OPENING THE DOOR TO COLLABORATIVE FIRE SAFETY COMPLIANCE

  02 November, 2022      Company UpdatesIndustry Insights
OPENING THE DOOR TO COLLABORATIVE FIRE SAFETY COMPLIANCE

Fire Door Safety Week is an opportunity for estates and facilities managers to assess their compliance and fire safety systems – and as ever, collaboration is the key to success. Working with knowledgeable manufacturers like MBP Group and experts like our own Assure team means that you can be certain that your fire doors are up to scratch.

Why fire safety should still catch our attention

In the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, the unsuitability of the cladding used quite rightly put the focus on the exterior of buildings – but it is inside that we must focus our attention on if we are to put people at the heart of what we do. After all, fire safety measures and passive fire protections are put in place to save residents – not to save the buildings.

With this in mind, facilities managers should have passive fire protection at the top of their minds. While newer buildings can be expected to have fully compliant fire protection measures – including safe and appropriate fire doors that meet current building regulations – in older buildings, keeping abreast of this area is doubly important.

Legislation changes with time, and what was perfectly compliant and considered safe even five years ago may now be on its way to obsolescence. And that’s why facilities managers must work with knowledgeable contractors – such as our own Assure experts – and, in turn, with manufacturers who are at the forefront of fire safety technology and techniques.

Our Assure service takes a holistic view of fire safety in residential buildings, considering every element of passive fire protection as a system – and of course, our team understands that fire doors are a key part of this.

Strong supply chain links

Working with trusted suppliers like MBP Group offers us a high degree of reassurance that we can pass to our clients: we know that MBP’s fire doors are up to the mark in terms of certification and are manufactured to a very high standard – so we have no hesitation recommending them to our customers across the housing, education, and healthcare sectors.

Like us, MBP’s ethos is that knowledge should be shared widely to be of the most benefit, and the company dedicates significant effort to educating its customers in how to ensure that the products they select fully meet the requirements of the job. We asked Peter Lord from MBP Group to take us through the five simple steps everyone should consider when determining whether or not a fire door is safe.

“While passive fire safety can seem like a complex matter, quite often getting it right is deceptively simple – for example, checking to see whether an existing fire door is safe and up to spec involves just five simple steps.

Firstly, check for certification: certified fire doors should have a label or plug on top, or sometimes on the side. Residents can use a mirror or even a phone camera to take a look and if it’s missing, report it to a building manager.

Next up is to check for gaps – they should be 2- 4mm thick, if gaps around the top and side are any larger than this, smoke and fire could pass through the cracks. Similarly, it’s important that intumescent seals around the door or frame are intact, with no signs of damage. These seals are designed to expand when they come into contact with heat so that fire cannot get through the cracks – so it’s essential that they’re kept well-maintained. Again, if there are issues, we recommend reporting this immediately.

Fire doors should have a minimum of three fire-rated hinges, which must be well-fitted, undamaged and not missing any screws. If not, the door is not guaranteed to perform as it should and may not be able to hold back the fire for as long as it should.

And finally, the door must close properly – this is easy to check by simply opening the door halfway and letting it close. If it closes firmly, onto the latch without sticking on the frame or the floor, that’s good news. If not – report it. An open or partially open fire door is not safe and must be fixed.”

Collaboration is the key

As MBP’s invaluable list of checks shows, ensuring that fire doors function properly relies on not just understanding, but communication too. If a resident or building user spots that a seal on a door is damaged or that a hinge is broken, the advice is always to report this to the property or facilities manager. From there, it becomes the responsibility of the contractor to ensure that the doors are repaired or replaced, so that everything works as it should. This is vitally important when it comes to fire safety, where even a single flaw in the system could have devastating consequences.

While it is essential that contractors have a good oversight of the full fire safety compliance system, collaboration between the contractor and the client is vital to success.

As an experienced contractor, at Novus, we appreciate that no one knows the building like the people who live and work there day in, day out. That’s why we actively seek to build relationships with facilities managers and residents to allow us to create a comprehensive fire safety compliance plan.

By choosing a trusted, accredited contractor like Novus and working collaboratively to identify measures and products that are appropriate for each specific building, facilities managers can be confident that a planned maintenance or build project will deliver on a complete fire safety system.

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