different ways of achieving the compliance, they all have good bits and bad bits, and unfortunately you always get the bad apple in amongst the bunch.

ALAN OLIVER No, absolutely. My view is we can’t afford to throw the baby out with the bath water. Third party certification is the future and whether it's as good as it should be at the moment is a moot point. But I think we have got to work with what we've got and we do know that there are people in the industry who are striving to make improvements as we speak.

BENJAMIN FREEMAN I think you’re right. Third-party certification, it’s easy to give it a load of stick and say it’s not working, but at the end of the day that’s what we’ve got in the industry and that’s what we should be striving towards, companies that are carrying out these types of work achieving that because, essentially, that’s what the gold standard is at the minute. The problem is with a few of them, there all similar schemes, even the LPS one from your BRE or your BM Trada, FIRAS scheme, IFC certification or Blue Sky certification, they all have these types of maintenance and repair and inspection type services for fire door sets where you don't have any evidence of the actual installation, you’ve got no information. But they all rely heavily upon, not necessarily the person that’s carrying out the work, but heavily on the person who’s in charge of those works to make the decision and be presented with the facts.

So, for instance, if you were to come across a door set where you didn't have any information for and you were to suggest a repair techniques, you’d have to speak to the responsible person, or in writing, and say, well, look, this is a door set. We've got no information. Alright, then, you haven't got the budget for it, but if you replaced it, you'd obviously have a fully tested certified system. Or if you did this, you'd be getting probably near to your rating, but there could be no guarantees that could be made. But that would be up to the responsible person to make that decision, and pretty much all the different types of certification providers say the same thing. Having just read through the LPPS standard, it’s the same as the other ones I used to work for a certification provider, they all sing from the same hymn sheet. I mean really if you’re going to be referencing a certification then you should be referencing them all because they all have equal value.

ALAN OLIVER Right, OK, fair point. At the end of the day we will agree and then it will go out for further peer review, and then you'd like to think that people will then give you their views on it, and eventually we'll arrive at something which could be a fantastic document. It’s about like the famous one, if a committee was to look into designing a horse they’d end up with a camel. So, depending on how we do it, it could be a disaster, but i don’t think it will be a disaster because the healthcare reference document has been widely accepted. But clearly we now need to make it fit for purpose for housing and there might be different criteria and requirements.

Any further views on anything? I know it’s difficult because the majority of you have not been involved so far in the process. Just to explain again what I’m going to do after this meeting, I will send you out what was, as of yesterday, the first draft of the housing version which, believe you me, has already made significant improvements because Andrew has been involved and sent thoughts and words. Also, Neil Ashdown and Ian Cavanagh have been involved. We’ll now welcome everyone at this meeting to give their feedback and views. I think when we go back to the group we’ll probably find that Richard or George are asking for certain deadlines. I know they’re both trying to get this thing moving really quickly. When we finish the process for this particular section afterwards we’ll put all the sections back together again and lo and behold we’ll have a working document of about 14,000 words, which is tremendous. We should be more than 90% there at that stage and then I think we’ll have a further peer review of the complete document which I think shouldn’t take more than one or two bites of the cherry, and then we’ll send it out for further peer review to get the acknowledgement and approval of other organisations.

I just would like to say that one of the things we need to do is not only get the words right, we’ve got to get the images right. I think you’ll find that within this document you’ve got some photos that are suitable, but clearly this was a healthcare document, so there are a lot of images currently in the document which are of hospital doors. The housing version of this document has got to have good images that are relevant to the housing sector. Just on that point, if you do have good images that you’d like to send you can send them to myself, Richard or George, or, even better, copy everyone in. Let me know which page you feel the image you send should be on and also can you please describe what we’re looking at because you’ll find that the majority of these doors, in the current document, have a little description that accompanies them. The obvious thing for that is that an image might be obvious to you and me, but it might not be obvious to other people who read it. For example, on this door image which shows you copies of various approved documents of the building regulations along side the door, the words that go with it says ‘fire doors are complex assemblies that have to apply with a range of technical standards’. So, it’s important to have a description. If you could suggest why that image is relevant and what it’s an image of and for what reason.