Manchester Businesses Join Forces to Launch One-of-a-Kind Academy of Fire Safety Excellence

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FASTSIGNS Manchester has joined forces with Bury-based UAP, the UK’s leading fire resistant door hardware suppliers, as it launches its one-of-a-kind fire safety training facility, aimed at educating fire door maintenance operatives.

FASTSIGNS Manchester is part of FASTSIGNS UK’s growing franchise network, currently made up of 24 other centres situated around the country. Its Manchester location, based in Salford, has an established partnership with UAP, having supported its relocation in the summer of 2023, to its current home in Bury.

Now, the signage specialists have brought to life UAP’s latest venture, supplying a range of solutions including vinyl and acrylic plaques, wayfinding signage, vinyl decals, information graphics and full coverage wallpaper to service its new offering.

In light of the ongoing Grenfell Tower enquiry, UAP Ltd has launched a separate arm to its existing business, known as the FDM training facility. Described as an ‘Academy of Excellence’, the new venture has been created with the ambition to train, educate and upskill fire door inspectors, installers and maintainers to meet and exceed UK fire door regulations.

Since the Grenfell disaster in June 2017, fire safety within residential buildings has become an increasingly prominent issue for developers, building owners and occupiers alike – and, crucially, manufacturers and suppliers of door hardware.

The partnership, and launch of FDM, follows FASTSIGNS’ wider research into the state of fire safety around the UK.

Following the update of the fire safety regulations in January of 2023, FASTSIGNS’ team conducted research into how many local fire stations had received updated building and external wall plans in multi-occupied high-rise residential buildings – now a legal requirement.

Figures from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service revealed that they had only received 15 percent of external wall plans and just 8 percent of building plans since the introduction of the Government’s updated fire safety regulations – across 626 high-rise buildings – making the services and facilities offered by FDM significant to enacting further change.

The purpose-built 3,000 square feet facility is the first of its kind to be created, in response to the incident, and is designed in a bespoke flat corridor-style set-up for practical training of fire door assessors. It features over twenty different types of fire doors from a range of different suppliers and manufacturers – including timber and composite fire doors, flat and cross corridor doors, as well as stairwell and riser doors.

Additionally, FDM also has classroom facilities for theory training requirements, where operatives are trained to identify and fix any issues that they come across when inspecting fire doors.

Commenting on the ongoing partnership, Richard Wedgwood, managing director of FASTSIGNS Manchester, said:

“I think I speak for everyone at FASTSIGNS Manchester when I say we feel privileged to have been involved in such a remarkable and historic project – playing a role in helping to bring to life such an important facility that, we hope, will bring about much change in the wider industry.

“We’ve done our own research into how crucial fire safety is, and that has demonstrated the need for those involved – whether a developer, owner, occupier or manufacturer – to understand the rules and regulations required in order to keep people safe. We truly believe that FDM will play a fundamental role in educating stakeholders, and we wish the team the very best for this next venture.”

Nicola John, managing director at FDM, added:

“We are very proud of our GQA-approved training facility. As a training provider, we offer training to anyone who specifies, works on, or is responsible for this life-saving product – a fire door.

“Our mission is to significantly improve safety and standards in the fire door industry. We are delighted with the service and quality of design and signs from our chosen partner, FASTSIGNS Manchester.”

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