With Fire Door Safety Week in full swing (September 26 – October 2), Scott Copeland, category manager at IronmongeryDirect, advises trade professionals on how to ensure rented and social housing properties are up to scratch.
When it comes to the installation and maintenance of fire doors in social and rented houses, there are numerous regulations that need to be met. Failure to comply with these fire safety rules not only puts lives at risk, but can lead to prosecution and fines for those responsible for the maintenance of the fire door. Research by FDIS found that in 2015, 58% of prosecutions for fire safety breaches were issued against landlords and managers of Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO), with the majority of these resulting in custodial and suspended sentences.
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, housing landlords and building owners have a legal responsibility to ensure all fire doors comply with current legislation, and should seek expert guidance from a trade professional.
Fire doors are there to prevent the spread of fire and smoke, so it’s important to check that there are no gaps around the door big enough to let either through. In order to seal any gaps around the perimeter of the fire door, intumescent seals are used as they can expand up to ten times their original size during a fire, with brushes or fins to stop any smoke from escaping. It's vital that the appropriate seals are used depending on the gap between the door and its recess, and that they are free from damage or breakage. The glazing beads should also be well attached and intact.
Another important feature to consider when maintaining a fire door is its door closer. Automatic closing devices, with a minimum power size three, should be fitted to all fire doors and must be capable of closing the door from any angle of opening.
This can be tested by opening the door to five degrees and making sure it closes and engages with the latch. One particular door closer that is ideal for use in social and rented housing, such as HMOs or apartment blocks, is the Arrone AR3500 Door Closer.
With a 120-minute fire rating, it has been designed for living accommodation and offers a low opening force, which is particularly ideal for elderly, disabled or young people.
All fire doors must have a minimum of three hinges that allow the door closer to shut the door, overcoming the resistance of a latch or seal when fitted.
They should be CE marked and must be free of any damage. Hinges such as the Twin Ball Bearing Fire Door Hinge are ideal as they adhere to all of the legal standards for a high quality fire door hinge, and also come in packs of three (meeting the minimum number of hinges required).
This hinge is CE marked, certified to BS EN Grade 13 with a 60-minute fire rating, and is manufactured from Grade 201 stainless steel.
All fire door components, including intumescent seals, hinges, locks, latches and door closers, should be marked with the CE stamp to certify they meet the required standards and are suitable for use on a fire door. If a hardware component is in breach of regulations, it must be replaced immediately as there is no evidence to certify that it is compliant and legal.
Fire doors are a vital part of a property’s fire safety and ultimately can save lives, therefore it is crucial they are maintained and checked properly to ensure the safety of all residents and tenants. As landlords have a legal duty to keep their tenants safe and adhere to fire door regulations, it is important that tradespeople can offer advice on how to spot a faulty fire door and remain within the law.
For more information, please visit www.IronmongeryDirect.co.uk
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