HMO fire doors – Replace or Repair?

HMO fire doors – Replace or Repair?

6:52 AM, 30th September 2022, About 2 months ago 8

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Hello everyone, I have recently had a fire risk assessment conducted on my HMO property.

The report indicates the doors are not compliant as they have no seals and only two hinges instead of the required three. The closing mechanisms are also faulty and the door frames and doors are not aligned properly.

The question is it better to replace frames and doors entirely or attempt to get them repaired to the standards required?

Many thanks

Sailus



Comments

reader

11:45 AM, 30th September 2022, About 2 months ago

The seals are normally straightforward to replace. Make sure the door closers are two stage Britton type so they do not slam or crush fingers. The alignment however is a question of degree of non conformity. If the door is in good condition reuse it, may be in a new frame. It will depend on your costings. Also the frame has to match the fire conformity of the door.

Judith Wordsworth

11:46 AM, 30th September 2022, About 2 months ago

Depends on the costs and aesthetics I would have thought.
Interestingly in a recent report I saw it stated that flat front doors to communal hallways should not be sealed as should there be a fire in the flat then the communal hallway smoke alarms would not be activated more quickly giving other residents more time to vacate.

Neilt

12:18 PM, 30th September 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 30/09/2022 - 11:46
Interesting. Makes sense

Robert M

12:26 PM, 30th September 2022, About 2 months ago

Over a 12 year period of providing HMOs to residents with support needs and behavioural issues, we have developed a "fire door standard" that works for our HMOs and residents, that is far more robust than normal. This provides additional security and safety for all our residents, while meeting the fire door safety standards. Yes, it does cost more initially, but it saves money over time as the doors are highly unlikely to be kicked/smashed in by residents.
Here is a link to our fire door standards:
https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/tpf6np9kcuui93ngnrpmk/Fire-Door-Standard-44mm-27-9-22.docx?dl=0&rlkey=2wgp83m8zuqf4auuprd1diqh1

You are welcome to adapt these for your own HMOs, but do check with your fire risk assessor that they are acceptable to them.

Colin Dartnell

17:18 PM, 30th September 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 30/09/2022 - 11:46
Hi Judith

That is interesting as we are about to upgrade to fire doors opening onto communal hallways. Are you able to point me to the report.

Paul landlord

18:27 PM, 30th September 2022, About 2 months ago

A recent FRA on a block of flats I have an interest in has asked for evidence of being FD30s, having intumescent seals and auto door closers.

In 17 years and coupled with multiple assessments over those years (3 year periodic) this has never been noted in a report.

The same inspector makes no mention of the required 3 hinge rule (required) or indeed the rest of the furniture being compliant for a fire door- which on many of the flats is just normal domestic.

Inspectors are all over the shop with the FRAs.

My advice as someone who is responsible for fire compliances at the church I minister at and a landlord is to fit a new FD30 (they aren't expensive) with the seals, and fire rated door furniture.

That way you future proof yourself against inspectors that can be rather clueless.

Hope this helps

John Frith

16:48 PM, 1st October 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 30/09/2022 - 11:46
This is a barmy idea.
So the advice is to:
- assume that there is neither a fire alarm, nor anyone in the apartment to raise the alarm
- don't block any extra ventilation around the front door so as to encourage the fire inside the apartment to spread outside it's original area faster, so that it will endanger others sooner, who WILL then raise the alarm.
Really!

John Frith

17:20 PM, 1st October 2022, About 2 months ago

I don't think that the OP's question has really been addressed. To improve or to replace?

I'm in a battle with a freeholder over this point, though my situation is in a block of flats, and NOT an HMO. HMO's are generally held to a higher standard (especially if subject to Special Licensing) which could negate what I say next.

That said, the industry and the fire services recognises some fire doors as being "Nominal" fire doors. These are doors that "by the balance of probability" are fire doors, though they may not be marked as such.
Fire services have inspected our buildings, have seen the "Nominal" fire doors, and where they have spotted a weakness (usually excessive gaps around the door) they recommend it is attended to, and don't seem to have an opinion on how the improvements are brought about (ie improve or replace).
My impression is that it is considered too onerous to expect everyone to fit new fire doors every time there is a change in standards.
My impression also is that for a door to resist a fire for 30 mins is a low threshold which a 44mm thick solid door without excessive gaps (certified or not) should do.
I suspect that an FD30 door from 40 years ago would, if in good condition, still prevent a fire from spreading for 30 mins today, unless fire is more potent now than it was 40 years ago?

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