Region's fire door tests "totally meaningless"
Swiss expert says fire-door check should include actuators
A senior executive from Belimo Automation in Switzerland has suggested that regulations requiring the inspection of fire doors on a monthly basis include a check of the fire and smoke damper actuators in order to be more effective and thereby boost health and safety.
“Having a test once a month to check the fire doors is totally meaningless unless you check the fire and smoke damper actuators as well,” said Colin Shepherd. He was speaking at the official launch of Belimo Automation FZE’s new training facility at its Dubai Airport Free Zone offices.
Regular testing of such actuators is critical in order to ensure they function correctly at all times, said Shepherd. Some countries in Europe, for example, required such critical-component testing every couple of days. In this regard, Belimo Automation has a highly cost-effective ringbus system that automates the control and monitoring of fire and smoke damper actuators.
“We have a standard for fire doors, but do not check the void above where the actuators are, which would be relatively easy to stipulate in the regulations. The actuators should at least be part of this monthly check, for any fire-control system is only as good as the last time the actuators themselves were tested,” said Shepherd.
He added that the failure to capitalise on the potential of the monthly fire-door check was due to a prevailing mindset of “saving on the initial cost of the project. What I think is a big problem in the Middle East is that often only the primary cost is taken into account, and never the total project cost.
“When the contractors get hold of a project, often any overall specification in terms of saving on project costs just goes straight out of the window. Often all they are worried about is how cheaply a project can be delivered. That is a major problem at the moment,” warned Shepherd.
He added that the global trend towards heightened health and safety awareness, in conjunction with ‘green’ building design, was helping to boost business for Belimo Automation, especially in the Middle East market, where it has supplied such projects as Dubai Metro, Burj Dubai and Al Barari luxury villas.