IFSJ Exclusive: The Last Word with TBA Firefly

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Dr Karthick Govarthanam, General Manager at Firefly – TBA Protective Technologies Ltd, talks fire testing, transparency and the Fire Safety Event

What is your role at TBA Firefly? 

I am General Manager of the business, having previously lead technical and product development functions in other parts of our group, also specialising in thermal resistant technical textiles. Product development, testing, compliance and certifications is absolutely central to the FIREFLY proposition and I remain very focused on this area of the business, being the technical lead as well as the General Manager. 

Does TBA Firefly have any new products of note?

A key recent product and one we continue to develop, is fire-rated access panels. It is a good example of closing the circle to provide customer-lead solutions. While we can have the best barriers, full testing and certification and trained installers, our FR120 Access Panels have delivered that final link – almost the element that is the interface between a passive fire barrier installation and the realities of people and trades continuing to work in this environment.

What is TBA Firefly working on at the moment?

We’ve been working with damper suppliers to provide tested solutions and in particular we have been doing a huge amount of work with the NHS, working collaboratively to provide specific solutions for clients to do large fire protection upgrades with minimal disruption – which would clearly cause a problems in many healthcare settings – as well as developing some really innovative new applications for our flexible barriers in quite specific uses within the NHS estate.

These things do require a lot of development work and then of course all the fire testing – but solving ongoing challenges for very  large customers also brings its own reward. It is good to see our expertise in development, manufacture and on-site restrictions all being put to good use.

What is TBA Firefly showcasing at the Fire Safety Event? 

We always look to show both new product and new solutions at the show and this year we will be very pleased to be offering something brand new and not readily available on the market – a Fire Door system that has been tested as a system alongside our flexible fire barriers to maintain the level of protection while also offering full scale access. This is something we are confident is going to be embraced for use in large commercial roof voids with a multitude of services and repeated access required.

Do you have any words of wisdom to share with IFSJ readers?

All clients and specifiers should be relentless in demanding clarity and transparency in all areas – testing, certification, detail drawings and technical advice on site. Reputable manufacturers have a wealth of expertise to lean on, so please make use of it. Installation remains a critical piece of the jigsaw and we have trained over 1,000 installers in fitting our barriers, but the same rules apply – check they are trained in the particular product, check they are 3rd party certified and maybe which trade bodies they belong to. So for fire protection generally, be demanding, check credentials, expect evidence and don’t be hesitant to ask for it if required.

This article was originally published in the April edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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