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Without doubt the single most influential event regarding the building of fire safety in to new and refurbished buildings has been the Grenfell Tower Fire. The effects of that tragedy will be felt for many years and the construction industry will feel them more than most.
Since that event there has been much greater focus on the importance of fire resisting doors and escape doors in both new and existing buildings. Building operators have a legal responsibility to maintain fire doors and escape doors in efficient working order and good repair.
At Fire Doors Complete Ltd, we specialise in helping our clients meet the requirements of the applicable legal requirements, regulations and standards. We can do that for existing buildings, new buildings and for refurbishment works. There are three key areas where we can help:
Here’s what we can do for you:
Fire door inspections
Fire doors should be inspected periodically for compliance in existing buildings and it advisable to inspect new fire doors during and post installation works. We provide this services across many sectors including healthcare, housing, education and commercial & industrial properties.
With regard to existing doors at healthcare buildings it is important to identify the fire doors that are key to the safety of the people that use the buildings, we can help you identify the most critical fire doors and set-up an inspection and maintenance program to meet your legal obligations and help to keep the fire doors in efficient working order and good repair. Our inspection reports are easy to understand and will clearly identify which doors are compliant and which are not. We will not bombard you with unnecessary jargon but where doors are found to be non-compliant our reports will be clear about describing the necessary work required in order to make them compliant.
The period of time between inspections should reflect the importance of the particular doors in terms of how critical they are to safety of the people at the building and the type of wear and tear they are subject to. By helping you to plan inspection intervals and by providing clear and concise inspection reports we can help you target resources to where they are needed and help you to avoid unnecessary expense.
Where healthcare providers engage contractors to carry out refurbishments and to install new doors we can help to ensure the works are carried out correctly so that the doors meet compliance requirements and that the contractor delivers in accordance with the specification. Very often, new fire doors are not installed correctly and the building owner or operator is left with unsatisfactory fire doors and has to meet the cost of the necessary remedial works.
Our fire door inspection services will help you to stay legal, to stay safe and avoid unnecessary expense.
What is a competent fire door inspector?
The ‘Fire Safety Order’ became law in England & Wales in 2006 and the fire & rescue authority ceased to provide fire certificates. Any certificate previously issued under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 is no longer valid. This means building owners, occupiers and managers carry legal responsibility for fire safety at their buildings. Once the completed building is handed over the person or entity that controls the building must by law take reasonable precautions to ensure people are adequately protected, in a fire.
So where fire doors have been incorrectly installed at construction stage it’s the building owner, occupier or manager that’s liable for prosecution where issues come to light. This may be due to a fire at the building or because of a visit from the local fire authorities. Any search of media stories covering prosecutions under fire safety law will reveal that such breaches are severely punished and more common than you might think. Especially where there’s sleeping accommodation such as in the housing, healthcare and leisure sectors.
Certificated Fire Door Inspectors (CertFDI) services are in demand to help building owners, occupiers and managers to improve standards. Their inspection reports carefully and comprehensively detail any installation faults, non-compliances and maintenance issues. CertFDI Inspectors findings are that the most common faults with fire doors stem from poor quality installation. These faults are often as basic as doors failing to self-close or having ineffective cold-smoke seals. So the CertFDI Inspector is the competent person under fire safety law that has brought these important issues to light.
Why do the Certificated Fire Door Inspectors findings matter?
Inspectors’ reports show that often installation faults are so basic that fire doors fail to self-close correctly and that the smoke seals, although installed in the door frame or door leaf, would fail to correctly restrict spread of cold smoke.
Where such faults exist the building would be unsafe in a fire and a threat to life would exist. Thick black smoke would spread and have a huge effect on safety of people trying to escape. If the fire door fails to self-close its not just the smoke that may spread and cause death or injury, the fire itself would be allowed to spread and render the escape route unusable. Where stay-put or staged evacuation strategies exist people seeking safety would be placed at risk because the spread of thick smoke is allowed to reach so called places of refuge.
A recent inspection of newly installed fire doors at a high rise block of flats revealed that the contractor performed so badly that they had to be brought back for a large program of remedial works. The fire door inspectors report revealed that:
- Door and frames misaligned.
- Door to frame gaps too large.
- Doors failed to self-close because closing-devices installed incorrectly.
- Door leaves unsuitable to meet the severity of use in common areas.
- Glazing not securely held in place.
- No fire stopping to large gaps behind door frames.
Here problems stemmed from a combination of incorrect specification, incorrect product selection and poor installation. The same issues as highlighted by the Hackitt Review.
Fire door consultancy
Of course, the best way to achieve compliance is to ensure the fire doors are specified and installed correctly from day one.
Our consultancy service provides you with an efficient way to help ensure that the doors will meet the requirements of the building users and be compliant with the necessary standards and regulations. Not only that but because we have complete understanding and experience of the many different types of door construction available, we can help to ensure the doors will be durable enough to meet the demands of the building users. Too often, the specification is not sufficiently detailed and unsuitable fire doors are supplied and installed. Again, the end result is often that the building owner or operator is left with unsatisfactory fire doors and has to meet the cost of the necessary remedial works.
We know our fire door products and our consultancy services will help to ensure new or replacement fire doors are suitable for the type of use to which they will be put.
Fire door training
During the course of their life fire doors will require routine maintenance and repairs. We provide training for maintenance operatives so that they can understand the standards and requirements for the doors at your building to meet compliance requirements. We specialise in fire door installation and fire door maintenance training and at our training centre in Queniborough near Leicester we can accommodate the needs of your personnel so that they are able to install fire doors and maintain them to prolong the service life of the doors.
How can improvements be delivered?
Many building owners now engage Inspectors to undertake post-works inspections so that contractors may be held accountable and brought back to rectify non-compliances. Building owners are consulting Inspectors to assist with specifications so that compliant installation can be better achieved.
Installation and maintenance contractors are seeking dedicated training so that they better understand the particular requirements necessary for fire doors over normal doors.
In providing inspection, training and consultancy services that improve standards of specifications, installation and maintenance of fire doors we can help to make buildings safer. That matters now and it will matter again in future.
Contact us today to discuss your requirements and find out how we can help.
Of paramount importance to us as a company is that our clients are always satisfied with the service we provide. We always work hard to do our best for our clients and help them to avoid the pitfalls of non-compliance with legal requirements, regulations and standards.
We are able to do that every time for every client because we have many, many years of experience and because we possess the necessary qualifications.
All inspectors will have not only passed the FDIS certificated inspector assessment but also hold additional fire door inspector qualifications. As a company we are certificated to a UKAS accredited third party certification scheme for fire door inspections and with regard to our training services we are assured by NOCN to deliver SiteRight fire door installation training.
Whatever your needs regarding timber-based or composite construction fire doors and escape doors, we are here to help.
Glen Hodgson discusses some of the recent Scan4Safety findings as well as why point-of-care scanning will improve patient safety for years to come