BDC

Search
BDC Magazine

Consort Architectural Hardware

Design by Certification

More than ever, modern building projects can benefit from the use of certified products, writes Daniel May, Director of Consort Architectural Hardware. The needs of modern building environments have evolved. Throughout the construction process, decision makers are more commonly deliberating on themes such as innovation, accessibility and sustainability. And that’s

Read More »

Improving Building Hygiene – Where Does Door Hardware Fit In?

Daniel May, Director at Consort Architectural Hardware, discusses the role door hardware plays in improving hygiene within public building environments. Health and hygiene are delicate themes, particularly in today’s settings. Both our homes and public building environments can have a huge impact on our wellbeing, and over the past few

Read More »

Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

Consort Architectural Hardware

Design by Certification

More than ever, modern building projects can benefit from the use of certified products, writes Daniel May, Director of Consort Architectural Hardware. The needs of modern building environments have evolved. Throughout the construction process, decision makers are more commonly deliberating on themes such as innovation, accessibility and sustainability. And that’s not mentioning the renewed focus on building safety and performance, succeeding the Hackitt Review. As the collective commitment towards these topics grows, it’s as vital as ever for design professionals to deliver reliable, quality materials and hardware on their projects. Architectural hardware for example, is one of the most heavily used elements within a building environment, and a typical busy door can be used 150 times each day. Door hardware plays a pivotal role in a building’s operational network and its fire safety, and so the application of certified hardware solutions shouldn’t be undervalued. Daniel May of Consort explains: “While it’s important to deliver on aesthetics and innovation, there is always a clear responsibility to provide safe and secure building environments. The latest in reforms – think the Building Safety Bill and the regulations that has introduced – will continue to raise the standards associated with building design and with that, the benefits of certified hardware will shine. “Along the supply chain, the durability of hardware products is key, and this is in no way more assured than with independent certifications. For example, for fire doors to operate as intended, they rely on fitted hardware to perform – opening and closing upon demand to ensure the compartmentalisation of smoke and fire. “Fire door hardware products should, at a minimum, be CE marked, showing they comply with the minimum in regulatory requirements. However, to emphasise the highest levels of performance and durability, product manufacturers will often look towards third-party certifications such as the commonly recognised Certifire – a certification scheme that assures the performance, quality, reliability and traceability of hardware products. “For architects, specifiers and end users alike, product certifications such as Certifire boost the dependability of hardware choices and make for an easier, less time-consuming selection process. They provide additional confidence that the chosen product will perform when called upon, remaining safe and high performing throughout its lifecycle. “A building is a network of design choices, all of which must work in tandem for the infrastructure to operate as intended. Should one area fail, for example, the mechanisms of a fire door closer, the infrastructure becomes compromised – heightening safety and security risks for the building’s occupants and visitors. It’s critical that only the most durable products are used in these scenarios and whether using non-standard or standard arm applications, hardware must be compliant – with  various areas considered, such as meeting DDA requirements by paying close attention towards the opening forces used in public spaces. And while manufacturers have a responsibility to test, label and supply the highest standard of product, decision makers must then also choose to apply hardware that meets the requirements of the building in question.” Avoiding Costly Errors In some cases, design teams will face a choice between the initial costs of certified products and their less reliable counterparts. Although economic considerations are often part of the construction process, durable hardware will continue to perform long after its initial supply period, whereas cheaper hardware alternatives can become counterintuitive, failing to offer that same quality and durability and leading to costly consequences. Later in a building’s lifecycle, where less durable products have been used, complications can arise. With this, the costs associated with future maintenance and replacements can quickly begin to add up and work against the original decision. Not to mention the expense to building safety. More recently, sustainability continues to grow into the conversation, fairly asking questions about the environmental impact buildings omit. As was referenced at the recent COP26 conference, the built environment and construction sector accounts for 38% of the world’s Carbon Emissions. For the UK specifically, it’s said that 45% of the total UK carbon emissions are associated to the built environment and changes must now be made to avoid both environmental and reputational costs. Daniel adds: “The time has come for decision makers to do their part to limit the consumption of construction resources too, and certified architectural hardware can play its part here too. Hardware can also gain environmental certifications, such as ISO 14000, which is a set of standards designed to reduce environmental waste and damage. “Similar to Certifire, BREEAM is a third-party sustainability assessment method focusing on infrastructure and buildings. Hardware products can become recognised under independent standards – providing users with peace of mind that products are more durable, ethically sourced and environmentally resourceful. The aim is to reduce replacement hardware and the amount of packaging that is associated with replacements. And extended durability – represented through certifications – is the way forward. “The benefit of using certified architectural hardware is now more clear than ever. From performance benefits to dependability, all hardware – even the often-overlooked lever handles and flush bolts – should meet the requirements of their building, and there’s no better way to ensure this than with certified products. Building design will benefit from raised standards, and right now, decision makers can benefit from certification-led design.

Read More »

Improving Building Hygiene – Where Does Door Hardware Fit In?

Daniel May, Director at Consort Architectural Hardware, discusses the role door hardware plays in improving hygiene within public building environments. Health and hygiene are delicate themes, particularly in today’s settings. Both our homes and public building environments can have a huge impact on our wellbeing, and over the past few years, this fact has only been exemplified. Eighty percent of common infections are spread by touch and every 30 minutes, the average person is said to touch surfaces that expose them to 840,000 germs. These germs are prevalent in buildings too, where touchpoints are areas or items that are used by several individuals. Within workplace environments for example, door handles are the most touched surface and can be associated with cross-contamination and health risks. At present, the need to improve hygiene within our building environments, understandably, carries a greater significance than it maybe once did. But in truth, when it comes to building design, the process of protecting occupants and visitors against infection – especially those most vulnerable – should never be overlooked. Design for Bacteria Control Over the past two years, we’ve seen building environments closed, reopened and the process repeated. The idea of reducing footfall in facilities was key in fighting the rising infection rates associated with the coronavirus. But now, that footfall has returned. Once again, those critical touchpoints such as door handles are harbouring germs. In fact, research has shown that the coronavirus can survive on surfaces for hours, and even days on metal door handles – and the same can be said for the common flu. In response, we’ve seen government campaigns promoting hand washing, sanitising and distance-making in the wake of a return to public facilities. Undoubtedly, infection control methods such as hand washing and systematic cleaning are the most guaranteed way of controlling cross-contamination – yet, still these methods can become redundant when faced with human error or relaxed conventions within public buildings. Building design can play an important role here. Daniel May, Director at Consort explains: “We’re at a point where decision makers are under pressure to keep building hygiene standards as high as ever before. And outside of the clear-cut hygiene measures, it’s understood that more can be done throughout the building design process, with architectural hardware selection at the core of decisions. “Door hardware is the first touchpoint when entering, exiting or navigating a building, and can be one of the most bacteria-ridden. Yet, the latest in hardware advancements could give facility managers an edge in the fight against infection, especially in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals for example, where footfall is high and the need to maintain strict sterile environments already exists. “For added protection against bacteria, facilities can implement tailored anti-microbial hardware and finishes. Anti-microbial coatings applied to door handles are precisely formulated to prevent bacteria build-up upon the surface by interrupting cell multiplication. Some door seal solutions also make use of modern anti-bacterial technology, embedding it within the aluminium and silicone of the door seal during production, further reducing the spread of bacteria in high traffic areas.” The Care Quality Commission (CQC) sets a regulation that cleanliness and effective infection control is a necessity for care and hospital locations. As well as best practice methods, healthcare environments are encouraged to introduce innovative infection control methods where possible. Similarly, under The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, decision makers have an active duty to keep inhabitants safe and their environments clean. And aside from the use of antimicrobial solutions, many are challenged to provide hygienically maintained environments without sacrificing fire or safety standards. Daniel adds: “Facilities with high footfall must also consider ventilation and ease of movement. Whether in healthcare, commercial or public environments, both are key elements of efficient building management and when done effectively, can further help inhibit the spread of infection by ensuring fresh air is consistently making its way through halls and rooms. “The most effective way to improve ventilation throughout a building is by opening its windows and doors. This creates an inlet for fresh air and an outlet for the old air, and with access points open, minimises the need to touch door handles. Yet, when focusing on airflow, it’s inopportune to disregard fire safety. Too many times, we’ve seen facilities fall foul of leaving fire doors propped open in favour of improving ventilation and ease of access – but simply put, it’s illegal to do so and leaves fire doors wholly ineffective in a fire situation. “Modern exit systems are purpose built to ensure fire doors can be left open safely and securely. Automatic door controls make use of sensors which activate the operator devices connected to the main access doors. In turn, this aids access and egress when required and closes the doors shut when necessary. In the event of a fire, the alarm is sounded, and the doors close automatically – ensuring safety is never compromised. What’s more, these systems can be integrated with the external building security, reducing risk on all fronts. “Ultimately, when paired with regular cleaning practices, these modern solutions can play an assist role in the fight against infection, helping to maintain building hygiene as well as the obligatory standards associated with building and fire safety.” Infection Control at Consort Consort’s bespoke specification services extend to hygienic solutions, offering users tailored products to suit the needs of any building infrastructure. Antimicrobial finishes can be applied to any touch products and door seals, of which are already supplied to large complex hospitals around the world including Pamela Youde in Hong Kong and the Metropolitan Hospital in Birmingham. Find out more here: https://www.consortme.com/hygienic-solutions

Read More »