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September 20, 2022


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Fire door safety week

How BIM software can support a collaborative approach to fire door specification

Paul Thompson, BIM Manager for ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions, discusses new regulations being introduced to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, and explains how BIM software can aid collaborative working with door specification and create the essential ‘golden thread’ of information.

ASSAABLOY-DoorGroup-OpeningStudioBIM-22Door specification can be a balancing act. The client will have a vision for what they want their building to be, and the architect will interpret that in a certain way. Finally, the door manufacturer will use that information to build the specification to meet the requirements.

While it’s important to retain a strong design identity, product performance must come first, especially in the case of fire and emergency escape doors. Although compliance should be paramount, it doesn’t mean specifiers have to compromise completely on aesthetics.

It can be a challenge to harmonise security features with aesthetic appeal, and also meet the standards required, especially when doors are performing multiple functions such as providing security, offering fire resistance, improving acoustics, and enhancing aesthetics.

With this in mind, what considerations need to be made during door specification and defining the performance criteria, and what tools are available to enable accurate collaborative working and streamline the process?

New regulations

There are a range of standards that must be adhered to when specifying doorsets to ensure compliance.

New regulations are being introduced under article 24 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (Fire Safety Order) to implement recommendations made to government following the Grenfell tragedy.

These regulations are due to come into force on 23 January 2023, and contain a requirement for responsible persons in buildings above 11 metres in height to provide additional safety measures.

This includes things such as providing occupants with fire safety instructions and information on the importance of fire doors. Responsible persons will also be required to undertake annual checks of entrance doors and quarterly checks of all fire doors in common parts.

As well as meeting these new regulations, fire doors are already required to be tested to either BS476 part 22 or BS EN 1634-1, and ideally be certified under a third-party certification scheme, such as Certifire or the equivalent – a position that is fully endorsed by the Door & Hardware Federation (DHF).

Other standards that should be met include BS EN179 Emergency Escape for when the building occupants are aware of the building environment, BS EN1125 Panic Escape for environments used by the general public, and BS EN 13637 Electronically Controlled Escape Systems (for use on escape routes).

Holistic & collaborative working

To create a holistic approach to door specification, more specifiers are utilising Building Information Modelling (BIM) software. The uptake of BIM technology has been rapid, with awareness and usage in some capacity of BIM rising from 13% in 2011 to 71% in construction during 2021.

Collaboration and the sharing of data is vital to the success of BIM. At its heart, BIM is a tool that reduces waste and risk of error, and facilitates the sharing of detailed information throughout the design, construction and operational phases of a project, which ultimately results in more efficient buildings.

When it comes to doorsets and ironmongery in particular, using BIM-enabled tools can truly unlock the potential of BIM, while not requiring a change in complete operating systems.

Openings Studio

ASSA ABLOY’s Openings Studio BIM application integrates with commonly used design software, such as Revit or Graphisoft, to create and visualise openings for complete door, frame and hardware schedules and specifications. This enables seamless extraction of door design intent and all relevant interfaces to assist specifiers to seamlessly develop complete door requirements that meet building regulations.

Product information, performance data and budget information are captured within the BIM design environment, and through real time, collaborative working, these designs can be validated for compliance, functional performance, and aesthetics plus presented as 3D views that can be fully re-integrated into the overall project design.

With linked internal systems, ASSA ABLOY uses this final schedule of information to manufacture the complete doorset solution including the leaf, frame and all specified hardware.

An extension to Openings Studio has recently been developed, which offers a mobile app that directly accesses this data for use during the door installation process. The app provides access to the as-built door data beyond project completion and provides capability to complete essential inspections. By capturing and recording all information at each stage of the life cycle the app enables easy comparison between product at last review and current review.

Latest details can be captured during inspections and at each stage provide comprehensive reporting. It then can capture details of any subsequent completed works so this cyclic process can start over again at the next inspection.

This supports the ‘golden thread’ approach – outlined by Dame Judith Hackett in her report, ‘Building a safer future’ – to manage buildings as holistic systems. This allows people to use information to safely and effectively design, construct and operate buildings, and keep people safe, now and in the future.

Fire door safety

As fire doors are one of the most important safety features in a building, regular inspections are also essential to fully ensure health and safety measures are met.

With this in mind, Door Group, a unit of ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, provides a fully comprehensive inspection which can be carried out every three, four, six or 12 months to suit specific requirements. Advisory reports on necessary improvements and repair proposals are then produced from BRE-certified inspectors.


2023 Fire Safety eBook – Grab your free copy!

Download the Fire Safety in 2023 eBook, keeping you up to date with the biggest news and prosecution stories from around the industry. Chapters include important updates such as the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and an overview of the new British Standard for the digital management of fire safety information.

Plus, we explore the growing risks of lithium-ion battery fires and hear from experts in disability evacuation and social housing.


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