BIM4HOUSING FIRE DOOR INSPECTION WORKSTREAM 16-02-2023

BIM4HOUSING FIRE DOOR INSPECTION WORKSTREAM 16-02-2023

GEORGE Just to explain the context of what we’re doing in BIM4housing. Essentially, although we’re called BIM4housing and people immediately think of 3D models our major focus is on Better Information Management. We’ve got 6 working groups which meet every couple of months and they determine what information would make their jobs easier. in many cases it’s information that, for example, the asset management team need from the construction team or manufacturing, or the construction team need from development. They then determine what information is needed and we produce workstreams that then product guidance and information that then is freely available to anybody in the industry to work with. That’s our process, and we’ve got maybe 500 people involved in this now. I chair the Golden Thread Initiative asset and survey information group and we were tasked with giving the government guidance in terms of what asset was needed.  One of the challenges was whenever we talked to any experts they’ll say ‘it depends’ and it depends on the context in which you want to know information about a fire door. 

We’ve created standard libraries for 250 asset types and we’re looking at that in the context of the Building Safety gateways and how that works with the RIBA plan of work. The groups are then looking at the different gateways to see what information is needed at each stage. The key thing is also once you’ve got the building assurance certificate then making sure that you can keep it and that’s why these inspections become so important that we can evidence the work that the assets are safe. The way in which we go about that is we’ve been holding roundtable workshops over the last 18 months. Each group is discussing a particular scenario and through that we’ve produced publications for AOVs, cavity barriers, fire dampers and fire doors. The fire door one is a definition of what a fire door is, also from the risk perspective what risk is it mitigating, then what do people do to it to stop it from working, and then what data do subject matter experts like you say should be being collected during the different stages in order that we can demonstrate that the building is safe. 

The point about this is that the fire door inspection itself needs to be done in the context of the whole of the compartment, and also even if that compartment works perfectly, we need to make sure that the smoke control system and fire detection system works. For example, we’ve got a similar session to this one taking place next Tuesday on smoke control. The methodology that we’re following here is to say, first of all, one of the big drivers at the moment is getting drawings into secure information boxes because that’s part of the legislation for high-risk buildings. Having done that, and that’s where a lot of Housing Associations and Councils are at the moment, there’s then the next step of it’s all very well saying where those assets are, but it’s also a matter of saying what the specification is and that’s a major thrust of what we’re trying to do today. We’ve then got the ongoing inspection regime (that’s type 4/group 4 that are working today on that). Also, there needs to be a mechanism for the landlord to be able to alert the fire rescue authorities of any of the key assets that have failed and also relating those assets to the safety case going forwards. So that’s the methodology we’re following with a number of major landlords at the moment. 

To try and standardise things we’re working with some big survey companies that are going in and producing point clouds for landlords at the moment. But rather than them just producing them as drawings, what we’ve done is we’ve created a series of standard objects that they can actually put into the drawings. So rather than just putting a symbol down, if they drop this CAD block down it means it becomes machine readable. So therefore, afterwards when, for example, you identify something is a 60 or 30 minute fire door that can be added subsequently to that initial base plan. The surveyors are using cool technology to capture the information. And at the same time they’re capturing information for the floor plans they’re also capturing 360 photos. We’re looking to use this type of technology to enable the inspections that you do to actually be tied back to something that they can then manage going forward. This is an example of the floor plans that have been created for Origin Housing. All from different surveying firms, but they’re all using the same methodology and technology. That then brings us to a situation where when you’re doing your door inspection you’ll probably be using a range of different software applications to capture the data (maybe Zeta Safe etc) and then what we want to be able to do is then make it so the landlord has got something there that they can tie everything back to. So, they’ve got something, irrespective of who’s done the surveys, can then tie that back in and then keep the information up to date, including what the products are. So that’s the journey that we’re going down.

ALAN OLIVER A couple of years ago I had a conversation with the chief principal fire engineer for NHS Improvement. I said ‘why is it that although the NHS are probably the biggest owners of fire doors in Europe, they don't have standardised systems for inspecting them. And he said, well, we don't even have standardised systems for fire risk assessing our buildings. He said, why don't you write a paper on it? So that's where it all kicked off. So I put together a working group within NAHFO, the NHS Fire Officers Association. We wrote a paper on how to inspect fire doors which was peer reviewed by a lot of people including, for example, the NFCC and London Fire Brigade. And we came up with a paper that everyone was happy with. We signed it off and then we turned it into a reference document. The document contains actually three different ways to inspect fire doors. And what we wrote and what everyone agreed on is that you should inspect fire doors in three ways. You should inspect them to a very high pedantic standard when they're brand new and when you've got a golden thread of information available. When you're dealing with existing fire doors that have never been potentially inspected before to such a high standard, you’ve got to be a bit more pragmatic, not least because you probably don't have a golden thread of information available for it, and you've got to look at whether it's fit for purpose, whether it's suitable and sufficient for its location to meet various fire safety standards. 

So that is quite a complex procedure, and it depends on the type of door, the location of the door, the type of building, the risk of the building, loads of factors. And then a type 3 inspection is when a door has already been either type 1 or type 2 inspected. So a type 3 inspection is basically a functional PPM inspection looking to maintain the standard of that fire door that has previously been type 1 or type 2 inspected and deemed to be satisfactory for its location. So that in a nutshell is what the reference document contains. It also has a Section 4, which is to do with holistic fire door management of an organisation or a building, because obviously fire door inspection is only one component of it. You've got to ensure that they've been designed as intended, that they've been procured as intended, that they've been installed as intended, and then they get managed and maintained for the life of the door and the life of the building.

GEORGE Overall what we're trying to do is to also come up with potentially a standardised set of inspection procedures that can be provided in different software templates, for example, for different applications to use so that can be an explicit set of instructions. So for example, in the PFI world that we're heavily involved with, there's standards which you might be aware of, the SFG 20 standards. SFG20 is developed by BESA (the Building and Engineering Services Association) and those are explicit sets of tasks that you can then have a record against. One of my suggestions is that for all three stages is it possible to come up with a similar type of thing. (shares screen). This is the work instruction and it includes…basically core competency for facility manager doing a check. This is a 1 month inspection expected to take 15 minutes. There's a whole range of different guidance notes and things like that, legislation connection. But this is what would normally go into something like Maximo or a Concept or Planet. So this is the actions that need to be done to a door leaf, frame, looking at it from an operations point of view, glazing, and any obstructions or whatever. I'm hoping that we could perhaps come up with something like that, that would be a reasonable output from this.  

ALAN OLIVER I think that would be relevant to a type 3 inspection because I don't think there's any invasive elements to that. GEORGE Agreed. My suggestion is that we might be able to follow…is there a similar methodology that we could do for inspecting a newly installed door? ALAN OLIVER The methodology is given in the reference document, it’s based on the way that BRE LPCB themselves Inspect a brand-new door which does involve invasive elements to it. 

GEORGE I guess what I'm saying is that if what we're going to be asking you to do in the group, we’re going to break into four groups and in each of those groups…we’re going to ask you to go into the group you’ve elected to go to or we’ve put you in and click on the link in the chat. It will open up a new Teams session. In each group we’ve sent to you the text that is in the guidance document. What we'd like you to do is look at the text to see if the text is acceptable from your point of view for fire door inspection for either type 1, 2, 3, or 4 activity. So what we would ask you to do is spend half an hour looking collectively at the text. And then when you return we can then discuss any comments people have got. 

(Participants return from their groups to this main meeting). 

ALAN OLIVER Our group got on really well and had a good consensus. We all agreed that again there has got to be a change in emphasis and you know there has got to be additional words to take into account that it's got to be fit for purpose for housing. We mentioned composite doors and the fact that composite doors are not in the original healthcare document because they don't really exist in healthcare. But you know, that's an elephant in the room we can't ignore. I don't think there's anyone in Group 2 that was an expert on composite doors or there wasn't certainly anyone willing to take the lead on the required words for composite doors. But if we have a composite door manufacturer amongst the overall group that could be really useful. Steel doors are mentioned in the current healthcare document, but certainly we would want steel reviewed in terms of housing as well. 

GEORGE Well, I don't know about anybody else, but that was a real learning experience for me. Alan, how did your group go? 

ALAN OLIVER It went very well. I think we all understood that type 2 fire door inspections is very difficult. And we were all in agreement that you need a higher level of expertise probably than in any other type because it's quite challenging in that you're dealing with an unknown door, you won't have any golden thread of information and yet you've got to try and assess its fire performance. And we were talking about the practicalities of doing that in a typical housing block and in particular concerns over the required skill set and whether that level of skill will be available. But in terms of best practice, we have got to assume that doors will be type 2 inspected to the required level of competence. But competence was certainly discussed a lot. What we agreed in terms of actions is that I would continue to be the leader of group 2. I did try to get someone else to volunteer, but everyone said how busy they are, which I fully understand. So I said the first action, if everyone could e-mail me their thoughts and any additions in terms of words or alterations in terms of words. And then as soon as that can be done, I look to include everybody's thoughts and comments and create a new draught version of type 2 inspections and then we'll go forward with that.

GEORGE Cool. As far as group 1’s concerned, what we identified was that there's two sections to your document, Alan. One is the introductory sort of page and a half, general to all the asset types. The point that that Sharon McClure was making was that this page here (displays document on screen), the first page, up to the establishing competence, that’s all really about making sure that the responsible party has got the right quality of information from whatever's being installed, not just fire doors. So that's something that we're concerned about, and also that this regular audits thing, there's a concern that it could be taken that having the regular audits that that's all fine, it’s happening. Whereas what Sharon was saying was that that needs to be far more controlled, so the responsible person needs to have been aware not just that the audits have been carried out, but more importantly, have they actually…how many have passed? Because that's an issue. Then what we've got moving down from here, this is more about the individual checks, and this is something that I think that Danny, who is from one of the door manufacturers, said that they've already got a passport process that they operate which captures this information for the landlord that can then be inspected. 

So what he's agreed to do is go away and look at the things that they have in their passport to make sure that they're covered in here and maybe anything that they cover that isn't in here can then be added in, which I think is a good way forward. So that’s my feedback and he's willing to share that. So if Jim Hannon and others who are installing doors as well. I think Jeremy, you might have other ways that you use as checklists to do the validation which I think that we should be doing here. The other question was that if the installer is a qualified installer does the door need to be inspected by an independent.

IAN CAVANAGH On section 1, type 1 compliance inspections of new fire doors. The wording there, if a fire door and door set is installed in a third-party certification schemes blah blah blah. Effectively that's inferring that third party certified installation will generally be acceptable. Now, I mean this with no disrespect to any third-party certified installer who is in this group, but I've been doing this job now for knocking on 10 years and I've got two guys that work under me who also inspect sites. When it comes to a new build site, a new installation, we are yet to visit a compliant install. As an interested body, but also a body with, I would suggest, some influence, I personally feel that third party certification is great, it’s a step in the right direction. What we really need, not just for fire doors but for any fire component and any critical components that go into a building, installers should be individually qualified. I'm sure none of the people in this group would permit a plumber who says I know a bit about gas boilers. You wouldn't let someone like that fit a new boiler for you or work on your boiler that had broken down. I think as a body we should be pushing for individual qualifications. The qualifications exist, they’ve existed for a long time, but they're not taken on. It's that old thing, qualifications and training are expensive, but they're not as expensive as doing it incorrectly.

GEORGE I agree. I was talking to a Council last week, they’re replacing 3 1/2 thousand fire doors and I believe by people who are qualified, and yet they've found less than 20% of them are compliant. What I'm suggesting is possibly the only way of really doing this, at the moment until the industry upskills and is adequately competent, maybe it is the case that all fire doors, all new installs have to be audited or inspected by an independent. Is that too far? 

IAN CAVANAGH I don’t believe it is. I believe in all instances. I work for a number of clients, I suppose you would call us the unofficial clerk of works. We check literally every new install because they’re not confident of the certified installers. GEORGE So that might be a takeaway from this, maybe something that we suggest. Does anybody on the manufacturing side or anybody else have a view on that? 

ANDY DAVIDSON Ian does the same training as me with the installation training and Ian didn't say but there is a national occupational standard for installing the fire doors. So, Ian is correct in everything he says but I think everybody individual should be trained. I think that is the way forward because we can't not train people and then just say we're going to inspect everything. I think we need to do both. 

SHARON McCLURE Ian’s comments, no one took offence, Ian, because the conversation we're having in Group one was the concern that the document that's been created. If someone reads that they're more or less saying that they've ticked a box because they've got a third-party certified scheme member and because there's been some inverted commas ‘audits’, there's a false comfort that the audits will have given you the green light. And the perception versus reality is that we are sitting on the other side of the fence. I’m a third-party certified installer for passive fire products and everyone was probably nodding their head to yourself when you were making that comment. Anybody who's actually on the site knows where the deficiencies are. We are creating a document for people who are going to be sitting on the other side of the fence receiving these buildings and what we don't want to have is a statement at the beginning of any documentation that we've been privy to leading people into that false sense of security. The third-party certified schemes are not fit for purpose. 

The ASFP are trying to go through the whole skills, knowledge, experience, behaviour and they're trying to have individuals competent as well as the management staff who are controlling their works and their conversation was primarily exactly as you said. And the work that needs to be done in all the properties just now across the UK, there's far more work than there are competent people to do that work. The projects won't stop, the projects will proceed. What they may do is they may just take the people who are available to do those works. So, the inspection regime becomes far more critical if that's the case because there's not enough people who know what they're doing, been asked to do the work that we are now banding as, and quite rightly, life safety.

ALAN OLIVER Sharon, I agree with every word that you’ve said. And if you believe that the words in the healthcare document are not strong enough, I mean it does at the moment say that it may be prudent for those responsible for the building handover, preferably at an early stage in the installation process, to do spot cheques to verify that everything is to the scheme standard. But if you want to spell out that everything in the garden isn't rosy and that there are a number of third-party schemes that are not as good as they should be or as you would like them. And the devil's always in the detail, people need to be understood that different third party schemes worked at different standards. That's what this is all about, we need to be putting these words in, Sharon. So I would welcome your thoughts on how we can put the words into this document that you believe are as they should be. 

SHARON McCLURE I think if the system was fit for purpose, the text as it's showing just now, I would have less of an issue with. I don't want people who are on the other side of utopia, who don't see us for the flaws that we have, reading a document and getting cold comfort because it's not going to stand up. Whereas if we are doing the pincer movement just now, which is trying to educate people that are building users, we're also trying to raise standards for installers and inspectors, for everything across the board before it actually gets to be handed over. Until that language is appropriate for the systems that are in place, I think we have to air on the side of caution and make it clearer that in an ideal world if A,B and C are carried out to the full extent of blah blah blah then you have an appropriate building. But I just think that some of the documentation could lead people into a false sense of security.

GEORGE Group 3 which was the ongoing maintenance it, can somebody talk from that perspective? 

STEVE ALDRIDGE I think from our perspective from the ongoing one it really boiled down to simplicity. These have got to be, the major checks with the fire door should have been done beforehand and now we're going round to check that the door is effectively operational. Is it going to do what it's been designed to do? And that needs to be quite simple. But is the checks in place to make sure that, because we know what, with all due respect to any clients on here, some of my clients will take the cheapest option available to them. And if the cheapest option is to have a regular quick fire door check, they will take that. But if they haven't had the check done prior to that what they're actually checking is irrelevant. So it’s kind of the golden thread where from my perspective a building should be handed over as compliant to whoever's done that and that then hands down to the regular maintenance for the people that are in control of that building that can then go in and do their check to make sure that that door is operational, and that needs to be quite a simple check. 

GEORGE So to achieve what we're trying to do on this particular task, Steve, which is really use the wording that's come from the NHS document broadly, did you get a chance to look at that or is that something that's the next step? STEVE ALDRIDGE It’s the next step for us to go through that. GEORGE OK. Does anybody else in group 3 have an observation? 

JIM HANNON I suppose from my point of view it’s the whole where you’ve got weekly checks being done using the existing trained staff within that organisation. Paul was talking about the way he does it within his organisation and it sounds really good, really robust. But from my point of view with an ongoing inspection is there a plan for a certified inspection to be done, I don't know, every 12 months. So, it's sort of longer term, like an MOT type basis, once a year by a certified person. I just find all the conversations are really good and I think everyone sort of coming up with really good comments. I just think the construction industry has just gone to a mess. The old-fashioned clerk of works, you know that when I was on the tools was a pain in the backside, they’re just not there anymore. Building control, people that really knew their stuff and not there. And I think everyone on this group is saying the right things. But it's design and build and it's the actual knowledge with the people that are on site managing the projects. And again, I’m not giving an answer to it…it’s the bigger picture of construction. It’s lost a lot of what it had. Maybe I’m wearing rose-coloured glasses, but it’s lost a lot of what it’s been over the last many years. 

RICHARD (Group 4 feedback). Ours is a bit different from all the others in that you guys were talking about how whereas ours was more about what. Also, we didn’t have as many pages to cover as you did. For that reason, we’ve gone through it line-by-line. Broadly and overall, yeah absolutely, we agree with pretty much everything. One of the first things that came out, it talks about fire doors, we were unanimous that it should be talking about fire door set because to include, particularly in this situation when you’re talking about moving forward. A few points: 4.1, we need to budgets and timings first before we could actually set a plan, but it’s chicken and egg really. And also economies of scale will come in. 4.2 fine. 4.3 it doesn’t really go into competence there and the competence needs to be ensured of the key players. 4.4 just a typo, it mentions outpatient area, that obviously needs changing. 4.5 - 4.8 all fine. 4.9 We had a little bit of a disagreement on this one. A couple of people were very strong that it does require ongoing PBM because at any point it might have external intervention, for example electrician and wall. 

But then someone else pointed out, yes, but if you look at the wording that's kind of covered. So I'm raising it just because maybe it's not as clear as it should be. 4.10 about the fire door training, that needs to be for everyone, it needs to be stressed it’s not just tenants. It’s appropriate training for anybody training for the role, encouraging staff and making a culture change for those staff. Nobody knows more about those doors on a daily basis that the cleaners, but they need to be encouraged and it needs to be easy small faults. They need to have enough knowledge to know that it’s relevant, to check at least. 

ALAN OLIVER I just wanted to point out, I’m sorry if I’m stating the obvious, but people looking at changing the words or adding words for type 3 and for the Section 4, the big thing in my opinion that's missing at the moment that wasn't relevant to healthcare, and especially when it was written a couple of years ago, is the new Fire Safety England regs. Any fire door management scheme for housing going forward has got to take into account Fire Safety England, that's mandatory, and it's the same type 3 now. Nobody's mentioned that and that is a big thing that's got to be addressed. Everyone's got to understand that there are lots of words currently missing and Fire Safety England has got to be written in there. 

RICHARD Yeah, I think though right at the top of this section you talked about making the plan. I think it’s literally a question of in regards to Fire safety England. It’s framing the context, isn’t it?

GEORGE Within our group here do we have people that have got the expertise and the knowledge of the Fire Safety England new legislation that could contribute to that?

JEREMY MALET I’m willing to assist you on that, George.  PAUL BRAY I’d be interested in assisting with that as well. GEORGE I think if Jeremy and Paul could get together on that, that would be really helpful. OK, we're coming to the end. I don't think we've cracked all of this yet, which is amazing. I thought we’d…I didn’t really think we would. Do people think that what we've been doing here is a worthwhile thing to start to move towards? (The response is ‘absolutely’). Paul Coleclough, you’re from Trafford. I've heard very positive things over the last couple of years about Trafford and obviously it was Pete Patton that plugged me into you. Do you feel that what we're doing here is something that you you'd be happy to continue to contribute to? PAUL COLECLOUGH Yes, certainly. 

GEORGE I think that if people could now, you can see the importance of the documentation or the words as it were. So I urge you to maybe take another look at those and maybe modify them if needs be so that we can actually produce at least a draught that we can then start to share with people. And then also the other thing that’s missing is a photographs and images. I think it was Paul actually that provided some really good examples. have you got them available? PAUL COLECLOUGH Yeah, just a report from Zetasafe. We’re having our front entrance door inspections taking place as I speak now. So yeah, I’ve got some photographs there I can certainly send over to you. I've also got some communal door pictures as well, which are really good as well, some of them. 

GEORGE I’ll just show you what Paul’s sent me. This is in an application called Zetasafe which presumably you could provide access to this data. It’s saying it’s copyright of Zetasafe, but I guess at the end of the day I guess it’s yours, isn’t it? So could this information be made accessible in a machine-readable form rather than just a PDF do you think? 

PAUL COLECLOUGH Yeah, you can have it as an Excel spreadsheet. I get 2 reports. I get one with the pictures and then I get a separate Excel spreadsheet just highlighting which makes it a little bit more easier on the eye, especially when you're forwarding it onto the relevant departments to take care of the repairs. So what I've done at the moment is because there's still a little bit of work to do around the business as usual. So in the ideal world you would like an automated system where you go out to site, you identify repair, and then that automatically raises that repair within the housing system and the relevant department, given the risk level. So if there was s door closer missing you’d have that as a kind of immediate action. In the ideal world that’s what we’d like, but at the moment we're kind of getting these weekly reports through. I've got them the reports of the individual tower blocks. So basically I'm just kind of completing the communal inspections and then basically sending the repairs over as a job lot, raising one job underneath that specific block, the repairs operative to go out there and basically crash off. I think one of the blocks had 11 repairs in one tower block. So literally they were like adjust doorkeeper, adjust door closer, really small repairs. Literally the joiner could take care of them within a few hours, basically five or six hours. So one block obviously you get the odd repair that requires a little bit more time. But that’s where we’re at the moment. Ideally, going forward, I’d like an automated system which obviously will cost money and time as well to put that into place. I'm sure most organisations have got the same kind of issue really. It’s going well, we’ve got it off the ground. Plenty of work to do, that's for sure. 

TOM FOXWELL Thank you for letting me come and join the group. What I'm trying to find out is you go do your inspections, the inspectors are certified inspectors. They find problems with the doors and like Paul was saying, you now have to make corrections or repairs. Once the repairs have been done, do you reinspect the door? In other words, you've inspected it, found the deficiencies, you've corrected the deficiencies. We don't know who corrected it. Is that a certified installer correcting it, or is that just the maintenance guy running off and taking care of it? So that door then needs to be reinspected so that all the doors end up with a valid inspection form. 

PAUL COLECLOUGH That’s a good point, Tom. From our perspective, from the flat entrance doors we have got certified contractor. We don't actually at the moment go back and reinspect that. I suppose going forward you take a percentage maybe rather than all of them, but anyway that would be up for discussion. But regarding the communal doors, we're kind of looking at our in-house, not like a certified contractor as such, mainly our in-house repairs team who are not FIRAS accredited. There’s an element of trust there. Like I say, there’s no harm in maybe doing a small percentage, maybe 5% or even less, just as a little taster to show you’re doing the odd check here and there. 

IAN CAVANAGH Absolutely, on occasion. But the old adage, who checks the checker. Are you gonna go and check that the person that went out and verified it has verified it correctly? Where do you stop? 

GEORGE Ian, can I just clarify my understanding of what you're saying? So when we're talking maybe about somebody, you know, a Council replacing 1,000 fire doors, for example. IAN CAVANAGH No, but Paul wasn't referring to that. GEORGE You're talking about just maintenance and fixing. IAN If it's an apartment entrance door that wasn't closing fully and someone went out and remediated it. In our surveys and reports we deem that to be P1, priority one. If a door doesn’t close fully then it’s an urgent requirement. So if you’ve got a priority one repair maybe that's one that you would want to verify, and just go out and make sure, yes, the door is closing. But in general I just don't think it's feasible or required.

KEITH JAMES It’s a question that might turn into a suggestion, I don’t know. Is there a concept of compromising a complete fire zone because there's a failure within it? So if one of the doors in a corridor with 10 doors fails, is there a concept of saying that the whole fire zone has failed until everything in it is up to scratch? IAN CAVANAGH I think that depends on each individual application, I suppose. And it depends on what the failure or the noncompliance is. I don't think it's a simple solution or statement. RICHARD Well, if one of the doors in a corridor it fails then surely that compartment of that corridor is then failing. IAN It’s compromised, but it depends what the failure is doesn't it? It depends what the noncompliance is and you go back to the risk-based argument don't you? What is the risk posed by that potential noncompliance? 

ALAN OLIVER It comes back to what level of fire compliance is required. If it’s a critical care or a theatre unit in a hospital, that could be a major issue. But the reality is that as soon as fire doors are inspected and maintained, whatever, if somebody bashes it it's not 100%. So what level of fire compliance is required.

KEITH JAMES One more question. We’ve come across a concept in FM of the period of inspection differing according to the location. So a busy corridor might have a monthly inspection and sign off, but in a quiet corridor at the back end they sort of go back to two or three months. Is that an accepted procedure? And who determines…there's a formal determination as to the frequency of various fire zones. 

IAN CAVANAGH Well, the stated frequency as far as I'm aware, the only stated statutory guidance is all fire doors should be inspected every 6 months. But again, it's a risk-based thing isn't it? I mean, I've got some clients that I visit on a 6 monthly basis and other than the people who go to look at the fire dampers, or perhaps the electrical distribution boards, I know that I'm the only person that's opened that door in the last 6 months. So realistically, while 6 month is the inspection period that is determined by the client, in this particular case, realistically it could easily be 12 months because that door is never used. Now, when you look at a busy hospital street, they're the main corridors in hospitals, particularly ones where you've got the porters going with the beds, their refuse trucks and all that sort of stuff. A pair of doors in a busy street, realistically that can change dramatically from one day to the next. So again, it’s a risk-based thing. 

PAUL BRAY Fire Safety England regulations do specify time scales for inspections of fire doors in buildings over 11 metres. It talks about 12 months for fire doors for blocks of flats as a minimum, no more than every 12 months, for communal doors every 3 months in buildings over 11 metres. And then it talks about basic guidance. And that’s a bit I mentioned in our group where I was frustrated by the government not giving a timescale for buildings under 11 metres because that leads to a interpretation by the responsible person that could be more than 12 months, or a time period which would allow. So there is statutory guidance in the regulations. 

IAN CAVANAGH Yeah, but the new regulations are a bit of a step back, really, in that there’s no requirement there for competence. PAUL BRAY I think it's implied when you link it right back to the fire safety order, the responsible person should employ a competent person to assist them in fulfilling their duties under the fire safety order legislation. The fire safety order was amended by the Fire Safety Act and then the Fire Safety England regulations come from the Fire Safety Act. It's all linked, so you could find, you might consider it tenuous but there is a link about employing competent persons. IAN I would say very tenuous, personally. 

PAUL BRAY Yeah, but when you're in a court of law and you haven’t employed a competent person to do that work for you, that's when everything will fall down. And this unfortunately is when these things occur is when it ends up in coroners court or an enquiry. But unfortunately, sometimes that's the only motivator for people that maybe don't focus on health and safety as a primary consideration for their organisation. 

GEORGE OK. I've let it run over because quite frankly I think the knowledge sharing that was going on here is principally why we're here. So I hope that was OK and obviously some people have had to drop off which is very understandable. I'd personally like to thank you for the effort that you've put in. We're all volunteers, so I'm trying to work the best way of taking respect of your time. The next step is for us to maybe if we could each take a look at the wording in the draught document. And as we were saying earlier, a lot of it is relatively straightforward to say what the tasks are. If people have already got, like Danny, if you've already got methods that you use already and ιf you could look at procedures and tasks that you do as your checks. If you could compare what you do with what is in Alan’s guidance and comment on that, I think that would be valuable. We can organise another meeting in a couple of weeks time.

Finally, if you’e aware of anybody that is knowledgeable on some of the other key asset types. I'm thinking things like smoke vents, penetration seals. And also when I say smoke vents, I mean smoke control, which would include dampers and things like that. We've got a session next Tuesday on that. And if you know anybody through your community that specialises in those areas, that would be really helpful if you could put them in touch with us. The other one is penetration seals we want to look at because these are all elements that go to make up the other parts of the compartment, which I think is critical. The other one is fire alarms and the other key asset types. This includes AOVs, in fact the AOV one, that’s the one that we’re starting next Tuesday. One of the manufacturers is involved in that, and also we’ve got Swegon as well who make dampers and things like that. 

ADDENDUM

CHAT 

Paul Bray

Hello Ian, what are the qualifications and who provides this. We use BMTRADA certification and our installers are checked by the certificated inspector, who has provided them with the necessary training. I would support individual training to support the 3rd party accreditation

Ian Cavanagh

There is an NVQ module available. You will find details on my website. https://independentfire.co.uk/ in the academy pages.

Paul Bray

Thanks Ian, I will check this out. 

Otis Baptiste

Fire safety England, is this linked to Building Regulations 2010 and Regulation 38 amendment. 

Paul Bray

Hello Otis, not really, it comes from the Grenfell Tower inquiry Phase 1 enquiry and supports the recommendations made, and the Fire Safety Act. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-england-regulations-2022 , there are a number of guidance notes published by the government Regulation 10 refers to fire doors

Fire safety England regs give a stated timescale