Written by: Clive Stephen Dip GAI
Here at 3v, I have had the pleasure of assisting Ed Moss, Robert Taylor and Steve Hardy with their studies, right through from level 1 to level 3, and have seen them grow as individuals as they achieved each stage of the three-year course.
All three of them are now proud to become Dip GAI's. They all worked and studied hard to achieve this prestigious qualification and are now to embark on their first Reg AI year in 2018.
The Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) education programme has developed massively since it was first introduced half a century ago. It has now become an industry accepted qualification that is respected by Architects, Contractors and industry professionals alike to indicate that an individual has persevered and succeeded through three levels of study.
The courses are split into three years, with levels 1 & 2 being primarily aimed at product knowledge, whilst level 3 deals with scheduling and master keying, to reflect what our industry faces in the real world. At the end of each academic year individuals are required to take an exam and may only move onto the next stage after successfully passing the relevant exam. On achieving levels 1 & 2 individuals are awarded a "Certificate in Architectural Hardware" as recognition of their endeavours.
On passing level 3 individuals become qualified architectural ironmongers and may use the initials Dip GAI after their name to reflect this achievement. Diploma holders are then entitled to enrol and become a Registered Architectural Ironmonger (Reg AI,) by involving themselves in a series of continued professional development meetings (CPD's) and background activities, and achieve 10 points in a calendar year that is recorded in an electronic logbook. Once a full year is completed a diploma holder is then entitled to use the initials Dip GAI Reg AI after their name. To continue as a Reg AI the CPD learning needs to be continued every year to maintain the Reg AI status.
The three year GAI course has helped them understand more fully the industry they work in and has helped them learn about a wide range of products, many of which they would not normally come across on a daily basis at 3v.
During level 1 and 2 the core subjects studied included, BS EN product standards, door closers, locks & latches, handing of hardware, bolts & door seals, door construction, materials & finishes, inclusive design, window fittings, fire door hardware and company law & finance. There were even modules on appreciating Architects’ drawings to allow them to understand more fully how to interpret the drawings they are working with day to day. In addition to the GAI syllabus, we were also able to direct some attention to product specific hardware that 3v uses and to see how it compares to other items on the market.
The level 3 syllabus commenced in October 2016 and consisted of modules and coursework that had to be completed to strict timetables. For the exam, in June of this year, the candidates were given the task of scheduling the hardware, access control & door automation and the all-important master key schedule for an example family respite centre. It was a challenging project that needed both imagination and expertise to come up with the right solutions and Ed, Robert and Steve are to be congratulated in passing the exam.
I was privileged to be given the opportunity of working with the GAI students from 3v over the last few years and I have most certainly enjoyed the process. I hope very much that in due course there will be others that feel they also want to become qualified architectural ironmongers.
The future of our industry is in the hands of the young people coming through, they need to be well qualified and equipped for an ever more competitive world. We must never lose sight of our aim to always add value to what we do, so that the architectural ironmonger as we know it today, continues well into the future.