Here at Fire Door Experts we are looking forward to the upcoming Fire Safety Bill as this, long awaited legislation will hopefully provide clear guidelines on the statutory obligations of landlords, building owners, operators and Responsible Persons with regards to their fire doors.
However, what we are concerned about is that there still does not appear to be 1 governing body with regards to the standards that fire doors should be maintained to. There are various third party accreditations schemes which contractors can become members of (we are accredited to BM Trada’s Q-Mark scheme for both fire door installations and fire door maintenance), which have very strict procedures and accepted repair techniques that are permitted to be carried to maintain fire door assemblies back to their originally intended fire rating.
Any other works deemed as ‘upgrades’ (for example, retrospectively routing in intumescent seals to a ‘nominal’ door leaf) are not accepted repair techniques and therefore neither are these endorsed, nor are they covered under the Q-mark scheme.
So how does this leave end users, landlords, building owners and Responsible Persons when determining the standard to accept when maintaining their fire doors under a third party accreditation scheme, when they are receiving detailed fire door survey reports which conflict between permitted repair techniques across different third party accreditation schemes?
This has large cost implications as where one report can state to rout combined cold smoke intumescent seals into a door leaf that does not currently have any, to another scheme recommending the same door to be replaced for a proven and tested fire door leaf.
Surveying fire door assemblies is a very technical, skilled discipline which can take years to learn and understand. Yet we are aware of 1 day courses that you can attend. At the end of the day you are classed as a fire door inspector and can start surveying fire doors and producing reports and recommendations to clients.
We were therefore not surprised to recently receive a bulletin from a company with an extensive property portfolio, stating that due to conflicting reports and recommendations they have received from fire door contractors engaged in surveying fire doors across their portfolio, all of whom were surveying the existing doors under different third party accreditation schemes, that they have made the decision to create their own internal guidelines to comply with their legal obligations to maintain their fire doors, in their own words as ‘broadly compliant!’, all of which will be carried out in-house by their general maintenance team.
We can only think that their rationale here is if there is not one industry standard with one voice and clear direction on fire door maintenance standards, their only option is to create their own standards and proceed with their fire door maintenance on this basis.
As experts in the supply, installation and maintenance of fire doors, we’re very proud to have been early adopters of BM Trada’s Fire Certification programme (we have Certificate No. 001 – you can’t get any earlier than that!). We strongly believe Trada offers the most comprehensive and reliable service to building owners, landlords and Responsible Persons. By following their Accepted Repair Techniques, we can assure you of the integrity and performance of the building’s fire doors post maintenance as there are no options for ‘maybe’ under their scheme.
A prime example being something we touched on earlier; the presence, or otherwise, of intumescent strips. BM Trada dictate if there are no strips present, it can’t be a factory tested fire door; if it was, the strips would be present. Adding intumescent strips does not turn a regular door into a fire door.
Why take the risk with such vital pieces of passive fire protection aka life saving apparatus?! Some of you will remember the old Everest double glazing adverts, “If you want the best…” That still holds true!!