The Door & Hardware Federation has welcomed recommendations made in Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’s final report published on 17 May.
“We wholeheartedly support the proposals set out in Dame Judith’s final report, particularly pertaining to the development of a clearer, more transparent and more effective specification and testing regime of construction products,” says DHF’s CEO, Bob Perry. “We are particularly pleased that specific duties are now to be assigned to clients, designers and contractors. The need for the information flow to be improved with requirements for a digital record, a fire and emergency file, and a Construction Control plan is encouraging. As too is the need for clearer accountabilities and obligations from both the residents and the newly appointed dutyholders.”
The Tamworth-based trade association, which, through its membership of CPA and Build UK, were heavily involved in the industry group response finds it very encouraging that their input has been reflected in the recommendations of the report.
“All points we were campaigning for in the industry call for evidence were listened to and we are happy to see these points in Dame Judith’s report.” he added. “Poor building safety must become a thing of the past. As the report states, and again, a point that we have been stressing for many months, the use of fire doors, correctly installed and with stringent fire door maintenance procedures is an integral part of fire safety.“
Perry continues, “Interestingly, an equally important document for us is the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s (MHCLG) advice note 16 issued on 16th May. DHF was co-opted to be members of a small Technical Fire Door Group set up by MHCLG to advise the Expert Panel on the concerns over flat entrance fire door test failures that have emerged following the Grenfell Tower fire and have been reported in the media. It’s particularly pleasing to see that the Expert Panel, in point 19 of the advice note, advises that third party certification by a UKAS-accredited body of manufacture, installation, maintenance and inspection of fire, smoke and security doors, will give greater assurance on the performance of doors. This is something DHF has lobbied tirelessly for, along with the importance of compartmentation and issues surrounding poorly or ill-fitted door closers. This is a step in the right direction and is further reinforced by the recommendation 7.2b in the Hackitt report which states the testing of products that are critical to the safety of High Risk Residential Buildings (HRRB) should be subject to independent third-party certification. DHF will continue to push for this to become mandatory.”
“It is also critical,” he adds, “that the integrity of a fire door is not compromised when maintenance or repair has taken place, and that the hardware is not substituted for economic reasons, that’s why point 16 of the Advice Note is poignant to our industry. If every component has its test evidence included in the electronic file, and that there is greater transparency of that evidence, then it is a sure way to ensure that residents feel – and are – safe in their homes.”