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Private rented housing

What is your responsibility?

  • Landlords have a responsibility under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) to ensure that their properties and tenants are safe.  The “responsible person” has a legal responsibility under the FSO and can be criminally prosecuted if they do not fulfil their duties.  The responsibility extends to the requirement for a fire risk assessment in all non-domestic buildings, including the common parts of flats and houses of multiple occupation.
  • The state of Fire Doors falls within this and is given specific reference in the FSO.  Whilst this legislation has been in place for a number of years, we continue to hear from Landlords who do not understand their responsibilities and from tenants who are concerned about their fire doors.
  • In 2015, 58% of all fire door fines (£454,786) were issued to landlords of HMOs in the UK.

 

Why is a Fire Door Important?

  • A fire door ensures that should a fire break out, it can be contained in a “compartment”. This keeps the fire and smoke trapped for a defined period, allowing time for people to get out and make the fire easier to tackle.
  • It will not fulfil this function if damaged or propped open.

 

How to identify a fire door

  • Signs that might indicate a fire door include things like a blue ‘Fire Door’ or ‘Keep Closed’ sign, door closers, intumescent or smoke seals around the edge of the door or the frame.
  • In blocks of flats, the external door to a flat invariably should be a Fire Door, this protects the common areas from spread of flame and smoke. Other locations will depend on the risk assessment and fire plan of the buildings; internal doors could well be fire doors depending on the size of the apartment and distance from the flat entrance door. You can find out more in Approved Document B Volumes 1 (for houses) and 2 Part B (for flats) of the building Regulations.
  • All fire doors are fire rated. Some are FD30 (providing 30 minute protection), FD60 (60 minute protection) or higher.  There is usually a certification mark (a label or plug) on top of the door if it is a Fire Door – you can find out more in the Best Practice Guide  published by the BWF Fire Door Alliance.

 

How to inspect and maintain a fire door

  • Fire doors should be checked regularly, and the more they’re used the more frequently they should be checked.
  • Anyone can spot a dodgy fire door (do the 5 Step Check today). But if you have legal responsibility for fire safety its highly recommended that you call in a professional.
  • Create a maintenance checklist and schedule for checking all doors in the building.
  • Only ever replace damaged components with like-for-like. Check the fire certificate. A trained person should be responsible for this maintenance work.

Tips for building users

Take action

  • Make sure you check that fire doors are fit for purpose, do this 5 Step Fire Door Check.
  • Under any circumstance don’t wedge fire doors open, especially at night. If the fire door is wedged open, in the event of a fire it will not serve it’s intended purpose to hold back fire and smoke.
  • If you have seen a dodgy fire door it’s crucial that you report it to your landlord straight away.

Tips for Landlords

Regular Inspection

  • If you have had a Fire Risk Assessment, make sure doors were covered and the assessor is knowledgeable in this area
  • When you do your regular check, identify and include the fire doors, do this 5 Step Fire Door Check.
  • If in doubt bring in a professional to carry out a survey.

 

How to buy good quality fire doors

  • You’ll find lots of advice on specifying and buying high quality, third-party certificated fire doors and doorsets from the BWF Fire Door Alliance knowledge centre.
  • Always use a reputable and competent supplier – many people claim to make fire doors, but only some have got a properly tested product that is proved to work in a fire.
  • Ask whether the product has been fire tested and demand to see the documentation that proves it (e.g. fire certificate or label).
  • It’s not just the door itself that matters. The frame and ironmongery is just as important – they all work together. Only buy exact compatible hardware and components.
  • Always ask for installation instructions and follow them to the letter.
  • Saving a few quid on fire doors isn’t worth it. Consider the cost of damage and loss of life if a fire breaks out. Stick to the specification at all times.

 

Requirements to consider when specifying fire doors

  • All rooms should have fire doors which have a self-closing mechanism.
  • All fire doors must be durable and combine fire protection with accessibility.

 

How to install a fire door properly

  • Fire doors are not ordinary doors. They’re a carefully engineered fire safety device. They must be fitted correctly by a competent installer – if you employ people who install fire doors, make sure they know what they’re doing.

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