CHANGES in fire regulations for commercial premises offer bright prospects for a St Neots coffin-making company. Dufaylite Limited, which set up in business 50 years ago making honeycomb inserts for lightweight doors, discovered that the largely recycled
CHANGES in fire regulations for commercial premises offer bright prospects for a St Neots coffin-making company.
Dufaylite Limited, which set up in business 50 years ago making honeycomb inserts for lightweight doors, discovered that the largely recycled materials used could, when combined with paints, hold back fire for up to four hours.
Its product range now includes materials that can be used wherever the integrity of a fire barrier might otherwise be compromised - such as where soil and vent pipes have to pass through fire-resistant walls and ceilings. Other products fill the gaps around fire-doors to prevent fire penetrating between door and jamb.
The £4million-a-year company's core business is the egg-box infilling that enables internal doors to be manufactured so inexpensively.
But, when that material is first dipped in resin to make it water-resistant and then in certain paints, it becomes intumescent, swelling to fill the gap when it becomes hot and holding back the spread of fire for long enough for people to escape, Dufaylite's head of sales and marketing, Nigel West, told The Hunts Post. "The changes in fire regulations last month are pushing people more in our direction. New fire risk assessments will be identifying all sorts of areas where people don't have adequate protection," he predicted.
Dufaylite's 60 employees use recycled corrugated cardboard and newsprint - with new paper for added strength - as the basis for their core products.
Surprisingly, the company also makes coffins from this material in recycled board. "In the past, they have been a bit cheap and cheerful," Mr West said. "But ours look much better. They are also biodegradable after burials."
Nearly one-third of the company's fire-protection output is exported, particularly for major development projects in the Middle East and continental Europe.
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is advising businesses to make sure they are up to date on the new fire safety rules affecting all non-domestic premises.
The legislation moves towards greater emphasis on fire prevention in all non-domestic premises, including the voluntary sector and self-employed people with premises separate from their home. This legislation means a fire risk assessment will be required for all non-domestic premises. Fire certificates are abolished and cease to have legal status.
Station officer David Lincoln said: "We can give you free advice on the level of risk assessment required and general advice on fire safety. All owners and managers must comply with the Fire Safety Order."
INFORMATION: Dufaylite Developments Ltd is at Cromwell Road, St Neots: telephone 01480 215000, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Non-domestic fire safety advice, visit www.firesafetyguides.communities.gov.uk or www.fire.gov.uk, where you can access different guides for different types of premises, or contact the fire service on 01480 52567.