Time to take notice

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell wonders why new homes are not meeting fire safety standards.

It often takes a significant jolt to make society sit up and take notice of something.

Just recently, despite repeated warnings from scientist that the earth’s atmosphere was heading towards irreversible damage, it took the action of the so-called Extinction Rebellion, and a disrupted London, to bring the issue to the front pages.

With this in mind, I thought that the terrible Grenfell Tower disaster would have brought the issue of fire safety to the top of the agenda when it came to building design and construction.

Unfortunately, just this morning the BBC has run with the story ‘’New-build homes not fire safe’, BBC investigation finds’.

According to the story: “Houses developed by Persimmon Homes and Bellway Homes have potentially dangerous fire safety issues, BBC Watchdog Live has found.

“New-builds constructed by the firms were sold with missing or incorrectly installed fire barriers, which are designed to inhibit the spread of fire.”

What will it take for stories like this not to appear?

Thankfully, this isn’t a widespread mentality, especially not in our industry; companies are certainly taking it up on themselves to ensure their products meet the necessary standards. Not only that, but main contractors are taking a closer interest in the skills their sub-contractors possess, as reported by The Window Company (Contracts) this week.

Company chairman David Thornton said: “While there is still no legal requirement for installers to be certified to fit fire doors, clients and contractors are nevertheless increasingly recognising how important it is to use only experienced, highly trained installers like ourselves. We think that the quality of the installation is as important as the quality of the fire door itself and are backing efforts to make the type of training and certification which our team have undergone via the Ukas-accredited IFC (International Fire Consultants) mandatory across the industry.”

Maybe the problem lies with the culture surrounding new-build homes – it is certainly something that I’ve commented on in the past.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.