Testing times

To mark his appointment as Certification Manager at Exova Warrington Certification we talk to Paul Duggan, chair of the GAI’s Technical Committee about his new role and the changes at his organisation.

Paul was recently appointed as Exova Warrington Certification’s Certification Manager, a role which Paul feels will allow him to be more effective in drawing up, promoting and policing the highest standards in the industry. His job description has been written specifically with this in mind in fact. “I will be concentrating exclusively on front-facing challenges which will mean I’ll be working more closely than ever with trade associations like the GAI, legislative bodies and clients,” he says.

Paul will have a counterpart, Chris Moores, who has been appointed as Business Unit Manager at WCL and who will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the department, staff and systems. “Splitting the previous role into two distinct functions will certainly allow us to work more effectively to our strengths,” says Paul. They will be backed up by new technical engineers to support the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) amongst other initiatives.

The timing of Paul’s new role is certainly opportune. “This new investment will allow me to concentrate on some really important changes coming up in our industry like CPR and other standard changes,” Paul says. “The industry will see more robust checks of schemes like Certifire – for instance making sure the web site is 100% up-to-date with certificates so that AIs can check live and reliably if products are certified.” The Certifire scheme has also committed to remove expired and withdrawn certificates for doors and fire products as well as hardware. In fact, Exova has withdrawn a number of Certifire certificates and published the fact on its web site although, as Paul Duggan explains, “we prefer to work with clients to make sure their marketing claims don’t overstep the mark.”

“Trading Standards don’t have sufficient resources or manpower to police the industry and this is not Exova Warrington Certification’s remit,” continues Paul Duggan. “But we will be doing more and more to ensure that Certifire certification is used correctly and being more robust to ensure the scheme retains its integrity in the AI sector. The industry wants Certifire to have teeth but, ultimately, companies have the power over their own destiny by ensuring their certification and claims are correct,” he concludes. 

The Exova group which Exova Warrington Certification’s is apart of certainly has impressive resources. From headquarters in Edinburgh, Exova operates from over 110 facilities in 25 countries and employs over 4000 people.  As well testing the architectural products and door hardware that the company is well-known for in the AI trade, Exova tests and analyses products in many different industries including food processing, textile manufacture, transportation, automotive and engineering sectors.

Exova warrington fire has appointed Rob Veitch as European Fire Safety Technology divisional director with responsibility for a team of 200 engineers and scientists as well as operational and commercial performance across six specialist testing laboratories.

Rob joins the division from a senior management role with industrial equipment provider Monks & Crane, part of the Wurth Group. In this role, Rob was responsible for a team of 170 and achieved record operating results.

Paul’s division, Exova Warrington Certification, is a key part of Exova as the organisation which provides certification for passive fire protection products and services through the Certifire scheme - the system for certifying hardware for fire doors. Certifire was joined in 2003 by FIRAS, a certification scheme for companies installing fire protection products and systems. Which involves assessment of the installer company, competence, assessment of its site workforce and regular, random inspection of actual contracts.

Paul and Exova Warrington Certification also continue to work hard to build and improve the standards for door hardware. In fact, Paul Duggan is Convener of TC33 WG4. TC33 is the CEN technical Committee with responsibility for the production of product standards for hardware, doors and windows. Working Group 4 of TC33 is specifically responsible for hardware. “We are very active at all levels in European  standard committees, helping to shape future policy and influence standards which will be used in the UK,” says Paul Duggan. “We have to be at the table to ensure that these standards work for the industry.”