Does NHBC rule change on installation of fire frames threaten safety?

Stairways u-turn on pre-plaster door inspections is good news for fire safety

The new NHBC requirement to install and seal all fire door frames at the pre-plaster inspection stage is a backward step for the industry.
NHBC dropped the news from out of nowhere in its November 2020 Technical Extra document, which includes any revisions and changes to the NHBC guidance inspectors and members and which came into force in January.

Within this, NHBC introduced the rule that all fire frames should be installed and sealed at the pre-plaster inspection stage to demonstrate the product has been sealed to the partition correctly.

Up until now, NHBC inspectors have visited properties at the pre-plaster stage, before wet plaster is applied to the internal walls, as the name suggests! The next time is when the house is pretty much complete, with all doors in situ and painted. This means that the second inspection is actually too late to verify the correct installation of fire frames, but the first is too early.

Unfortunately, due to cost, the NHBC will not add an additional visit to inspect the doors after the plaster but before the architraves are fitted.

The change is causing house builders and door set suppliers to raise concerns as it is now impossible to supply door sets that offer greater fire resistance, despite fire safety being in the spotlight more than ever and door sets widely being seen as the way forward to ensure compliance and improve safety.

Door leaf manufacturers insist that doors are not on-site during wet trades and high levels of moisture, as would be caused by wet plaster. Having door leafs onsite at the pre-plaster stage, as required by this new rule, will affect any product warranty and, potentially, their effectiveness at withstanding fire.

Stairways and other industry leaders are currently in discussions with the NHBC to look at finding some common ground on this issue. It is important that all stages of construction can be properly inspected, but the integrity of products, and so their effectiveness, cannot be compromised by blanket changes to rules that are unworkable. Unfortunately, the NHBC did not consult the industry before implementing this change.

We have spoken to a number of other insurance providers and they have no plans to follow suit.
Stairways will keep you informed as and when we have any updates.

Richard Kowalski
Technical Manager (Doors Division)
Stairways Midlands

Stairways

Author: Stairways

Stairways, founded in 1989, has grown to become one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of carpentry and joinery products. Stairways now boast three state-of-art facilities that offer over 85,000 sq ft production capacity. Stairways goal is to raise their profile and brand awareness to become known throughout the industry as the UK’s leading staircase and door solution provider.

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to stay current?

Register for Stairways’ industry updates to keep up to date with the latest news and building regulation changes.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

get in touch...

If you’ve got a question or query, Stairways would love to hear from you – just complete the form so they can direct your enquiry to the right person and get back to you with the information you require.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. For further information, please read our Privacy Policy.

If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.

Commitment

As a highly reputable firm within the industry, Stairways are dedicated to meeting their client’s product and application requirements. All materials used are manufactured to the highest quality and meet the relevant standards achieving ISO9001, FSC®, and various product certifications, whilst their staircases and door solutions are manufactured with compliance to UK building regulations & legislative standards in mind. Using the knowledge, passion, and experience acquired across all team members over the past thirty years, Stairways aim to continue to be the best in what they do.

THE FUTURE

Stairways are continuously looking for opportunities to improve and expand their service offering; this includes the investment in new machinery to further enhance and innovate the manufacturing process, with the aim to shorten lead times and increase overall in-house capacity. The changes Stairways employ are always focused upon improving the customer experience, to ensure their process remains as efficient as possible from start to finish.

THE HISTORY

Privately owned and managed since it was founded in 1989, Stairways has grown to become one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of carpentry and joinery products. Starting as a small staircase manufacturer, Stairways now boast three state-of-art facilities that offer over 85,000 sq ft of bespoke and mass production capacity.

RESIDENTIAL

Stairways are passionate about helping national and regional housebuilders, architects and contractors complete large-scale project requirements within the residential sector. Stairways quality timber staircases and door solutions are often specified due to their functionality, flexibility and ease of installation, whilst offering peace of mind compliance.

STUDENT ACCOMMODATION

Stairways are the perfect supplier of FSC® accredited range of door solutions. Offering a range of door and frame finishes, acoustic, fire and smoke resistant configurations that are ideally suited for heavy traffic student accommodation. Their vast experience with producing high-quality door solutions for a wide range of projects ensures that they consistently meet and exceed expected timescales, specification and performance requirements.

Leisure

Choose from Stairways variety of opening systems within the Eco-Mercial range to best assist with functionality and performance requirements. Our vast experience with producing high-quality door solutions and staircases for a wide range of projects ensures that we consistently meet and exceed expected timescales, specifications, and performance requirements.

Education

Choose from Stairways variety of opening systems within the Eco-Mercial range to best assist with functionality and performance requirements. Our vast experience with producing high-quality door solutions and staircases for a wide range of projects ensures that we consistently meet and exceed expected timescales, specification and performance requirements.

Commercial

Stairways provide innovative design and finishing solutions to architects, specifiers and contractors. Our FSC® accredited range of door solution and staircase products are ideally suited for heavy-duty applications within the commercial sector.

Hotels

Stairways are one of the leading manufacturers of doors, door sets, and door solutions. Their door solutions for hotels and leisure facilities meet and exceed all the relevant safety and performance requirements, whilst achieving the relevant aesthetics in keeping with the building design.

Medical

Stairways are the perfect supplier of FSC® accredited range of door solutions. Offering a range of door and frame finishes, acoustic, fire and smoke resistant configurations that are ideally suited for heavy traffic medical facilities. Their vast experience with producing high volume, high-quality door solutions that consistently meet and exceed expected timescales, specification, and performance requirements.