Balancing performance and aesthetics in fire door hardware

In this article, Paul Goggins, Specification Manager for UAP, explains why architects and specifiers must balance aesthetics with proven performance and reliable supply when specifying hardware for fire doors.

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Paul Goggins is Specification Manager for UAP

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e can all appreciate that there are specific issues within the fire door industry, such as correct installation and maintenance, and door hardware has its part to play in minimising the risks caused by fire. It is vital that the best option is specified, installed appropriately and proactively maintained. Robust specification, as the first step in this process, is critical.

It is easy to be seduced by sleek lines and satin finishes when selecting hardware but with increased pressure to deliver fit-for-purpose hardware, architects and specifiers must also consider other, more practical factors e.g. third-party-certified performance in line with the latest Government legislation, stock availability (Brexit and beyond), technical support from the supplier, access to spare parts and extra keys, and security.

Continuity of stock

With continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit (at the time of writing), the supply of stock, and consistency of products are high on the agenda for buyers and procurement managers. This is particularly relevant to those specifying products for large housing developers and social landlords, where volume is required.

As a business, we have increased our stock holding and plan to control product pricing, where possible, in the event of a downturn in Sterling.

In-house testing and product development

One of our greatest challenges, as an industry, is staying current and meeting the latest legislation and standards. A pertinent factor in the wake of Grenfell. The last six months have been particularly difficult with uncertainty over product testing, particularly composite fire doors, and compliance, something which looks set to continue.

As a hardware specialist, we are doing all that we can to be up to speed and remain a reliable and trustworthy resource for specifiers. In keeping our ear to the ground and speaking with contacts in the fenestration and wider construction industry, we can proactively respond to the changes in demand.

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