Fire door inspection surveys play a crucial role in maintaining passive fire protection systems within buildings. Almost every building incorporates fire doors to safeguard escape paths and areas prone to high fire risks.
Due to frequent usage or natural deterioration, these doors can sustain damage. Regular inspections are essential to ensure they function effectively, enabling prompt repair work to control the spread of fire and enhance the safety of occupants by providing more time for evacuation.
A comprehensive fire door inspection program should encompass both routine visual checks and detailed examinations by qualified professionals.
The primary goal of fire-resistant doorsets is to halt the progression of smoke and fire during a blaze. These doorsets, along with fire-resistant compartmentalisation, are integral to a building’s design, dividing it into sections to contain fire.
In most cases, maintaining these fire protection measures is not just a safety practice but also a legal requirement. This compliance falls under the Building Regulations and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales, with equivalent laws in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Effective fire doors are key in protecting escape routes, safeguarding high-risk or valuable areas, and minimising overall damage.
It is the duty of the designated Responsible Person to conduct a thorough fire risk assessment, which includes evaluating the condition of fire doors. However, such assessments may not cover all aspects of every fire door and frame. Initial checks might reveal major issues like ill-fitting doors or the absence of necessary components like intumescent seals.
Signs of visible damage may also be noted. Nevertheless, these preliminary evaluations might not be sufficient, necessitating a more in-depth inspection survey of the fire doors to ensure comprehensive safety.
What is included within a Fire Door Inspection Survey?
A fire door inspection survey is a thorough, non-destructive, and non-intrusive process that includes the following elements:
Detailed Visual Examination: Each fire-resistant doorset undergoes a meticulous visual inspection. This encompasses:
Evaluating the fire-resistant properties of the door hinges and all door hardware.
Assessing the condition, fitting, and functionality of the hinges and hardware.
Reviewing the appropriateness and presence of fire door signage.
Checking the condition and operation of any hold-open devices.
Examining the fire door closing mechanisms to ensure they can effectively close the doorsets.
Verifying relevant markings, such as those from the British Woodworking Federation, to determine the fire rating of the doorset.
Inspecting locks and latches for operational efficiency.
Assessing any vision panels or glazing, including their suitability.
Evaluating the condition of cold smoke seals and intumescent strips.
Analysing the fire-resistant attributes of the doorset, including its thickness.
Reviewing the gaps between the door leaf and frame, including the threshold, to ensure they are appropriate.
Conducting a visual inspection of the fire door frame and the door leaf itself.
Reviewing the materials used in the installation of the doorset.
Comprehensive Reporting: The survey concludes with a detailed action plan. This plan:
Pinpoints the locations of any defects found during the inspection.
Includes photographic evidence to document these findings.
Offers recommended remedial actions to address any issues discovered.
The inspection is designed to be comprehensive yet non-invasive, ensuring that the fire doorsets are examined thoroughly without causing any damage. This process is integral to maintaining the integrity of fire safety measures in a building, ensuring that all components of the fire doorsets are in optimal condition and meet the required safety standards.
What do you get from the Fire Door Inspection Survey?
The report produced from a fire door inspection survey provides a comprehensive evaluation of the condition and compliance of fire doorsets within a building. It offers essential insights and recommendations for improvements to align with legal requirements, best practice guidelines, or specific organisational resilience goals.
Key components of the fire door inspection survey report include:
Annotated Building Plans: These plans display each floor of your building, clearly marking the location of every fire door. This visual representation helps in understanding the distribution and accessibility of fire doors throughout the building.
Classification of Fire Doors: The report categorises each fire door into one of three types:
Non-compliant doors that fail to meet current standards.
Nominal doors that partially meet standards.
Compliant doors that fully adhere to all regulations and requirements.
Detailed Review and Action Plan: Each fire door is scrutinised in detail, covering all components and aspects. The report:
Lists remedial actions necessary for each door to ensure compliance and enhance safety.
Identifies any apparent fire hazards or risks associated with the doorsets.
Cost Estimates for Remediation: For each door requiring attention, the report provides rough cost estimates for the necessary remediation work. This information assists in budget planning and prioritisation of repairs or upgrades.
The focus of this survey and the subsequent report is to ensure that all fire doorsets in the building are up to standard, identifying areas for improvement and providing actionable steps to achieve compliance. This detailed analysis is invaluable for maintaining building safety and ensuring adherence to fire safety regulations.
Furthermore, once the initial fire doo inspection, register and labelling is complete, each additional inspection survey will be more efficient, and less cost.
How much does a Fire Door Inspection Survey cost?
Fire door inspection surveys often employ a flexible pricing model, structured either on a per-door basis or based on the time spent during the inspection.
For extensive, recurring contracts, such as those involving annual inspections at large institutions like universities, with tens of thousands of doors, the cost can be economical, ranging from £10-£20 per door for the initial year, with potential reductions in subsequent years.
In the case of smaller enterprises, such as medium-sized office buildings, pricing can be adjusted to a daily or half-day rate, typically falling between £300 and £600. This approach caters to the scale and needs of smaller businesses.
For isolated inspections, a standard call-out fee of £70 is applied, followed by a daily rate for the duration of the inspection.
However, it’s important to note that the overall cost for each project is tailored to the specific requirements, taking into account the size of the site, its complexity, and factors like travel time. The major contributing factor to the cost is the time dedicated to conducting the thorough inspection.
Our nationwide presence, with skilled inspectors available throughout the UK, enables us to offer efficient and cost-effective fire door inspection services, ensuring both quality and affordability.
Who can do the Fire Door Inspection Surveys?
Fire doors play a pivotal role in containing the spread of fire and smoke within buildings. The Fire Safety Act 2021 emphasises the inclusion of flat entrance doors in the Fire Risk Assessment as mandated by the Fire Safety Order. Therefore, a qualified and experienced Fire Risk Assessor can complete these Inspections as part of the Fire Risk Assessment.
Moreover, the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 mandate regular inspections to ensure the proper functioning and maintenance of self-closing devices and the overall condition of fire doors, including those at flat entrances. Someone with suitable experience or Qualifications can complete these inspections, and could be in house employees or contractors Inspectors like ourselves who have Inspectors with a combination of time served experience, Passive Fire Protection training and Door and Hardware Federation (DHF) trained persons.
During a fire risk assessment, assessors might suggest enhancements to the doors, and it becomes the responsibility of the designated person to decide on the implementation of these recommendations. If deficiencies are discovered, maintenance or, in some cases, replacement may be necessary to ensure the doors remain effective. However, replacing a fire door is not obligatory if it fails to meet the current building regulation standards, provided it is still functionally sound in terms of fire safety.
The basic requirement involves the responsible individual conducting an initial inspection to spot any visible damage or issues. This inspection doesn’t necessitate a detailed technical analysis of the door’s fire resistance, a task typically reserved for a fire risk assessment, unless there are clear signs of damage or if a fire-resisting door has been replaced with a non-resisting one.
For these basic checks, a specialist isn’t required as the responsible person can perform them. There are various helpful guides and government-issued guidelines online to aid in these assessments. Points to consider include:
Changes or damage to the door’s glazing apertures or air transfer grille.
Gaps around the door frame, ensuring seals and hinges are correctly installed.
Functionality of the door closer and the door’s fit around the entire frame.
Any visible damage to the door or door closer.
If problems are identified, a more thorough examination might be needed, potentially involving a specialist.
For fire door inspections, maintenance, and replacements, it is crucial to engage certified experts. Collaborating with an independent inspection company guarantees impartiality; recommendations for improvements and repairs are made strictly based on necessity, not for upselling purposes. While we have associates capable of performing fire door maintenance and replacements, we consciously separate these services from inspections to avoid any conflict of interest.
Certified professionals can also offer cost-effective solutions by suggesting repair schemes that restore the compliance of existing doors, often saving significant amounts compared to replacing the entire doorset. Focusing on repairs not only conserves time but also reduces costs, as repairs can be substantially more affordable than purchasing new doorsets.
How often do Fire Door Inspection Surveys need to be completed?
Ensuring the reliability of fire doors as part of a building’s passive fire protection system is crucial. Even minor alterations to the door or its immediate environment can impact its performance. Regular inspections are therefore vital to confirm that fire doors are functioning properly and will perform as expected in case of a fire.
Routine inspections should be conducted at least biannually. However, in buildings newly occupied, more frequent checks might be necessary during the first year. Additionally, fire doors experiencing high usage should undergo inspections more often than those less frequently used, possibly weekly or monthly.
According to the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, for buildings taller than 11 meters, the responsible person is obliged to ensure fire door checks at the entrances of individual domestic premises within the building at least once a year. Fire doors in communal areas should be inspected every three months, focusing on the functionality of self-closing devices.
Adopted best practices with clients include:
Weekly Inspections: Recorded in the fire logbook, these inspections are informal, conducted while walking through the facility to spot defects.
Monthly Fire Logbook Inspections: More formal, conducted by a responsible person or department head, with findings reported back for logbook updates.
Biannual Formal Internal Inspections: Performed by a fire responsible person, based on comprehensive fire door inspection reports and door asset registers.
Annual Inspections: For high-risk facilities with residents or heavy usage, like care homes, hospitals, student accommodations, hotels, office blocks, high-rise buildings, stadiums, and leisure centres.
2-3 Year Inspections: Suitable for lower-risk areas such as domestic properties or kitchen doors in single-occupancy homes.
Additional Checks for Newly Occupied Buildings: More frequent inspections may be necessary in the first year to accommodate settling.
High Traffic Doors: Require more frequent inspections due to increased likelihood of damage or wear and tear.
For sleeping accommodations (residential):
Biannual Inspections: Standard for all fire doors, except where noted otherwise.
Annual Inspections: For service riser/cupboard doors, with a tamper sticker approach for less frequent checks.
For non-sleeping accommodations:
Annual Inspections: Staircase doors, cross corridor doors, and doors leading to high fire risk areas such as laboratories.
Biannual Inspections: For service riser/cupboard doors, utilising tamper stickers for reduced frequency.
These guidelines ensure that fire doors are maintained in optimal condition, enhancing the safety and compliance of the building.
Do all properties have to have a Fire Door Inspection Survey?
A common query we encounter is about the necessity of Fire Door Inspection Surveys for all properties. The requirement for such surveys varies based on the risk level and the nature of the property.
Not every door needs to have formal checks.
In facilities classified as low-risk and where evacuation is relatively straightforward, formal inspections might not be mandatory. Instead, an in-house responsible person, designated for fire safety, can conduct routine checks. This individual can assess the condition of fire doors and arrange for necessary remedial work through contractors if any issues are detected. This approach should be supported by a comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment, which helps in determining the safety standards of the property.
If this assessment concludes that the fire safety measures, including the condition and functionality of fire doors, meet the required standards, a formal inspection survey may not be essential. However, it’s important to ensure that these regular checks and assessments are thorough and accurately documented to maintain compliance with fire safety regulations and to ensure the safety of the building’s occupants.
In summary, while not all properties may require formal Fire Door Inspection Surveys, it is crucial to have some level of evaluation and maintenance to ensure fire doors are functioning as intended, especially in low-risk environments. This approach balances safety requirements with the practicalities of managing fire risks in different types of properties.
What is the Legislation on Fire Door Inspection Surveys?
The legislation surrounding Fire Door Inspection Surveys is primarily guided by Article 17 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO), which mandates the proper installation and maintenance of fire resisting doors and escape doors to ensure their fitness for purpose.
The FSO, applicable to all non-domestic buildings, consolidates and replaces 118 pieces of prior fire legislation, including the old fire certificate. This law transfers fire safety responsibility from fire authorities to individuals who have day-to-day control of premises.
Following the Grenfell Tower incident, The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 introduced specific requirements, effective from 23 January 2023, for buildings over 11 metres in height:
Quarterly Checks: These are required for all fire doors (including self-closing devices) in common parts of multi-occupied residential buildings.
Annual Checks: Undertaken on a ‘best endeavour’ basis, these are for flat entrance doors (including self-closing devices) that lead to a building’s common parts.
Additionally, the regulations obligate responsible persons to inform residents in multi-occupied residential buildings with common parts about the significance of fire doors in maintaining fire safety.
Enforcement agencies like the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or Fire Authority have the authority to enforce the FSO and can prosecute or close buildings for non-compliance. However, these bodies generally prefer to work collaboratively with businesses to develop effective fire protection strategies. Our role is to assist in achieving compliance and finding practical, cost-effective solutions that align with regulatory requirements.
For buildings under 11 metres in height, the regulations do not negate the existing duty to implement general fire precautions as stipulated by the Fire Safety Order. The Fire Safety Act 2021 further clarifies that residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises fall under the scope of the FSO. Therefore, responsible persons for these buildings are tasked with ensuring that all fire doors, including those of flat entrances, provide adequate protection. They are also required to educate residents in such buildings about fire door safety.
In essence, while the specific requirements for fire door inspections vary based on building height and occupancy, the underlying principle across all legislations is the maintenance of fire safety standards through proper fire door management.
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For peace of mind, our qualified inspectors will assess your fire doors, frames, and associated hardware to ensure they are fit for purpose and will provide adequate protection against the spread of fire and smoke, allowing to protect the facility and allow for escape. We will also provide a clear report detailing which doors are compliant and whether any further action is required.
Nationwide service carried out by our in-house certified inspectors.
Your fire door inspection will include:
A visit from our certified inspectors
Comprehensive inspection of your fire doors, frames, and associated hardware
Identification of fire doors which are compliant and non-compliant.
Fire Door Labelling and Register
Full report detailing findings of the inspection and any further action required.
The door, frame, and hardware must all be considered to ensure compliance.
All of our consultants are suitably qualified and registered as members of appropriate bodies.
You will be allocated a Senior consultant with a minimum of Chartered status with IOSH (CMIOSH) to oversee and complete works. To know more or chat to a consultant, pop an email over to us at [email protected] or call us on – 01656 470044. We are usually in touch within 1 hour of your email
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