New guides have been published by the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) to help property owners, managers and occupiers maintain the safe, effective and efficient performance of their building hardware.
The GAI end-user guides detail maintenance recommendations and care of finishes for relevant materials, as well as providing checklists to help the user with safety critical products such as fire doors, escape doors and automatic doors.
As well as making these resources easily available to property developers, facilities managers, maintenance companies, occupiers and anyone involved with the care of buildings following their post-construction handover, the GAI is urging specifiers, installers and all those involved in the hardware supply chain to include them in their customer service processes.
Cost impact of ironmongery
GAI chief executive Simon Forrester said: “While architectural ironmongery typically comprises less than 2% of the cost of a new building, its impact on maintenance costs can be as much as 20% of the total budget in some sectors.
“In addition, aside from its role in a building’s design aesthetic, properly functioning hardware is critical to the property’s ongoing safety, security and accessibility.
“All of this makes proper maintenance and management of building hardware as important as the correct specification and installation.”
Forrester highlighted the UK Government’s announcement of the Responsible Actors Scheme (RAS) for residential developers as an example of the increasing emphasis on post-handover responsibilities in building safety. Through forthcoming legislation, the RAS aims to improve the safety and standard of buildings by requiring that any developers must identify and remediate life-critical fire safety defects in 11m+ residential buildings they developed or refurbished over the past 30 years. Developers who do not engage and comply with the scheme will be prohibited from carrying out further major development.
Professional competence essential
Forrester added: “Architectural ironmongery is fundamental to our lived experience of every building – quite simply it is the glue that binds a building together.
“It affects everything from our ability to lock and secure a property, to the lifetime costs of owning and maintaining it, to the personal safety of every occupant or user in the event of a fire or other emergency.
“This makes professional competence essential at every stage of the building lifecycle. At the design stage, ironmongery should be specified by a Registered Architectural Ironmonger (RegAI) to ensure the correct hardware for every application in compliance with the latest standards, regulation, legislation and best practice. During construction it should be properly installed in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions. And with these new guides, we aim to give those with post-handover responsibility the information and tools they need to meet their own ongoing care and maintenance obligations.”