Minister for the Fire and Rescue Services Brandon Lewis today opened a new centre of excellence in fire safety following an investment by leading testing and consulting specialists Exova Warringtonfire.
The company - part of the global testing group Exova - has added more than 4,000 sq metres to its showcase facility in Warrington, Cheshire, providing customers with both increased capacity and expanded testing services.
Brandon Lewis, MP, said: “It is encouraging to see a global business such as Exova committing investment to the highly skilled services for which the UK is known and which increasingly put us at the forefront of advancing fire safety worldwide.
“The confidence that Exova has shown in our economic prospects is to be welcomed and underlines that we are continuing on a road to growth.”
The extended Warrington facility will house a significant increase to application preparation areas focusing on concrete and steel coatings. This will give the site increased capacity, improved customer confidentiality and improve the scope of testing available.
Other new services include controlled access for customers, booths fitted with gas detectors/explosimeters with active and research testing for residential and domestic watermist systems.
Test regimes at the centre – which employs more than 100 of the 225 highly-trained staff in the Exova fire safety division globally – also now includes testing for industrial and commercial watermist systems for the protection of low hazard occupancies.
The increased capability will enable 1300-plus customers in the UK and beyond to reach their markets faster than ever before with compliance for their products to all relevant standards.
The facilities also offer a new level in Health and Safety standards and provide total customer confidentiality in fire resistance and reaction to fire services.
Ian El-Mokadem, chief executive officer for Exova, said: “Our commitment is to help our customers gain faster, more efficient market entry wherever they are in the world.
“In Warrington, we have some of the very best talent in fire testing and this investment will ensure they can better support customers with advice and testing solutions to meet the most rigorous of regulatory or voluntary requirements.”
The Warrington investment is just part of Exova’s ambitious growth plans and one of more than 250 that the group has made worldwide in the past year, including a $1.6m state-of-the-art fire testing furnace in its Melbourne laboratory and one of the largest façade fire testing frames operated by the team in Dubai.