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Door maintenance issues

07 November 2018

DHF’s general manager & secretary, Michael Skelding, talks about issues currently facing the industrial door sector and sets out the federation’s pro-active plans for the year ahead.

The chief objective of the Door & Hardware Federation’s industrial door group has always been to raise quality and safety standards in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of industrial doors. In 2018, this remains the driving force behind their continuing good work.

“Only DHF member companies can pass on the benefits of membership to their customers, such as product reliability, a high standard of installation, and most importantly, safety!” says Michael.  

Legal compliance and competence sit at the very heart of DHF activity and they have become renowned nationally, for their continued commitment to training.  In 2016, DHF launched the Industrial & Garage Door Safety Diploma training course, ideal for those who can implement change in the organisation, with members who operate in industrial doors or rolling shutters, committing to undergo training as part of the Code of Conduct. And this year, was followed by the launch of a new one-day Industrial & Garage Door Safety Certificate, targeted at installation engineers.

“It is a condition of DHF membership that at least one person (who is able to change existing or implement new legal compliance processes) at every member company has attended and passed the two-day Industrial & Domestic Garage Door Safety Diploma by December 2018,” he says.  

Yet despite the drive for best practice and improved standards across the industry, it is clear that problems do remain.

Training gap

Training has been a particular area of growth for DHF, and this year, they have taken their commitment further with a new Head Office and state-of-the-art training academy on the outskirts of Tamworth, accommodating 25 people at any given time. The federation’s growth was further highlighted in September, with the launch of a new Commercial Department, headed by Commercial Manager, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens.  The department is set for expansion next year, with a new member of staff coming on board.

The new department will enable a more streamlined co-ordination and restructuring of the organisation’s training offering.

Following one of its busiest and most successful years, there is plenty on the agenda for 2019, including offering members CSCS cards, as Michael explains: “CSCS is the leading skills certification scheme within the UK construction industry. These cards provide proof that individuals working on construction sites have the required training and qualifications for the type of work they carry out. Being able to offer the industry CSCS cards from early next year is going to be a tremendous benefit.” 

“We regularly learn of issues with non-compliant doors, and shutters: often equipment that was supplied 20 or 30 years ago, which lacks the appropriate safety systems required to prevent fall-back under EN 12604, e.g. the direct drive shutter (unbalanced) without the safety brake.  Members have informed us that despite providing the client with a safety critical letter/response, when they have returned six months later, nothing has been rectified, and in the meantime, other repair companies have worked on the door and not addressed the safety faults,” explains Michael.

A recent site survey conducted by DHF member company, Hormann, found that some doors were so badly damaged, they were being held in the tracks by just one roller. The site continued to use the door even after they were advised not to, following which, the door fell out of the tracks after it was secured and electrically isolated. Their reasoning behind this? They had a business to run!  

Doors being amended from their original design also appear to be a recurrent industry issue.  

“Members are discovering doors that were supplied without a wicket door installed initially, then a retrofit kit has been installed which increases the door weight; the springs are not changed to account for the additional weight and therefore, the door is not balanced,” Michael continues.


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“Additionally, they do not then fit a wicket door contact to prevent the main door being opened whilst the wicket door is open. In some cases, the reverse is also true: due to damage to the bottom panels, the wicket door section is removed and lighter panels are used. Again, this makes the spring tension too high for the original door.”

Further problems such as safety-critical items like blades for cable break devices not being replaced when they have been used (in some cases, safety systems have been fundamentally compromised by cutting parts of the blades off or removing them entirely) and the removal of door safe edges (including the interlock to the motor) are seemingly on-going issues that need addressing.

“DHF members can access help, advice and guidance on the safety aspects and legal regulations of industrial doors, however, there are still a large number of non-members who have not attended our industrial door training courses and therefore, might not achieve the same level of understanding as our member companies. We know that unscrupulous companies who will repair a door without adequate comprehension of safety and legal compliance do exist. Our industrial door training courses are open to members and non-members; we urge those working within the sector to be aware of their responsibilities.”