It’s Fire Door Safety Week this week – and social housing, commercial and public sector building landlords are being reminded of their legal obligations and of new tighter regulations which came into force this year in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.
The awareness week, run by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) and supported by the Fire Door Alliance, aims to highlight the critical role played by fire doors in saving lives by preventing or inhibiting the spread of smoke, flames and toxic gases.
Obsequio group CEO Simon Abley says: “Fire doors are designed both to contain a fire within the space in which it broke out to allow time for the emergency services to arrive and to enable the building’s occupants access to safe escape routes.
“Between them, our companies CDS, APS, Drax 360 and Drax Technology offer full fire risk assessments, design, installation and maintenance and a range of innovative technologies which can help the responsible persons keep track of their physical fire safety assets, locate the precise source of a fire outbreak and check for false alarms.
“We can help landlords remain compliant and keep their staff, customers, visitors and buildings safe. We provide a one stop shop solution to manage the hassle and complexity of ensuring compliance.”
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, which came into force in January, make it obligatory for the ‘responsible person’ in all multi-occupied residential buildings in England which are more than 11 metres high to carry out quarterly checks of all fire doors in communal areas and annual checks of all flat entrance doors which lead onto a building’s common areas.
The ruling includes a requirement that occupants should be informed of the importance of fire doors to the safety of their building, to enable them to report any damage or incorrect use.
The FDSW website offers a range of tools aimed at facilities managers and members of the public showing five key elements to look for when checking whether a fire door is compliant.
These include checking for damage to glazing, air grilles or door closers and ensuring seals and hinges are correctly fitted.
Worryingly, research carried out in 2022 by the BWF found that more than 30% of those asked believed that a fire door propped open with a wedge or a fire extinguisher was safe and that 15% believed that keeping a fire door closed stops it performing.
It also found that a third of the British public would not report a problem with a fire door and that almost half wouldn’t take action over a propped open fire door as they wouldn’t know who to report it to.