Council want proof front door complies with FD30S fire regs?

by Readers Question

8:54 AM, 4th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Council want proof front door complies with FD30S fire regs?

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Council want proof front door complies with FD30S fire regs?

I have had a letter from the local Council asking me for proof that the front door to my flat is a FD30S door. This means is it a fire door that is self closing and able to be 30-minute fire resistance. FD30S

I do not know if the door is FD30S compliant as it is the door that was fitted to the property when it was built in the 1960’s under the then building regs.

The property is an ex local Council property that I lived in before I purchased it and later moved out and started to then rent it out. There are six flats in the block all the other flats had their doors replaced by the Council several years ago, mine was not as I lived there then and did not want to pay the Council £2000+ to replace it.

I have not done any significant improvements apart from replacing the boiler and windows. Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you

Alan



Comments

Neil Hewitt

9:29 AM, 4th January 2017
About 2 years ago

The issue here is about fire safety, and the council as the landlord have every right to take enforcement action, ultimately the flat is leasehold, and belongs to the local authority.
A door from the 1960s will not meet standards in terms of means of escape in case of fire, and the only acceptable proof, will be to replace the door, door frame, and all the associated fittings, even the letterbox. This cannot be done as a DIY job, and does require a contractor that is approved by the housing department of the local authority.
You should have paid the local authority the money requested when they had upgraded the doors. You may be responsible if you do not cooperate, and if there is a fire in your flat, which then blocks the main corridor, and people die as a result. Over the past few years there have been several such incidents where people have died under these exact circumstances.
Your insurance also may not cover you.
The same standards would apply if the landlord were private and not a local authority. And sometimes the requirements do go further, in requiring the installations of mains wired smoke alarms, and call points.
Pay the money, and get the job done properly, you have already admitted your minimal investment in the property, and £2,000 or so is small relative to the investment increase and rental income, which will be high relative to the cost of buying the leasehold. It is a paradox now, that often council owned homes are now in a better condition than homes owned by private landlords.

Neil Patterson

9:34 AM, 4th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Alan,

These regulations are relatively modern and it is highly unlikely a door from the sixties will be up to the correct spec. However:

To Make sure it is the correct spec of door:
Your door set (the combined door and frame unit) or the component parts comprising this door set will be required to be certified by an approved independent organisation such as Certifier or IFC who provide third party certification schemes that assures performance, quality, reliability and traceability of fire protection products.

From FireSafety.org

Identifying Fire Doors Certified Fire Doors

Manufacturers can certify fire doorsets, both for identification purposes and to guarantee their performance in a fire situation. The first step for the manufacturer is to construct a fire doorset designed to a specification that, in their opinion, will resist a fire for a specified length of time. This doorset will then be tested by an approved fire testing centre and, if it is passed, any doorsets constructed to that specification can be considered for certification.

Once the certification is approved, each similarly constructed doorset will be identified by a label identifying the manufacturer, the date of manufacture and the designated fire rating of the door type. This identification label is usually affixed to the top edge of the door. A colour-coded plug may be inserted into the door, instead of or in addition to the label. For hospitals, fire doors display a disc at the top of each face of the door showing the designated fire performance (see HTM58).

Identification marks can sometimes be removed or painted over during the installation or adjustment of a fire doorset but, if the work has been professionally carried out under the auspices of the BWF/FIRAS Accredited Fire Door Installers Scheme, the chance of this happening can be avoided. There are two associations that have certifiable fire door systems, namely:
TRADA Q-Mark fire door scheme

The woodworking association BM TRADA uses a system known as Q-Mark, in which a series of coloured plugs is inserted into the door to indicate the fire door type, member details, the scope of certification during specification and installation, and service history

Every BWF-CERTIFIRE Fire Door Assembly carries a permanent and tamper evident label. For more information, visit The British Woodworking Federation website or download the latest Scheme Directory for a listing of all members of the BWF-CERTIFIRE Fire Door & Doorset Scheme.

Gary Dully

9:46 AM, 4th January 2017
About 2 years ago

At a price of £2000 + from the council, get an alternative supplier.

Neil Patterson

9:54 AM, 4th January 2017
About 2 years ago

£300 to £400 looks about right on a quick search.

Larry Sweeney

10:28 AM, 4th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Firstly I am in agreement with previous comments, that your door most likely does not meet current standards. Having said that get other quotes, as everything to do with the Council will be over priced and bad value.
This brings me to another point.
It is absolutely appalling the number of posts on this site related to Councils.
From attempting to make Landlords liable for tenants CT to over priced doors, and on to Revenue raising scams such as their flawed Landlord licence schemes.
Landlords unless you want to be harried for ever, by these faceless tax payer funded idiots , you must resist their bullying at every turn. Question everything, turn up for court and dispute their Liability orders but be also prepared to appeal, if confident of your grounds as the Magistrates court is generally speaking a rubber stamping forum for all prosecutorial bodies. Argue licence conditions if they are illegal and go to the first tier tribunal. Cost now £100 Down from £180 which is amazing as all HMCTS fees have increased.
When the LA come to inspect your property and harass your tenants, Film them and if they over step the mark ,put the recording in the public domain.
If every landlord said in unison "enough is enough" to these interfering busy bodies ,they would beat a hasty retreat. Let us start giving these local authorities problems.

terry sullivan

11:25 AM, 4th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Larry Sweeney" at "04/01/2017 - 10:28":

agreed--many LAs are making it up as they go along

do you need fire doors at front door? they are to prevent spread of fire internally

ps is la the freeholder and if so are they levying service charges?

Chris Clare

11:36 AM, 4th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "terry sullivan" at "04/01/2017 - 11:25":

I don't think this is an external front door I think this is an internal entrance door to a flat and therefore they are considering the preservation of the exit route for all of the other flats in the block. Whilst I don't like the tactic I cannot argue with the principle of getting the door replaced.

I do think however that any competent contractor installing a certified door and kit would be acceptable in this circumstance and a quote of £300 to £400 is reasonable.

As the freeholder it would be interesting to see whether they have met their own obligations in the communal spaces such as smoke alarms and fire retardant coverings etc. It is easy to bully others but make sure your own house is in order first.

terry sullivan

11:38 AM, 4th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Clare" at "04/01/2017 - 11:36":

that was what i was alluding to

LAAs often penalize right to buyers--eg in past wandsworth and hammersmith

Ian Narbeth

13:01 PM, 4th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Larry Sweeney" at "04/01/2017 - 10:28":

Why are people criticizing the Council in this instance? It seems pretty clear that the door does not comply with fire regs and the OP did not know whether it complied. (Sorry, but responsible landlords should get educated. I am sure Alan means well and it is a positive that he is asking the question but the curse of the PRS is the amateur landlord who blithely ignores rules and regulations he is unaware of.) Describing Councils who simply ask for evidence of compliance as "faceless tax payer funded idiots" is uncalled for. We should be pressing for better regulation, not sniping at under-funded and over-stretched housing departments who have a difficult job.

My experience with my council is that they are a bit over-zealous on specifying fire alarms in three storey houses. Yes, it costs me a bit more but I would rather be over-spec'd than under. Other than that I work with the housing/fire officers. In a worst case landlords could face a manslaughter charge. If, God forbid, we had a fire and someone was killed or seriously injured I would rather the Council were telling the court I had complied than that I argued the toss.

terry sullivan

13:17 PM, 4th January 2017
About 2 years ago

over-funded and under-stretched is the reality--and most are unemployables

i was a cllr for 4 years--i am talking from experience!

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