Codelocks stress the impacts of fire door regulations


Newbury-based lock manufacturer, Codelocks was visited by Laura Farris, Newbury MP, last week to discuss the critical implications of proposed changes to fire door testing requirements for UK businesses.

The proposed changes from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) will see a move away from testing to the British Standard BS47622 in favour of testing solely to the European Standard EN1634-1. The change is expected to have negative consequences for UK businesses. According to the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI), which represents lock and hardware manufacturers within the UK, the proposed changes could incur multi-million-pound costs for UK firms, cause potential job losses and remove product choice, all without delivering any meaningful life safety benefits.

During her visit, Laura Farris toured the Codelocks facilities, learned about its digital lock solutions, and heard about the impacts that the proposed changes would have on its UK employees and the wider business.

Colin Campbell, Managing Director at Codelocks commented on the issue: “If the proposal goes ahead, then many organisations, including our own, will be unable to specify or sell a significant portion of our products without huge investment in re-testing products that are already approved. The consequences for independent hardware businesses in the UK will be significant, affecting the livelihoods of employees in Newbury and other communities across the UK. It may seem like a technical issue, but without raising awareness before it’s too late, there could be significant delays to projects and increased costs for UK businesses. Laura Farris’s visit was important and it’s great to see the government taking time to listen to industry experts on the matter. We’re hopeful that together we can raise further awareness of this pressing issue.”

Douglas Masterson, Technical Manager at the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers, illustrated the scale of the costs, saying: “We are trying to protect the interests of UK businesses against a significant industry change. The typical cost of the new fire test is about £11,000, with many members having to do substantial amounts of re-testing, for example we have one member with 600 affected products. Test times are estimated to be at least six months with a further six months to receive the test reports. It’s clear to see how quickly those costs would add up for independent UK firms while also causing massive delays and disruption. Whilst large global manufacturers can afford these re-testing costs, the knock-on effect could be large swathes of business leaving the UK.”

The consultation on the proposed changes has gathered over 270 responses so far, and the government will carry out an impact assessment ahead of any changes to the law. The Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) has claimed there is no evidence to suggest that this change will make fire doors any safer. It could also introduce the risk of value-engineering and reduced specification for fire doors, effectively making them less safe as a consequence.

“There is broad consensus that the British Standard BS47622 is fit for purpose,” said Colin Campbell. Adding: “Many believe the introduction of a mandatory standard or training for fire door installation and maintenance will better address any safety issues.”

Research from the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) indicates that 75% of fire doors fail to meet the required standards. The top three reasons for failure are fitting, sealing, and maintenance and repair.

Laura Farris MP said of the visit: “There are many thriving companies in my constituency, and it was a privilege to visit Codelocks and learn about its business. I have heard the potential impacts of the changes to fire door safety regulations and their importance. I will help them to raise awareness of this issue as I do with the many local businesses that I represent.”

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