Fire door asset management
Updated: May 27, 2022
The importance of accurate information for fire door asset management.
As the awareness of the important role that effective fire doors play in the preservation of life and protection of buildings increases across the healthcare sector, this month we look at considerations that should be made with regard to effective fire door inspection and the provision of accurate information.
Patient safety is the number one priority. Effective fire compartmentation allows patients to escape to a place of safety in the event of fire by restricting the spread of fire, smoke and toxic gasses within manageable areas of risk (compartments).
The walls, floors and ceilings that make up these compartments also provide a means of protected access for the emergency services to control fire spread and extinguish the source.
Fire Doors contained within compartment walls play a vital role in maintaining that compartmentation, but it is only if they are specified & installed correctly, subject to suitable system of inspection and maintenance, in sufficient working order and in good repair that they may be considered effective.
The historical supply of doors to any healthcare facility through capital works projects will see the appointment of a specialist fire door fabricator. The fabricator, by design, will supply fire doors only. Therefore, fire doors are supplied for installation to both compartment walls and non-compartment walls to maintain the design brief and aesthetics of the build. I.e. Every door in the building is a fire-resisting door regardless of need.
For modern projects, the identification of doors required to resist the passage of fire smoke should be straightforward. The door schedule and fire strategy floor plans provided by the contractor at handover stage, in accordance with Regulation 38 of national building regulations, will clearly show the location of doors and compartment walls and the required classifications e.g., FD30 (S), FD60 (S).
And where this information is available, any inspection, maintenance and/or replacement works will be accurate with correct fire door classifications for fire and smoke, and resources used efficiently to maintain effective fire compartmentation, escape routes, and in-line with the overall fire strategy for the building.
It is often the case however, that the urgency to address fire door compliance is considered ahead of and/or separately to the needs of the overall fire strategy for the building.
One recurring theme we see here at FD Fire Door is the request to inspect fire doors in older buildings without the provision of accurate information such as the door schedule, asset list, fire strategy floor plan or compartment drawings.
In this instance, if we were to carry out the inspections, the only form of identification would be a) is it a fire door? and, b) does it have any identifiable mark such as blue disc or HTM fire sign? Bearing in mind that every door in the building will likely be a fire door regardless of need, then the answers to both questions is going to be YES, resulting in doors being needlessly inspected.
Furthermore, in absence of important information relating to the classification of doors, the inspections can only ever achieve an ‘as seen’ condition report of the door with no accuracy of appropriate location, correct fire resistance or need for smoke control.
Any repair or replacement programme following inspections of this nature will compound the issues raised, waste resources and generate a needless, avoidable drain on the public purse!
Any inspection carried out without the provision of accurate information should be avoided. Any outsourced inspection firm that is prepared to carry out inspections without first requesting this information should also be avoided.