Badge of honour

You may see it on a business card. You may see it on an architectural ironmongery schedule, a letter or email. RegAI. Rarely does a denomination so short encapsulate so much knowledge and hard work. For Registered Architectural Ironmongers are among the most studious of people and perhaps the least appreciated jewels within the industry – the architect’s true friend in times of need.

Mario Del-Signore, chairman of the Institute of Architectural Ironmongers, explains what it means to be Reg AI: “RegAI status is the benchmark standard for architectural ironmongers, and is at the heart of everything the Guild and Institute stand for – the highest possible standards of education and professionalism,” he says.

From the point of view of an architectural ironmonger, the story begins with the GAI Diploma, itself a demanding but essential qualification for anyone wishing to make their career in architectural ironmongery.

The Diploma is the highest formal qualification in the GAI’s world-renowned education programme. It builds on an individual’s product knowledge and enables them to write accurate hardware specifications and quotations.

But to get RegAI accreditation is another big step further. Of the 2,500 or more diploma holders, a few hundred have achieved RegAI status, proving their commitment, expertise and professionalism through a programme of CPD. Ten CPD points must be achieved every year, and it’s strictly audited.

“Every RegAI is a qualified GAI Diploma holder and has been able to prove they are fully up-to-date with industry standards, regulations and legislation,” says Mario.

That may sound easy to some. But the reality is architectural ironmongery is subject to more than 58 British and European standards, and the hardware on a door or window such as its locks, handles, hinges and closers, is critical to the success of a building’s security, fire safety and accessibility.

Keeping knowledge up-to-date requires constant learning and vigilance.

“It’s safety critical; fire critical,” says Andy Matthews, head of sales for UK and Ireland for HOPPE UK and one of the company’s five RegAIs.

“It took a lot of work to achieve the Diploma and from my perspective I just can’t risk devaluing that investment and the huge amount of knowledge I gained over many years of study. It’s essential for the business that I keep that knowledge current and relevant. It’s part of HOPPE’s commitment to training and education, and it’s also a matter of personal pride to me now,” he adds.

Like some other RegAIs, Andy is not himself an architectural ironmonger but works closely alongside them, and his knowledge is used to improve schedules and to add value to HOPPE’s services to the industry.

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