Fire Door Safety Week: Top tips for landlords
This week the seventh fire door safety week takes place.
Fire Door Safety week, organised by the British Woodworking Federation, aims to stamp out bad practice and raise awareness of the important role that fire doors play. To mark the week, there are a number of resources for landlords and tenants on the fire door safety website.
The campaign aims to build on the success of 2018’s Fire Door Safety Week, which reached over 35 million people through PR, social media and events with the message: shut the door on fire and smoke.
To mark the week, and there are a number of resources for landlords and tenants on the fire door safety website.
Fire door safety: The facts
Research released last year by the BWF found that almost three quarters (72%) of flat tenants would ignore guidance to ‘stay put’ if there was a fire in their building and their particular flat was not affected by fire or smoke.
Helen Hewitt, Chief Executive of the British Woodworking Federation, said: “We all need to feel protected, and especially so when we are asleep. Fire doors play a vital role as the first line of defence against fire and smoke, containing their spread while buildings are evacuated. But they must be properly installed and maintained, and good fire safety practice must be shared and followed.
“That’s why we continue to raise awareness every year through Fire Door Safety Week.
“Good practice is especially important in buildings with multiple occupants and residents who may be vulnerable. It is quite literally a matter of life and death.”
Practical tips for landlords
- 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 the five step fire door safety check.
- If in doubt bring in a professional to carry out a survey – find them on the fire door inspection scheme website at fdis.co.uk
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-CERTIFIRE Scheme 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 (eg 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.
In addition to the above tips, a factsheet about fire door safety in blocks of flats, can be downloaded online here.
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.
- Use technical checklist here to check the installation
The Fire Door Safety Week website includes a free toolkit of resources to help landlords and their tenants with fire door safety advice. For more information click here.
Know your responsibilities around fire safety
The RLA has many resources for landlords to make sure they are aware of their responsibilities around fire safety. The association runs training courses for landlords and letting agents. Courses include:
- eLearning Foundation Fire Safety: This course is designed to give both landlords and letting agents a basic overview of the different legislation relating to fire safety, how to conduct fire risk assessments and practical tips on fire safety, relating to the LACORS fire safety guide. At the moment, to celebrate the first birthday of the RLA’s Training Academy, we are offering this course at 25% off, from £12. Sign up here.
- Classroom Fire Safety: Our classroom Complete Fire Safety course is designed to give landlords and letting agents a complete guide to the relevant fire safety legislation you must comply with to keep tenants safe and gives you the practical skills in order to become accomplished at managing fire risk effectively. Key topics covered include:
- The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005
- The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006
- The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2006
- Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, amended 1989 and 1993
- Building Regulations Part B
- The Housing Act 2004
This course is taught by an experienced trainer, and has dates coming up in Manchester and London. This September it is also 25% off the usual price, meaning that landlords can sign up from £105. Sign up here.
Written by Victoria Barker