Spec Finish

Technical It’s important that operable walls are regularly maintained, serviced and repaired if they are to perform, meet the requirements of any warranty and to extend their life, because unlike fixed partitions, operable walls are regularly disassembled, moved or reinstalled, by people where this task is not their main role. 12 www.thefis.org FIS LAUNCHES NEW BEST PRACTICE GUIDE FOR SERVICING OPERABLEWALLS O PERABLE walls are regularly installed, in increasing heights and elevations, in places of education, leisure, conference and exhibition halls. Operating these walls is often the role of a member of staff or maintenance crew and damage or undue wear can be caused when they may not fully understand the operating procedure, or even through incorrect maintenance such as applying grease to moving parts. A good service and maintenance regime, underwritten by a service agreement is key to the wall’s serviceability and the welfare of those operating them. One of the first signs of a failing wall is its inability to reduce the amount of sound being transferred from one room to another; probably key if you are in a conference hall and there is sound distracting your delegates from the room next door. This is often due to the seals that clamp the panels in place and tightly fill any gaps under and between the panel, and the head track failing. Servicing Servicing can depend on how the walls operate. They can be manual, semi- automatic or fully automatic where they are powered by a 240V control panel requiring fully trained operatives who can maintain them and be competent in managing the electrical supply and electronics embedded in the panels. As some of these panels can exceed heights of 6m and weigh 100kgs to 500kgs, training in working at height and the competence to work with specialist equipment, such as chain lifts, is important to check to address any health and safety legislation, where the facility team could become liable. Under current health and safety laws it is the responsibility of the building manager or owner of the business to ensure that these systems are properly maintained and recorded as being serviced. Like any item that is maintained it’s important that a log of the work done by whom and when is kept as part of a maintenance programme of work alongside an agreed maintenance plan, which will depend on the frequency of use and the type of wall installed. Replacement parts Where replacement components are required, they should be sourced from the original supplier to ensure that the walls will continue to operate safely and effectively. Using non-branded parts will nullify any warranty (including fire and acoustic performance) and potentially put staff and visitors at risk. It is possible to refurbish and upgrade existing operable walls by installing new panels and replacing worn or broken parts, which would further extend the life of the product as well as reduce cost and any disruption. It is even possible to relocate walls. Content of the Guide The new FIS Best Practice Guide to Servicing Operable Walls was produced by the FIS Operable Wall Working Group, made up of suppliers of operable walls and is aimed at facilities managers and owners of operable walls. It will help them understand the importance of regular servicing to: • ensure the correct operation of the walls; • ensure the ongoing safety of everyone; and • meet any guarantee and warranty requirement. The guide will help: • identify the type of wall that has been installed; • identify its fire and acoustic performance; • identify what servicing is required; and • enable users to identify competent service engineers. Chair of the FIS OperableWall Working Group, Julian Sargent, said: “The importance of this guide to ensure the ongoing performance and safety of everyone using or working around these walls is paramount. It will help to identify the competence expected of the engineers and allow facility managers and owners to meet their legal obligations.” George Swann, FIS Skills and Training Lead, added: “To meet their legal obligations the FIS Operable Wall Working Group employers have developed a National Occupational Standard from which formal qualifications for service, maintenance and repair of operable walls will be derived.” To get involved in this work, express your support or to see the details visit: www.tinyurl.com/5e2sxbuw Download the FREE Guide at: www.thefis.org/membership-hub/publications/best-practice-guides/servicing- operable-walls

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