fire door inspection regime
The Grenfell Tower Tragedy and Changes in Legislation
The Grenfell Tower fire exposed the inadequate fire safety measures in place at the time. In response, the UK government established the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt. This review resulted in the Building Safety Bill, which introduced significant changes to fire safety regulations.
One of the key changes in legislation was the introduction of the Fire Safety Order (FSO) in 2021, which expanded the legal responsibility for fire safety beyond building owners and landlords. The FSO places a legal obligation on the ‘responsible person’ for a building, which may include property managers, facility managers, and building occupiers, to ensure fire safety compliance, including regular fire door inspections.
The Importance of Regular Fire Door Inspections
Fire doors play a crucial role in preventing the spread of fire and smoke within a building. They are designed to compartmentalise fire and provide a safe escape route for occupants. Regular fire door inspections are essential for the following reasons:
- Compliance with regulations: With the implementation of the FSO, regular fire door inspections are now legally mandated. The responsible person must ensure that fire doors are inspected at least annually to maintain compliance with the law.
- Ensuring fire doors function correctly: Over time, fire doors may become damaged or develop faults that could compromise their effectiveness. Regular inspections help identify any defects or issues, such as damaged door seals or faulty self-closing mechanisms, that may impact the door’s performance during a fire.
- Reducing the risk of fire spread: When fire doors are not functioning correctly, the risk of fire spreading between compartments increases. Regular inspections ensure that fire doors can contain a fire, providing occupants with more time to evacuate and reducing the potential damage to property.
- Protecting building occupants: A well-maintained fire door is essential for the safety of building occupants. Regular inspections help ensure that fire doors are functioning correctly, providing a clear and safe escape route in the event of a fire.
- Maintaining building insurance: Failure to carry out regular fire door inspections may result in invalidated building insurance policies. Insurance companies may require evidence of regular inspections to ensure compliance with fire safety regulations.
Implementing a Fire Door Inspection Regime
To establish a fire door inspection regime, the responsible person should:
- Identify all fire doors within the building and create an inventory.
- Develop a fire door inspection schedule, with inspections occurring at least annually.
- Train designated personnel to conduct fire door inspections or hire a qualified third-party inspector.
- Address any issues identified during inspections promptly and maintain records of inspections and any remedial actions taken.
- Regularly review the inspection regime to ensure it remains effective and compliant with current regulations.
In light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the subsequent changes in fire safety legislation, it is more important than ever to maintain a regular fire door inspection regime in the UK. Regular inspections help ensure compliance with the law, protect building occupants, and minimise the risk of fire spreading. Implementing a robust fire door inspection regime is a crucial step in safeguarding lives and property.
Get in touch to discuss how we can help you achieve and maintain Fire Door compliance.