Fire Door Safety Week 180The new chairman of the UK’s largest fire door certification scheme has sounded a stark warning about fire safety in UK buildings.

David Oldfield, head of joinery at Arnold Laver, has been voted as chairman of the BWF-CERTIFIRE Scheme to Premdor’s David Paxton.

Upon his appointment, Oldfield warned that while safety had seen major breakthroughs in the last few years thanks to the simplification of third-party certification of fire doors, there remains a “culture of complacency” among those responsible for specifying, installing and maintaining passive fire protection measures such as fire doors.

“The scale of the problem is huge and appears to affect every sector and every type of building we use, work and live in. The state of the nation’s fire doors is a borderline national crisis,” he added.

“The fire door industry and its close partners across construction and fire safety services need to continue to work together to ensure critical messages about fire door safety reach our customers, but also echo in the corridors of power – change needs to be driven from the top.

“The message is simple: ensure the right product is specified and installed correctly, and that means a third-party certificated product. Anything less is frankly an unnecessary and unacceptable risk.”

In particular, he pointed to recent research by FDIS which discovered that 61% of fire doors inspected had problems with fire or smoke seals, and fines for breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order which included fire door failures had reached almost £1million this year. The ’75 facts about fire’ produced by the BWF-CERTIFIRE Scheme for this year’s Fire Door Safety Week also showed a dossier of safety failures across the country.

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David has worked for Arnold Laver since leaving school, recently completing 25 years of service. He has worked in all areas of the business, from a YTS apprenticeship through to the sales office and is now responsible for the sales, marketing, certification and management of all Arnold Laver’s joinery products and services.

Every two years a different member is elected as chairman of the BWF-CERTIFIRE Scheme – a non-paid position that ensures the scheme remains relevant and industry-led. The chairman is voted in on the basis of their network, technical competence and ability to represent the sector.