Cooke Brothers News

Nov 30, 2008

Letter to the editor CE Markings - the difference between life and death.

Constructor Magazine

Almost all new commercial and many domestic properties require fire doors to be fitted and failure to comply fully with the new Construction Products Regulations could mean facing imprisonment and a £5,000 fine.

So why is it that many builders and specifiers are still willing to risk fitting non-CE marked hinges onto Fire & Escape Doorsets?

A colleague of ours bought a newly-built house. A fire door had been fitted from the garage to the kitchen area, which did not have CE marked hinges and did not even have any intumescent pads fitted behind the hinges. The door manufacturer's details had been ignored.

When the building control officer was approached he said "You've got two fire alarms fitted, what are you worried about!" This issue is now in the hands of Trading Standards.

The tragedy earlier this year at Rosepark Care Home in Lanarkshire, where 14 people were killed, is exactly the type of accident which could happen. In this instance other factors were to blame for the rapid spread of the fire, but it is a frightening thought that this is the type of disaster which could occur.

It was brought home to my management team just how terrifying it must be when attending a recent fire test. A colleague from our German parent company who attended said:

"Imagine you were in a hotel room, on the 8th floor with a fire in the corridor and no means of escape. Your only chance would be if the fire door holds out until rescuers arrive. It could happen to any one of us, or any member of our families."

A question you must ask yourself therefore when specifying or fitting this type of product is: Is it worth the risk to fit a product which is not proven as fit for the intended purpose?

Using CE marked hinges is the easiest way to prove compliance. Always ask for the manufacturers' Certificate of Declaration and also evidence of the fire test if required.

Robin Guy, Director, Simonswerk UK Ltd.