With new developments happening thick and fast, we caught up with our Senior Commercial Manager, Alex Babbage, to get the lowdown on recent fire door projects at Fireco.
Hi Alex, it seems like a busy time for you! What changes have you overseen since Fireco introduced its Fire Door installation service?
Our fire door services have evolved from a conversation I had in the car with our CEO, James Wheeler: “Can we get to a place where we supply and fit doors?” Fast forward 20 months, and we now have dedicated warehouse space for fire doors and extensive in-house training for our Fireco engineers. They are certified by recognised bodies (including BM Trada, FDIS and BlueSky) for remedial works and installation services.
Our installation service has expanded dramatically over the last 12 months. We’re now working with some exciting clients on multi-year projects to support their building compliance.
It’s great now that we can offer our door installation service to both our existing client base and a host of new clients, including local authorities, especially since the release of our exciting new door inspection app, DorTrak.
We’re supporting a number of local housing providers and property management companies with comprehensive door inspections as a starting point to understand what changes need to be made to make the fire doors compliant.
Fireco are recognised as being manufacturers of very well known door hardware. Are they now manufacturing doors?
Fireco has been making Dorgard and other fire safety products for over 20 years. For fire doors, we’ve partnered with third-party accredited door manufacturers such as Performance Doorset Solutions and supply only third-party tested prehung doorsets.
This means we can offer the best quality doors with primary-tested hardware installed under the BM Trada Installation Standard. We provide full certification for both the doors and the installation process.
Now that the new fire safety regulations have come into effect, what advice would you give to the Responsible Person regarding fire door compliance?
The gov.uk website states: “In all multi-occupied residential buildings, the regulations require responsible persons to provide residents with fire safety instructions and information on the importance of fire doors.” It’s normal for a fire door to become damaged over time due to high use and general wear and tear. However, sometimes the deterioration is caused deliberately, e.g. breaking or disengaging door closers.
By sharing knowledge with residents on the importance of fire doors and why they need to be closed, it could prevent them from causing damage and also help them identify if something is wrong with a door. There are some great sources within the fire industry such as the FIA, FPA, IFSEC and the BWF. As we’re in the business of offering fire door services here at Fireco, we also create plenty of reliable fire door content. Fireco’s blog section and webinar archive are great places to find more information.
What makes Fireco’s Fire door inspection service different from competitors?
Our fire door inspection service is carried out using our own tailor-made app, DorTrak.
I’ve seen a number of report formats that don’t include key information such as door certification and ratings, and detailed reviews on door gaps etc. I also often see overly complicated reports that can make understanding and processing the data quite difficult for end users. Ideally the information contained can be passed to an accredited company to help provide options to improve compliance.
We sat down and spoke with a number of door inspectors to try and come up with a system that made inspecting doors more granular; one that supplied data to the end user in a format that was clear, comprehensive and useful for third parties to offer remedial quotes.
With the push towards a more digital world for fire safety, we’re using a portal that we can update with the annual reports.
Tell us more about DorTrak, how did it come about?
We were keen to explore how customers were using the data from fire door reports. Having spoken to lots of end users, and with the update to the regulations in January, it was clear that the report needed to function as a tool to help clients fix doors.
We took some time to understand the most common issues with doors, and decided to design our own app that allowed better data inputs and more photos of the issues with doors.
Our report format is very detailed, and builds up a digital pass/fail portfolio for all of the components of the door: the doorset itself, any hardware and the closing action. DorTrak provides easy-to-read reports with a detailed view option to review individual doors, as well as a summary view that collates any highlighted issues with all of the doors on a particular site.
The app does a lot of the work post-inspection collating information and provides it in a simple way for the customer to send to a third party for pricing for remedial works or replacements.
Also, we use RFID tags on the doors to help customers build a door location map within the app, helping tie in with regulation 38 and a digital record for fire safety.
How can the Responsible Person keep up to date with all their sites effectively and make sure all doors remain compliant?
Having a competent person carry out regular door inspections is key, then keeping records of these inspections comprises an essential part of your golden thread of information. If any significant changes are noted, or failures with doors found, it’s worth speaking to or bringing in an expert that has certification with doors and can provide advice.
What type of customers are you receiving orders from?
We started with small local orders for end users; residential front entrance doorsets. This allowed us to build our processes around goods in and quality checks, whilst we built up our learning.
We’re now working with large commercial sites, including our key networks; healthcare and education. This includes assisting certain clients on multi-year installation projects, providing them with high priority doors in some fantastic locations.
Having an excellent network of installers gives us great scope to support clients all over the country for our whole range of fire door services.
We recently completed a project for a local authority where they simply could not find another local installer that had a compliant solution for what was an unusual doorset. So we worked with our partner PDS to come up with a tested solution that solved this resident’s two year problem!
It’s still early days for DorTrak. What sort of feedback have you been receiving so far?
It’s been really exciting working with some key clients with fairly extensive property portfolios who are really buzzed about the features within DorTrak.
As with any new software, we’re keen to continue to develop it and will offer regular updates for features and how we provide data. We are always open to customer suggestions and ideas about how and what we can improve.
Thanks Alex, so all in all it’s looking very healthy fire doors-wise with Fireco?
Absolutely! We have some exciting multi-year installation contracts, and we’d like to explore how we can offer our compliant door services portfolio to a wider territory.
In regards to the inspection app, we have a host of exciting developments coming, and with the changes to regulation 10 there are some potential new avenues that we can explore to help support responsible people with building safety. This involves working with our key contracts, continuing the development of the app to further understand what large businesses need.
More and more people will need an efficient way to inspect doors, and more importantly, store fire safety information. Our app and customer portal is the perfect place to build up an inspection history for all of the doors in a property.
Finally, as with any business, the key to making a success of something is a good idea with the right people. We have an excellent team and the correct people pushing the project along. WIthout the support of the Marketing team and my colleagues in Sales and in the field, it wouldn’t have been the success to date that it has been!
Find out more about Fireco’s fire door services and the new DorTrak app on 01273 320650.