2019 Fire Door Symposium highlights the serious consequences of ignoring Fire Door Safety

Last week marked the 7th Annual Fire Door Safety Week across the UK and Northern Ireland. This important awareness-generating initiative is the brainchild of the British Woodworking Federation and the BWF Fire Door Alliance (formerly known as the BWF CERTIFIRE Scheme) and over the last number of years has become a pivotal week in the calendar of industry professionals as an industry campaign that seeks to increase understanding of the critical role that fire doors play in protecting life and property. The week-long campaign was supported by over 250 industry-related organisations this year including KCC & Fire Doors Inspections.

2019 Fire Door Symposium, 26th September 2019

KCC played a huge role in educating architects, designers, building or facilities managers and other industry professionals on the importance of fire door safety this year as part of Fire Door Safety week, by organising and hosting the 2019 Fire Door Symposium in the Waterfoot Hotel in Derry / Londonderry on September 26th.

The half-day event was specifically created to raise awareness of the correct specification, installation and maintenance of fire doors as a crucial part of any buildings fire protection strategy.

The symposium welcomed attendees from many professions and organisations including housing associations, councils, healthcare estate managers, facilities managers, architects, builders, property services professionals, county and district councils, ventilation professionals, fire officers and more.

Attendees at the 2019 Fire Door Symposium - Part of Fire Door Safety Week

In the morning, delegates first heard from Mr Pat Jefferies, Commercial Director of ABLOY UK, about the basic requirements for Fire and Escape door hardware covering all of the essential elements as defined in the constructions product directive allowing delegates to understand the difference between Fire and Escape doors, and more importantly what’s required for the design purpose of the doors intended use.

Mr Pat Jefferies, Commercial Director for ABLOY UK

The second presentation came from Mr Alan Collins, on behalf of the Automatic Door Suppliers Association (ADSA), who was presenting a newly approved RIBA CPD entitled “Powered Pedestrian Doors: Design and Understandings for Accessibility and Safety”.

After a break, delegates were welcomed back to their seats to hear from Mr Michael Skelding, General Manager & Secretary of the Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) who focused on fire safety and specifically on doors and hardware following the Grenfell Tower tragedy on June 14th, 2017. Michael discussed the Grenfell Tower inquiry, analysing how the fire progressed, what failed to work and the disastrous consequences that ensued. Michael examined the problems for doors and hardware relating to specification, installation, maintenance, certification and compliance and discussed what needs to change to avoid further unneccessary tragedies.

Mr Michael Skelding, General Manager & Secretary for the Door & Hardware Federation (DHF)

Mr Ian Howell, representing KCC’s Fire Door Inspections closed the seminar with a presentation focusing on “Fire doors and their inspection” and gave attendees an understanding of the importance of fire door maintenance and inspection in order to ensure they function as intended, ie. as a life saving device in the event of a fire emergency. A introductory video clip showing the testing of three doors, two incorrectly specified, and what can happen in these instances created an eerie silence around the room as all attendees witnessed the unavoidable truth – the consequences of poorly-installed or unmaintained fire doors can be deadly, with flames bursting through the first door in just 4 minutes.

Attendees were able to discuss their queries or issues with representatives from industry experts including Elite Doors Ltd, GEZE, Firestop, Access2, KCC and Fire Doors Inspections who had all given their time to come over and support the awareness-raising event and assist attendees with any questions they had.

Speaking after the event, Neil McSherry, Associate Director and head of service in KCC said “We are delighted with the absolutely phenomenal response and attendance at today’s event. Our attendance today just goes to show how important a topic Fire Doors have become over recent times and we at KCC are honoured to be at the forefront of raising awareness of the importance of Fire Door safety within our industry.”