When we first started developing SoftSlam, we thought there were two kinds of doors:
1. Home doors
2. All the other
We believed that the first category would be the bulk of our customer base. It's a huge customer base. SoftSlams aren't for everyone but they are for enough home owners that it was worth going through the pain for. Our goal was to protect the fingers of children everywhere. Safety starts in the home.
When we started marketing SoftSlam, we quickly realized that there were two kinds of doors:
1. Those with door closers
2. All the others
We had so many requests for SoftSlam in businesses and commercial buildings that we realized our first assumption was incorrect. We thought only of the safety aspect of SoftSlam and not the quieting of the doors in particular and buildings in general. We assumed that if a door was fitted with a door closer, there would be no need for SoftSlam, so our customer base was increased to the second set of doors - all the others. As it turns out, many doors with closers on them close with a loud bang. Some owners tell us that they don't need SoftSlam because they have door closers. With further discussions, they mention that their doors with door closers are quite loud. Our current list of installations include 100% on doors with door closers.
We have re-evaluated our second assumption. There seem to be two kinds of doors in the world:
1. Fire Doors
2. All the others
Both of these categories apply to us.
Fire doors pose a special problem. They have to be tested per the building code and all of the hardware must also be tested while installed in the door. As mentioned in a previous blog, this means that SoftSlam has to go to a testing laboratory to be burned. Navigating the fire test requirements for SoftSlam has been a huge learning opportunity. We are finally on top of it.
Once we got a handle on how it works, it made perfect sense. There are a minimum of 4 players in every fire test.
1. The door manufacturer. This player has special IP that makes their door unique. This IP must be protected.
2. The hardware manufacturer. This covers all latches, peep holes, SoftSlams, hinges, and door closers. This could involve one manufacturer or five. In each case, the player has special IP that makes their hardware unique. This IP must be protected.
3. The testing laboratory. This is the place that is certified to carry out the test per the specifications in the fire code or the building code or whatever code the above mentioned people are working toward being certified for.
4. The validator. This is the person who is authorized to read and interpret the results of the test and determine if the door and all hardware have passed the test.
To the best of my knowledge, there is only one validator and one testing laboratory in all of New Zealand.
Now, for any of you that have ever attempted to schedule a meeting, you will under stand this. All of the above people must have their duck in a row, the non-disclosures signed and agree to the appropriate date for the test. Not an easy task. We are getting there.
We have a special thanks to the mentors that have led us down this path and helped us understand what the next step is and what needs to be done. I am going to list them here by first name only. They know who they are and if they want their last names and contact details known, they can add them in the comments:
and a special thanks to Richard. We don't know who Richard is but whenever we start talking about the fire testing, the name Richard sticks in my mind. He may be my imaginary friend or a forgotten link in the chain. I don't know.