A Striebig wall panel saw.

the factory, and the company’s track record supplying extremely robust ballistic and blast-proof doors and windows, which Stafford Bridge believes gives it the edge in a highly competitive market. Clive Seakens explained that, having originally been established in 2000, the company had ‘evolved over the years from previous set-ups’, and has been based on the Pavenham site since 2000. Until recently it produced ‘Stage 1’ of the doorsets on the premises, before transporting them a short distance to other production sites nearby in Pavenham, Stevington, and Wollaston. There, having undergone further production processes, they would have to be re-loaded onto a trailer and returned. Clive Seakens said: “In mid-2016, however, we completed a new purpose-built factory here, which has enabled us to greatly simplify our manufacturing and logistics and significantly reduce our lead times. Thus now, without the risk of part-finished doorsets getting damaged in transit, and the considerable time entailed in transporting them backwards and forwards, we can undertake all our key production processes under one roof in the new factory – and thus offer much shorter delivery times and greater responsiveness.”

Drive into the acute sector With the factory’s completion, and the conversion of one of the former farm buildings from which the company operates to a new showroom, he explained that Stafford Bridge would be undertaking a major sales drive for its new door range over the next year – targeting both existing mental healthcare sector customers, and specifiers in the acute healthcare sector. Among new door products set for launch are outward- opening and anti-barricade bedroom doors, ‘leaf and a half’ bedroom doors, two different types of en suite door (one for use where service-users/patients need continuous observation, available with a lock-back frame, and the other without this frame, but incorporating the same doortop alarm and finger safety hinge),


The company’s Venture 5 CNC machine.

plus communal/staff, double corridor, and seclusion room doors.

Clive Seakens was in fact recruited in late 2017 specifically to lead Stafford Bridge’s drive into the healthcare and education sectors with the new range of doorsets, joining the firm from St Andrew’s Healthcare, an existing Stafford Bridge customer. He expanded: “As an Architectural Technician at the mental healthcare charity, based within its Estates Department in Northampton, I was part of a team that worked closely with clinicians and service-users to design door hardware, and test the products in a purpose-designed facility. St Andrew’s clinicians not only demanded – as you would expect – that the doors be strong and robust, but also that they be easy to operate, fit-for-purpose, and, of course, anti-ligature. ‘Estates’ would also have to get sign-off from the Maintenance team on elements such as ease of fitting, maintenance, and repair, as well as good availability – knowing that such components would be prone to attack, and could thus eventually need replacing.

A range of products tested “In my role at St Andrew’s,” he continued, “I saw a range of different door products being tested within a range of ‘standard’ doorsets, and each time the door, hinges, frame, and locking mechanism – all from Stafford Bridge, were not changed, despite the products being repeatedly and vigorously attacked with a paving maul with a 150 mm diameter head and 1 metre- long pole. We would get someone such as a rugby player to swing the paving maul at the door 15 times to test it. In effect I saw Stafford Bridge doorsets shrug off repeated abuse as we inadvertently tested them during testing of products incorporated within them, such as vision panels.

“At the beginning of January this year,” he added, “I joined Stafford Bridge to head a new Healthcare and Education sector division, and all this because, having had the occasional quotation build up to frequent and regular quotations for seclusion doorsets while I was at St Andrew’s, we realised there was also an untapped need for robust doorsets for more ‘general’ mental health and acute sector applications – for example for corridors, bedrooms, offices, and meeting rooms.”

A long-standing relationship St Andrew’s Healthcare had, in fact, been using Stafford Bridge doors for seclusion rooms for some years. Clive Seakens explained: “As a rule, mental healthcare specifiers like St Andrew’s Healthcare tend to use our group product, the Surelock McGill three-point locking system, on such doors, and the doors themselves tend to be finished in Acrovyn in ‘French cream’ with exposed hardwood lipping. They used to incorporate hinge-bolts, but generally don’t now, due to the quality of both the door and the frame installation. Today’s seclusion room doors tend to have a sausage-shaped vision panel, glazed with polycarbonate, held in place with an external bead that is easily removable to facilitate replacement of the polycarbonate. While these elements might typify a seclusion room door, they may also, for example, incorporate a different locking system, and a more ‘traditional’ openable and closeable vision panel made of 10 and 19 mm fire-rated laminated glass, and have a completely different finish, such as a veneer or picture.

Retrofitting project

“Such is our expertise,” he added, “that we can effectively supply whatever specification and range of door fittings the

Today’s seclusion room doors tend to have a sausage-shaped vision panel, glazed with polycarbonate, held in place with an external bead that is easily removable to facilitate replacement of the polycarbonate


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