"Truecreators of interiors" describes the Harmeling brand. The company from Rijssen in the Netherlands reflects the individual identity and personal requirements of its customers to a special degree, creates unique interior concepts and builds them with passion and perfectionism, down to the smallest detail. Stricter fire protection regulations apply to offices, hotels, shops and schools. We spoke with Innovation & Process Manager Mitchell Rodhouse about the challenges this poses in terms of material selection and production.
Interview with Harmeling - topic RAUKANTEX fire.protect
Mr Rodhouse, the Harmeling brand has made a name for itself nationally and internationally for individual interior design combined with high-quality craftsmanship. What makes Harmeling so attractive to its customers?
If you give us a space, we will make it successful. That may be an office that brings out the best in your employees. A store where customers like to stay an extra 15 minutes to make that purchase. Or a luxurious and comfortable home that used to be just a house to live in.
For years, both local parties and (inter)national A-brands have relied on this promise for success. They choose us because we go further where others stop. We do so with more than 130 colleagues. Because of our down-to-earth and personal way of communicating our customers might feel they do business with a small scale company. This personal approach combined with our clout is why customers choose Harmeling.
You guarantee your customers success stories and craftsmanship at the highest level - what is behind this promise of quality?
That quality is reflected in the fine workmanship, solid construction and the high-quality use of materials - you can smell the scent of real wood when you enter our building. We deliver true craftsmanship, from the hands of driven specialists such as designers, technical draughtsmen, planners and carpenters. We are as good as the fitter who tightens the last screw.
Innovation & Process Manager of Harmeling
What role does fire protection play in your concepts? How do you integrate the requirements into your processes?
Most importantly, right at the beginning of a project, we identify the necessities for the location it applies. In close consultation with the client, we identify the requirements and discuss the various options to meet the necessities. Obviously, some materials will be less suitable to apply because these simply do not meet the appropriate fire ratings. If so - we try – to identify alternative options which are more suitable. At the start of a project a full summary of intended materials to be used will be submitted to the client/fire officer/landlord. This summary is accompanied with the complete certificate brochure. This way the client/fire officer/landlord is able to check the materials we will use and give a preliminary approval.
Some manufacturers choose to use thin edges to get around fire safety requirements. Why was this not an alternative for you?
Even a thin layer of ABS, when ignited, creates toxic pollutants in the air. We want to take responsibility and ensure a safe environment for people. Not to simply meet client/fire officer/landlord requirements, but to ensure the safety of people. I think this reflects the distinctiveness of Harmeling; we just go a little further where others stop.
REHAU manufactures edgebands for passive fire protection precisely for these special requirements. Which classifications are standard for you?
We do not have a real standard, or so-called minimum classification. We act on the demand of our clients. Currently, RAUKANTEX FP meets B-s2, d0 (EN-13501-1). Here we also try to encourage further development. Obviously, we try to get the maximum classifications possible for each material. Higher classifications widens the range of possible area’s and applications we may use the products.
Where do you already use the RAUKANTEX FP version, i.e. an edge with self-extinguishing properties from the fire.protect family?
Harmeling is the first interior builder within the BENELUX to test and apply RAUKANTEX FP. We use RAUKANTEX FP for one of our retail customers which is prominent at multiple airports, shopping centers and street locations throughout Germany (and beyond).
What are the advantages of using RAUKANTEX FP?
With us, it doesn't stop with saying we are compliant. We also want to be able to demonstrate that what we say is completely true. In my opinion, our customers greatly appreciate our transparency on this. This offers us many opportunities in those areas where fire safety is an important component. The knowledge we have accumulated about fire standards is a great advantage while giving advice to our customers.