Non-compliant fire doors and further fire safety issues?

Non-compliant fire doors and further fire safety issues?

8:29 AM, 13th April 2022, About a month ago 21

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Having had a Fire Risk Assessment a few months ago, it seems the first since the building was completed (a conversion of an office block), we now find that apart from the usual rubbish fire stopping, possible cladding issues we are also facing a huge bill for non-compliant fire doors.

Some doors have been made to fit the frame, not ‘true’ with too much shaved off, lots of foam in lots of gaps and various other issues, we are not talking about a bit of squashed intumescent strips.

We have just taken on the Right to Manage and obviously asking questions, no one can produce the original fire door certification, or any other certification for that matter, we are using the same management company as there was a very complicated issue that we have managed to deal with since taking over (management hadn’t dealt with it but they held the info).

There are many issues with the building which will amount to probably a couple of hundred pounds to fix and these fire issues have to be done to ensure that we can be insured as a building (the insurer has given us 6 months to sort this out). I’ve no idea why (maybe if) the building was insured in the past.

Surely there must be some ‘body’ we can go to with this as it is clearly a developer issue of shoddy and potentially dangerous works?

I think this may be the tip of the iceberg but it does need dealing with asap.

Harlequin Garden



Comments

by AndrewMcC

9:44 AM, 13th April 2022, About a month ago

Commercial to residential conversion should have been done with building regulations approval. Your option for redress depends on who was responsible for supervising the works. If this was done some time ago your options may be limited.

Often we find that developers have completed resi conversions and left the original fire doors in use from the time of commercial use. These may have been compliant when fitted but may no longer be for a number of reasons: badly fitted originally, movement over time, BR requirements have changed over time, etc.

If you are unsure if they are compliant then you need a certificate for each door from a certified fire door inspector. They will identify, check and certify each door - and leave a list of non-compliant issues for ones that fail. It is not cheap, especially as most fail anyway, and for this reason we nearly always replace all the fire door casings and doors when we do a refurb.

If you are replacing fire doors the bill will not be a few £100 here and there. We budget each casing and door replacement, including making good around the area, at £450 - per door.

Unfortunately this is one of the areas that is very much in the news lately so you are unlikely to find many people backing you if you are non-compliant for fire safety these days. Good luck with it.

by DSR

10:52 AM, 13th April 2022, About a month ago

similar issue I am having ....but my issue is at the bottom level...can't find anyone to fit the frames and doors in the first instance. Lack of materials and qualified labour. bloody nightmare. The only quote received so far for one door is nearly 2k for a made to fit and he can't do till November!

by Harlequin Garden

13:52 PM, 13th April 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by AndrewMcC at 13/04/2022 - 09:44I may not have been clear, it was a total gut and rebuild, new interior completely. We were given no certificate on completion (I bought new), the majority of them do not comply and the opinion of two reports is that they never did. We think it was a private building control surveyor rather than a council one, we have no sign off papers. We are looking at £60,000+ for this work so we really do need to pin this on someone, fraud has been mooted - likewise the ventilation system came with a certificate and most wasn't attached to the pump and had zero airflow, we found this when someone called in the council due to 40C heat in the flat. Is there a responsible 'body' out there that we can refer back to - building now 6 years old but the heat issues (oh yes, heating pressure such that it damages the non return valves that are replaced every two years), fire doors and ventilation have been evident from the outside. No idea what the managing agent was up to, it's only since we took over that this is all coming to light.

by RWB Building Solutions

14:36 PM, 13th April 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by AndrewMcC at 13/04/2022 - 09:44
'If you are replacing fire doors the bill will not be a few £100 here and there. We budget each casing and door replacement, including making good around the area, at £450 - per door.'

Sorry to jump on this - but what doors are you fitting? take it these aren't pre hung?

by RWB Building Solutions

14:39 PM, 13th April 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by DSR at 13/04/2022 - 10:52
Where are you based? We might have capacity to undertake this work if Yorkshire based. Price is in the region of what we would normally quote, to include disposal of old door, certification of new door, detailed installation guide, product specifications etc.

by AndrewMcC

14:57 PM, 13th April 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Harlequin Garden at 13/04/2022 - 13:52My apologies, I didn't fully understand your position.
For something of this size there will have been a set of building drawings and probably an architect involved. These will be available on the planning portal and will include the specification for the fire doors and other items like ventilation. This could be a good first port of call. It will have required a finalisation certificate from Building Control and again this should be fairly simple to track down. All heating and ventilation are reportable installs so there should be a completion and compliance certificate for both lodged with the Council. The contractor will have given some sort of guarantee but the best bet is normally to go after the people with the PI insurance for larger claims.

by AndrewMcC

15:07 PM, 13th April 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by DSR at 13/04/2022 - 10:52
Fitting fire doors has become a specialist service due to the likelihood of them failing inspection if not done correctly. As such we had to send our chippie on a 5 day course to learn how to do them "properly", despite him having fitted them previously.

Most developers do not understand the importance of packing any gaps behind the casings with the correct intumescent material, which changes dependant on the gap size and fire rating required. We often get blank stares back when we query things like fire rated hinge packers and drop down seals.

Now most Councils' housing departments are back up and running after the lock down they are busy enforcing the old rules on fire doors and explaining the changes coming to building regs. We expect to be discussing this with a lot of very unhappy owners of HMO's in particular.

by AndrewMcC

16:03 PM, 13th April 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by RWB Building Solutions at 13/04/2022 - 14:36
No, the price is based on stick building the Howdens / Genweld 30" FD30 with matching casing. We are only able to do it at this price as we buy all the hardware in bulk and can pass on the savings eg. 3 of Grade 13 hinges for £4.95. Other fitters in my area are charging around £700 a door.

by AndrewMcC

16:08 PM, 13th April 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by RWB Building Solutions at 13/04/2022 - 14:36We did look at importing pre-hung fire doors from a firm in Italy. They were top quality and beautiful too but in the end it would have cost us over £850 each to get them here (buying a 40' container of them at a time) never mind the fitting and our profit margin. They would have been perfect for a 5* hotel, but that is not the market we operate in.

by James Noble

17:52 PM, 13th April 2022, About a month ago

Similar problems with my block of flats. Do the prices above include ready-hung doors (in their own frame) and a self closing hinge - which, it seems, each flat has to have? Finding a reliable, insured fitter, who is able to give a genuine guarantee is proving to be very difficult. It's an expensive thing to have to do - needed by our own insurance company. Any nationwide firm that might deal with this? About 26 doors required!

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