Door centre

by Mark Rowe

Fire Door Maintenance (FDM) has opened a training centre for the fire door sector in Bury, Greater Manchester. The purpose built, the 3,000ft2 Academy is accredited by GQA Qualifications, an awarding body for specialist and occupational roles, the Academy will first offer be a fire door inspector course, followed by fire door maintenance, and fire door installation.

Trainees will receive a GQA skills card. As well as ensuring compliance with the latest fire safety regulation, the accredited training will respond to the Hackitt report’s recommendations after the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire. The inquiry into the tragedy revealed fire doors didn’t perform as expected. Of the 120 doors in the building, 106 had been replaced and comprised different hardware from the tested door. The place is also aimed at merchants, architects, facilities managers, locksmiths and those working for housing associations, local government and the fire service. Owned by UAP, FDM is led by former business consultant Nicola John who has two decades of experience in door manufacturing and construction.

Nicola said: “The Training Academy is the first to offer practical fire door training in the largest centre of its kind. The Hackitt report underlined the importance of the ‘golden thread’ and this is at the centre of our specialist training. Each course will underline how vital it is to source primary test evidence and the risk of changing or substituting components in a fire door.

“Providing access to fire doors and components from a range of manufacturers is a key element of the training. All fire doors are made slightly differently which means they need to be inspected differently too. Training participants will learn the nuances of each product and how to identify and fix any issues.”

The Academy was formally opened by Councillor Sandra Walmsley, Mayor of Bury at a ribbon-cutting. The event was also attended by Bury Council leader, Councillor Eamonn O’Brien.

Dan Brown, strategic relationship manager at GQA Qualifications said: “The launch of FDM’s Training Academy is exceptionally timely, coinciding with a significant phase of introspection within the construction industry. This introspection, fuelled by the demands of the Building Safety Act 2022, aims to enhance overall quality, compliance, and competence following a series of tragic events resulting in devastating loss of life.

“GQA Qualifications is proud to support FDM as it embarks on its mission to deliver rigorous training and qualifications to the industry. These offerings, awarded by GQA, are designed with meticulous assessment and learning content to address the life-safety risks associated with fire safety doors in buildings.

“The Training Academy serves as a model of accomplishment, showcasing what is possible with the appropriate determination, concentration, and commitment to enhance training in a specific yet vital sector.”

The Academy will also be used to provide training for FDM’s own operatives. This workforce is available to housing associations and councils seeking to outsource fire door inspections, maintenance and installations.

Before any work, details of the manufacturers of the fire doors within a building are sourced. This information is provided to FDM’s operatives at the Academy ensuring they know what to look out for during the inspection, including any potential risks.

Some 400 operatives are available across the UK for this ‘boots on the ground’ service. With experience of the door manufacturing industry, the operatives can also work alongside software providers, complementing their service and providing additional information such as the test evidence, for reporting purposes.

Doors and components have been provided by Harlow Timber Group, West Port, Latham’s Steel Doors, Unity Doors, Permadoor, Strongdor, The Sovereign Group, NSG Group, DoorCo, Rutland, Mann McGowan, Lorient, PDS, and Contactless Check Solutions, IG, GGF, Pilkingtons, Nordan, PWIDF and Specialist Door Solutions.

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