The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has announced the launch of its new qualification specifically to target the installation of fire doors in the UK. This new qualification is in partnership with the NPTC Group of Colleges.

The course is designed to be a practical introduction to installing fire doors and will cover a range of topics including: the fitting of fire doors; fire door frames and linings; understanding and fitting of fire door ironmongery and seals; the inclusion of apertures and associated fire regulations related to the fitting of glass; and the effects of use on fire door performance.

The qualification will be available as an optional unit for apprentices from the NPTC Group of Colleges and as a two- to three-day course and assessment option aimed at experienced tradespeople. It will enable individuals to work towards and achieve unit 358 ‘Installing fire resisting timber door assemblies and doorsets in the workplace’. Once achieved, the unit can be displayed on the reverse of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, which is used to demonstrate that individuals working on construction sites have the required training and qualifications for the type of work they carry out.

The course has already been successfully piloted at NPTC Group of Colleges in Wales.

Iain McIlwee, CEO of the British Woodworking Federation said: “There are many critical elements to get right in the construction of fire doors, and a host of regulations governing their manufacture, installation and maintenance. But a single mistake in specification, installation or use can render a fire door ineffective.

“The launch of the UK’s first fire door installation training course is the culmination of a lot of hard work over the past two years by our members and the NPTC Group of Colleges to strengthen the qualification and training system. Together, we reviewed the current modules to enable the qualification to be offered more broadly to those already qualified, such as site carpenters and joiners, to refresh and update their knowledge and skills.”

Fire doors are often the first line of defence for users of a building in the event of a fire and yet they remain a significant area of neglect – with 90 per cent of fire doors reported as having issues within a sample of local authority and housing association Fire Risk Assessments (FRA) examined by the BWF. Subsequently, every year lives are lost or put at risk, and properties are unnecessarily damaged, because fire doors have been wrongly specified, fitted or maintained.

Mr McIlwee added: “The key to correctly installed and maintained fire doors is to train the trainer and ensure that both tutors and assessors have access to the best training resources – the Fire Door Inspection Scheme Diploma is pivotal here and has supported our work. We hope that our training qualification will make a real difference and raise fire door installation standards across the country.”

Suzannah Nichol, chief executive of Build UK, said: “The correct installation of a fire door is essential for protecting lives, property and businesses. This new qualification will support the industry and those setting out on their career within construction to promote and ensure high standards of fire safety.

“It is also a great example of how our industry and learning institutions can work together more effectively to fix genuine market concerns.”

John Slaughter, director of external affairs at the Home Builders Federation (HBF), said: “We at the HBF are delighted to be supporting the British Woodworking Federation in developing this essential guidance.  Working more effectively with the supply chain is critical to improving productivity and quality in the home building sector and this kind of collaboration between manufacturers and our members is a great example of how this can be done effectively.”

The course was formally launched at the Senedd by Deputy Presiding Office of the National Assembly for Wales, Ann Jones, and featured presentations from the BWF and Mark Dacey, principal and chief executive, NPTC Group.

For course details: