How Proptech can help you with Fire door Compliance

With property managers becoming increasingly reliant on Proptech, I wanted to turn your attention to The Fire Safety Act 2021 regulation of fire door safety, and to consider Proptech playing a crucial part in helping to save lives. Reflecting on the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower as one example, could such instances be managed differently if automated software was introduced to help lower the risks and control the spread of fire?

Firedoor

The Fire Safety Order in 2005 states that property owners are required by law to fit all premises (other than private homes) with fire doors. The Phase 1 report of the Grenfell Tower stated, “Fire doors play an essential role in preventing or inhibiting the spread of smoke and toxic gases and in preserving the effective compartmentation of buildings.”

We depend on fire doors for safety in properties by ensuring escape routes are protected for people to evacuate a building safely from smoke fumes and toxic gases and offering more time for firefighters to extinguish the fire, so it is important that these are carefully maintained. The inquiry noted that the fire doors in Grenfell Tower were not, and therefore recommended that every owner and manager of a residential building containing separate dwellings carry out an urgent inspection of all fire doors to ensure compliance with current legislative standards, with a minimum of every three months check, ensuring all fire doors are fitted with an effective self-closure device which is in working order.

In 2014 the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) published findings which revealed 76% of fire doors failed their tests and were unfit for purpose, with an average of four faults identified per door inspected. These included faulty smoke seals, missing signage, and unsuitable hinges. 30% 0f doors were poorly installed, with excessive gaps around the doors, poorly adjusted closures, and issues with smoke sealing. 57% of doors needed small-scale maintenance, as they were not up to standards. 16% of doors inspected were not fire doors at all, so were unsafe for use.

• Undertake quarterly checks of all fire doors (including self-closure devices) in the common parts. • Undertake – on a best endeavour basis – annual checks of all flat entrance doors (including self-closing devices) that lead onto a building’s common parts.

The fitting of doors in a commercial building requirement are:

• An employer or a self-employed person with business premises. • A charity or voluntary organisation. • A contractor with a degree of control over any premises. • A person providing accommodation for paying guests.

Prior to the Fire Safety Act 2021, flat entrance doors may not have been considered in the routine fire risk assessment process in multi-occupied residential buildings. Now, as part of The Fire Order, the minimum requirement is for a responsible person to undertake an inspection of the doors such as:
• Any alterations or damage to the doors glazing or air transfer grille.
• Any gaps around the door frame and check that seals and hinges are fitted correctly.
• The door’s self-closure fully closes the door unaided.
• The door closes correctly around the whole frame.
• There is no visible damage – deliberate or wear and tear to the door closure.

How can Proptech help save lives?

Proptech can play a vital part in fire safety checks – providing you opt for the most suitable software to manage this correctly. The plentiful Proptech software options out there may be overwhelming, but be sure to research properly, and look out specifically for expert software that offers automated scheduling and reminders. Not only can the more superior software be relied on for smoke alarm maintenance with regular testing and expiry date checks, but it can also schedule reminders and dates for fire door safety compliance with set checklists for consistency and ease, ensuring you are always fully covered, so therefore a small price to pay for such an invaluable outcome.

The Building Safety Act 2022 have set out further requirements regarding fire doors and how fire safety should be managed across different premises across England and Wales. With the stringent Act effective from October 2022 and April 2023, it is more vital than ever to remain compliant.

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