Assa Abloy, makers of the world famous Yale lock, among other door security items, is urging landlords and building managers to take a more proactive role towards fire door inspections, in support of the draft Building Safety Bill.
Dame Judith Hackitt’s 2018 Independent Review of Building Regulations & Fire Safety, which led to the draft Building Safety Bill, recommends placing more responsibility onto persons tasked with monitoring a building’s safety.
Hackitt chairs the industry safety steering group, set-up to review building safety following recent incidents, in particular the Grenfell Tower fire. She says that the UK government is working on changes to the draft Bill before it is brought before parliament early next year.
The new Bill introduces the concept of an “Accountable Person” and a Building Safety Manager (BSM) for each residential building, with the intention of eradicating any confusion when it comes to responsibility, and ensuring direct liability for a building and its assets.
One of the roles of the BSM and “Accountable Person” will be to ensure maintenance and repairs are always up to date and up to standard.
Fire doors are one of the key safety features in any building, so regular inspections are essential to ensure health and safety measures are met in both residential and commercial properties, particularly high rise blocks.
The British Woodworking Federation recommends a 5 point check for fire door safety:
- Certification – check that the door is of certified manufacture which gives the correct amount of fire protection time, usually a half-hour – look for a label or plug on top (or occasionally on the side) of the door.
- Gaps – Check the gaps around the top and sides of the door are consistently less than 4mm when the door is closed. The gap under the door can be slightly larger (up to 8mm), but it does depend on the situation, floor covering and the door. Ideally, you should not see any light under the door.
- Fire Seals – make sure the intumescent seals around the door or frame are in place and intact with no signs of wear or damage, correctly positioned to expand and seal against the frame in case of fire.
- Hinges and handles – check all hinges are fixed properly; there should be at least three on a heavy fire door, with no missing or broken screws. The handles should be secure and working correctly without undue force required.
- Closing – make sure the door closes firmly onto the latch without sticking on the floor or the frame, make sure the door closer is secure and working effectively and that the door can be opened easily in an emergency.
For those who would like the security of knowing that their fire doors have been checked and signed off by independent experts, Brian Sofley, Managing Director for Assa Abloy Door Group, says the company offers a complete building door inspection service:
“Here at Door Group, we can offer detailed reports following our inspections, containing advice and recommendations on necessary improvements. Identifying and acting on potential issues that could impact safety and product performance can be lifesaving.
“If any issues do occur, a tailored repair proposal is issued to include anything from replacement doors to a regular maintenance program. Door Group inspectors are BRE-certified and ensure that all fire doors inspected meet all necessary standards and regulations.”
In response to the ongoing challenges and needs in the industry, Assa Abloy has also continued with substantial testing and standardising of its door closers.
As a result, its door closers have demonstrated that use on metal fire doors is not restricted by the side of the door to which it is required to be installed and remains fully compliant with EN1634 on any uninsulated metal fire door.
With no caveats attached to the series, this takes away a huge risk of error in the design, manufacture and installation process. Furthermore, stringent testing has proved the EN1634 range dependable for up to 240 minutes of integrity.
ASSA ABLOY was formed in 1994 through the merger of ASSA in Sweden and Abloy in Finland. Since then ASSA ABLOY has grown from a regional company into an international group with around 47,500 employees and annual sales close to SEK 76.1 billion.