FEATURE: Fire Door Safety Week – 10 Top Tips for fire doors in flats

This week Abode are pledging their support to Fire Door Safety Week. In the ongoing bid to raise awareness of these life saving devices, here are ten top tips and facts surrounding fire doors in apartments and blocks of flats.

  1. What do fire doors do?
    Fire doors create a barrier from fire and toxic cold smoke and prevent it from travelling around a building, keeping the damage to a small area; allowing for evacuation, stay put and safe access for the emergency services.
  2. What makes a fire door work?
    All these components play a critical role in fire performance. One small change can lead to one huge impact on fire performance. Always check the fire door certificate for compatible specification!
  3. Where will I see fire doors in my building?
    In a block of flats you will find fire and smoke control doors on the stairwells, the corridors and on the flat front doors. You will also see them protecting areas where there’s a risk of combustion, such as bin storage or mains electricity service cupboard.Sometimes you will find fire doors inside flats, but this depends on the specific design and layout of the individual flat.
  4. How do I know it’s a fire door?
    Fire doors in common areas of the building (corridors, stairwells and service rooms) will have blue signage on the door. Flat front doors and those individual flats do not require signage.But… a fire door only works if it’s installed correctly with the compatible components like ironmongery, seals and frame.
  5. Who is responsible for inspecting and maintaining fire doors in my building?
    Your landlord or building owner will have legal responsibility for the fire doors in common areas of the building and many will publish information in the tenants or residents handbook.You should seek fire safety information from your landlord, letting agent or building owner regarding the specific fire plan for your building to ensure you are prepared in an emergency.
  6. But what about my flat front door?
    Yes, this includes your flat front door if you are a tenant. It faces onto the critical Means of Escape route. It’s vital that it works properly when a fire breaks out, so it is important that your flat front door is fit for purpose and can be regularly inspected and maintained.If you are a leasehold tenant, you should examine the details of your lease contract and consult the landlord. You may find that you have responsibility to ensure that a suitable fire rated door with all of its compatible components is fitted.
  7. Do all fire doors have cold smoke seals?
    Don’t confuse plain intumescent seals with cold smoke seals. The majority of fire doors, especially those on flat front doors, corridors and on stairwells will have cold smoke seals. You can see these seals because they are either separate from or combined with the intumescent seal; they look like a brush or a plastic fin.They are located in either the door edge or frame and they should completely fill the perimeter gap between the door and the frame when the door is closed.
  8. What about door closers?
    All fire doors in common areas of the building and flat front doors (corridors and stairwells) must have appropriate fire rated door closers fitted.These closers must be adjusted correctly to ensure the opening and closing forces are correct and that the door can be operated easily. Regular inspection and maintenance is required to ensure these component work correctly. Otherwise you risk door closers being damaged or disengages, so they won’t work when required.Door closers on flat front doors should only be fitted in the interior side of the door to prevent vandalism and to allow for the door to be correctly adjusted when the closer is fitted.
  9. How can I do a basic check on my fire doors?
    Although a series of basic checks cannot be replaced by a full inspection from a qualified specialist, they can certainly highlight any immediate issues. Here are five basic checks you can conduct on your fire doors:
  10. Who do I report issues to?
    In the first instance, you will need to contact your landlord/letting agent or building owner.If you are still concerned or not receiving the reassurance you feel you need, you should then contact your local authority or fire and rescue services for advice. You can also contact the Department for Communities and Local Government by emailing housingchecks@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Abode Property Management ensure all our landlords with fully managed properties meet legal criteria’s including flats and HMO, including fire door safety. For more information, give us a call on 0161 883 2525.

*With thanks to the British Woodworking Federation.

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