“It’s true to say that I have seen so many changes over four decades!” he laughs, “and there are a number that are particularly notable, such as the growing awareness of legislation, CE marking and regulation. There’s been a definite shift towards a more professional approach.”
One of the most significant changes however, has been in the advances of technology and electronics, which Dave describes as ‘incredible’.
“The door industry has been referred to in the past as ‘boring’, but this couldn’t be further from the truth,” he explains. “Many of the solutions that are required to make our industry work are complex and innovative. Technology is very much a part of that. When I first entered the sector, 60% of industrial doors were power operated; now, it’s almost 100%. We can virtually service a door in another country from here – now, that’s incredible.”
Of course, with automation comes the need for greater safety. These products are, after all, machines. It was Dave’s desire for a ‘safer product’ that inevitably led him to DHF’s door, the Tamworth-based trade association for companies working with Locks & Building Hardware; Doorsets; Industrial Doors & Shutters; Domestic Garage Doors and Automated Gates. With its history and origins dating back to 1897, DHF is the ‘go to’ organisation for technical advice, training and better standards across the industry.
Holding the position of Vice-Chairman of the Industrial Door Group for four years, in October 2017, Dave took on the official role of Chairman and has his own strategy for successfully steering the group through the choppy waters of a rapidly changing sector. A very dynamic individual, Dave is keen to project some of that vitality into the group’s regular meetings, as well as continuing to increase membership and offer current members value for money.
“The Industrial Door Group meetings are well-attended, but I’m hoping to increase attendance further and help DHF offer door suppliers a greater voice and ‘easy-to-understand’ messages and documentation about industry changes and how these directly impact them,” he says. “Training and the drive for greater industry standards are very much the backbone of DHF’s operations. We work in a dangerous industry, so our enduring message is: a safe product and a safe environment.”
Just last month, DHF launched its latest code of practice (DHF TS 012:2018) designed to raise standards of safety in the industrial door industry. It provides a framework to ensure the safe and compliant installation of industrial doors and roller shutters, drawing on safety legislation, European standards, and industry best practice.
“The new code of practice offers help to all those involved with industrial doors by providing clear guidance on their legal obligation and responsibilities,” says Dave. “At the present time, there are too many untrained people working in the industry, particularly in smaller companies, so getting the message out there about proper training is absolutely vital. Let’s hope to improve this will be the biggest change over the next 40 years.”
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