Passive Protection for Priceless Savings


Describing the genesis of their foray into fire protection, Mr Driver recalls, “We had nothing to do, so we looked for an opportunity. We then purchased the roller shutter service division from Wormald. Because I had past experience with fire doors, we went into the fire door business.” He continues, “we then sourced doors from a couple of manufacturers along with the frames.”

Mr Driver has been with the company throughout its twenty-four year history while Mr Pinchers, who cut his teeth as a builder, has been with the company for the last nine years.

As the company solidified its foundation, the two pursued an expansion into other fire protection products, such as fire penetrations, fire rated mortar, fire pillows, fire collars, acoustic doors with a rating up to RW 47 including Acoustic Fire doors, and even fire rated glass that can withstand temperatures of up to 120 Celsius. The company now manufactures, services, installs and inspects all of these products along with its original focus on fire doors and frames.

Passive fire protection systems create barriers along a fire’s path. These barriers are strategically placed between an area where a fire can start and a combustible, such as the wooden frame of a house protected by sheetrock or drywall. The barrier in this example is a non-combustible sheet of chalk that will crumble in extreme heat and slow the progress of a potential fire.

Such passive fire protection systems are also employed to prevent fire from spreading to other nearby houses or buildings. These systems can be developed for walls, floors, doors and windows. A steel insulated window frame can prevent the spread of a fire simply by depriving the fire of a combustible material on which to scale and spread.

While a fire that is hot enough will melt and burn just about anything, the purpose of passive fire protection is to draw out the time it takes for the fire to reach such a point where it becomes uncontrollable. These types of systems buy precious time for firefighters in their attempt to locate and put out any potential fire.

Where active fire protection systems – such as sprinklers, fire extinguishers, and pressurisation systems – are designed to react to and put out a fire once it’s detected, passive fire protection plays an integral part in slowing a fire’s progress when active systems just aren’t enough.

Fire doors, for example, are made to withstand incredible amounts of heat and contain a fire within a given space. When placed strategically, they allow for a building to be partitioned into a number of fire cells that restrict the spread of fire. Just as a ship’s containment doors are sealed to prevent the hull of a ship from being entirely flooded in the event a hole develops beneath the waterline, fire doors contain fire within a cell until it either has time to burn itself out or be extinguished. A concrete room with top-of-the-line fire doors can function as an ideal fire cell, not only restricting the fire’s movement, but also limiting its access to oxygen. Without ventilation, the fire extinguishes itself by choking on its own smoke before it can become a life-threatening problem. Containing the spread of fire can also give any people in the rest of the building time to escape.

Firemex has developed installations for some unconventional spaces. Listing Firemex’s extensive array of products and services, Mr Driver adds, “We also service and manufacture industrial roller shutters for the commercial industry.” The company has constructed fire protection systems for airports and train tunnels that would allow for a very large opening to become a sealed off firewall at any moment.

Manufacturing such colossal safety features and ensuring their proper functioning takes not only a lot of experience, but also great facilities. Firemex manufactures, supplies and ships all of its fire protection products from its headquarters in Salisbury, Queensland.

Mr Driver explains that the company’s products are manufactured from careful design. They are engineered and tested at the highest standards of safety to ensure that they will perform as expected. Fire doors alone consist of an intricate system of interconnected components that allow the doors to stop a fire in its tracks. The frame, seal, latch, hydraulics, windows, hinges, and insulation are all integral to preventing the spread of fire.

Servicing equipment is also an integral part of Firemex’s business. Laws across Australia require that fire equipment must be kept to code, including all passive fire protection systems. Every component of the fire prevention system must be kept in good working order. A fire door, for instance, cannot be worn, it must not have gaps that allow air to flow freely from room to room and it must be able to close properly.

Firemex is not the kind of company to exploit fear and regulations for the sake of profit, however. Mr Driver contends, “the problem is that a good deal of the other companies out there will try and take advantage of the government regulations by installing too much, or charging too much. Since the construction market has slowed down, business on our end has slowed as well.” Instead of over-selling, the company focuses on customer service and accommodation. “Right now we are trying to service all of our clients as best as we can by being there as soon as they need us with whatever they need, within the clients expenditure range,” Mr Driver explains.

The two directors are not the only experienced hands at Firemex; indeed, part of the company’s popularity stems from the strong experience of its personnel. Within the company there are three estimators who have a combined experience of over 100 years working in the building industry. The roller shutter division has people with over nineteen years of experience, ensuring products are made and installed correctly. “All of our door hangers are carpenters, some have been with us since the start,” says Mr Driver. “We have a lot of years of experience in the company.”

There are only a few manufacturers that can compete with Firemex in Queensland, and in the time that the company has been in business it has become a market leader. Firemex is well established and well recognised and will always strive to keep a great reputation within its field. The company still has customers that have been loyal patrons since its inception, who trust the Firemex brand more than any other.

In a line of work where the safety of others relies directly on the products that a company supplies, experience is an absolute must. While the choice of something as simple as a door may seem inconsequential to some, Firemex’s line of products and services can turn a simple door into a life saving device. With nearly a quarter century of experience, Firemex demonstrates that there is no substitute for real professionals when it comes to safety.

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 16, 2018, 6:42 AM AEDT