Wednesday, 29 February 2012

New Diploma heralds launch of Europe’s first fire door inspection scheme

A new qualification for fire door and building safety professionals was unveiled last week, in an important step towards the launch of Europe’s first Fire Door Inspection Scheme.

While similar schemes are well established in the USA, the UK’s Fire Door Inspection Scheme is the first of its kind here and is designed to transform people’s knowledge and understanding about the critical purpose and function of fire doors in buildings covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and equivalent legislation.

It aims to help improve fire safety management, protect property and ultimately save lives through creating a new pool of expertise and competence to help those with legal responsibilities under the RRO.

 The new Diploma in Fire Doors is a joint initiative developed by the BWF-CERTIFIRE Fire Door and Doorset Scheme and the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI), the two industry bodies behind the creation of the UK Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS).

Gary Amer, Chief Executive of the GAI and spokesperson for FDIS, said: "We are extremely grateful for the Door and Hardware Federation’s contribution to FDIS. Their input to the metal doors module of the FDIS diploma was invaluable."

The FDIS online learning platform goes live this week, containing seven web-based education modules which are designed to be studied at a candidate’s own pace and location. A final examination can be taken at a local test centre, and successful candidates will be awarded the Diploma in Fire Doors and be entitled to use the designation DipFD after their name.

Gary Amer, Chief Executive of the GAI and spokesperson for FDIS, said: 

“We already know there is strong demand for this qualification. The FDIS online education programme is available to anyone who wishes to have a greater knowledge of fire doors and a qualification to prove it.

“Not only does it allow someone to demonstrate that they are an acknowledged professional with recognised expertise in fire doors, but it is also the first step towards becoming an FDIS Certificated Inspector able to offer fire door inspection services to building owners and landlords affected by the UK’s stringent fire safety regulations.”

Peter Johnson, BWF-CERTIFIRE Scheme Chairman, said: "There is little doubt that the certification of fire doors has helped to reassure specifiers and building owners that door performance meets required standards, and has been instrumental in improving safety and saving lives.
“The FDIS is a natural evolution, helping to highlight the difference between a certified safe door and those which may not be appropriate for use or have been rendered inappropriate by poor maintenance or misuse."

The FDIS Diploma has been researched and authored by industry experts. It comprises:
  • Foundation module - providing a basic understanding of fire doors and their components, including testing and certification, regulations and standards, inspection and maintenance

  • Timber fire doors and frames - a more detailed look at timber fire and escape doorsets, their construction, installation and functional performance.
  • Metal fire doors - information on how steel doors differ from timber doors, how they are tested, glazed, installed and maintained.
  • Glazing - detailed guidance on the different types of fire resistant glass, glazed apertures, glazing retention systems and beading and the importance of getting it right.
  • Seals - detailed information on the function and technology of intumescent, acoustic and smoke seals, how they're identified and installed.
  • Ironmongery and signage (Part 1) - covers why each type of ironmongery is essential, critical issues about installation, how to check it is functioning correctly and when the item should be replaced.
  • Ironmongery and signage (Part 2) - covers essential and non-essential ironmongery, the requirements for panic escape mechanisms and signage on fire doors.

Each module looks at the relevant regulations and standards that apply to fire door components and how certification is crucial to compliance.
FDIS provides a vital new resource to help the ‘Responsible Person’ complete fire risk assessments for the premises they manage. It also raises awareness of defective fire doors and the potentially tragic consequences of leaving these unchecked.
The independent certification of FDIS Inspectors is likely to start later this year, resulting in a searchable database of local inspectors who can check on the specification, installation and maintenance of fire doors in all buildings being built.
 In order to become certificated fire door inspectors, Diploma holders will have to complete an additional education module which explains what is expected of an FDIS Inspector and how the scheme works. They will also need to demonstrate detailed knowledge and skills in a practical, working environment and be assessed by an independent third party, Exova Warringtonfire. All certificated inspectors will also have to work in accordance with the FDIS Code of Conduct. 
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