BIM4HOUSING FIRE DOOR INSPECTION WORKSTREAM MEETING 03-02-2023

BIM4HOUSING FIRE DOOR INSPECTION WORKSTREAM MEETING 03-02-2023

GEORGE Looking at things like sustainability and also fire safety, modern methods of construction, various other different elements. So this activity is very much part of the fire safety workstream and over the last two or three years some of you have contributed to the roundtable workshops that we've done. And we've produced quite a lot of guidance which is basically distilling the knowledge and experience of the people that have been willing to give up their time and we've got some pretty good information there that has been fed through to the government and is also there to inform that the work that's going on with the safety case. As part of this the work that’s going on at the moment, a lot of councils, local authorities and housing associations are very focused on getting the information in place for the secure information boxes for last week or whenever it was, and very few people have got them completely in place in my experience. But I think we're on a journey and one of the things that is clear is that the information that is going into the SIBs as they're called, secure information boxes, for anybody that knows them as premises information boxes, the term ‘premises’ has been copyrighted by Gerda.

But that is performing a particular function. For example, on the fire plans there's just the location of a fire door, not what it's rating is, not what it's condition is, not what the wall is that it's going into, or anything of those natures. Now that information isn't of interest, as I understand it to the fire authorities. Paul Bray is here and Paul's a former firefighter, so he can probably confirm that. But the principle of the information that's going into the SIBs is really at one level, but from a safety case perspective and an overall fire strategy perspective we need to be able to add additional information. So that's the sort of approach that we've been taking. The reason this particular session has been set up is that the results of the survey and all the activity that's going on around fire doors is going to lead to some levels of replacement and remediation or whatever. So it seemed to make sense to to look at things from a point of view of having clearer guidance that becomes more standardised of different inspections. And I was introduced a couple of months ago to Alan Oliver. Apart from this stuff we do in housing a lot of what we do is with the large FM contractors like Mighty Sodexo, Skanska, Equans in hospitals.

Alan ran a course where he was training the in-house Sodexo people in how to inspect fire doors and he was basing it on work that he's done with the NHS to have a standardised methodology of doing fire door inspections. He was interested to see if some of the work that he's done in that area could be applied to residential. So we've established this workstream to really look at what Alan and the NHS have done in the past and then see how we can basically rob what we can from it and turn it into something that could be useful from our perspective.

ALAN OLIVER The reference document, which George is referring to, which I think you've all had a copy of it. What it basically says is that there should be 3 different ways of inspecting a fire door depending on where the fire door is in terms of its life and what you want to achieve with it. So it should be quite easy to grasp. The reference document is set up in basically 4 sections. The first section is how to inspect fire doors when they're brand new and that is saying basically you've got to inspect it very, very prescriptively. In terms of its fire performance, if you were taking ownership of a new building, a new hospital, could be a new block of flats or whatever, you should be looking to ensure that those fire doors have been installed as they were intended as they were designed as they were fire tested. So it should be a very, very prescriptive inspection of those doors, which will include invasive elements, ensuring that what has actually been installed is in keeping with the fire test evidence and the fire door manufacturing installation details and specification. So you've got to bear in mind that a type one inspection only takes place once in the life of a door and it's focused on its fire performance.

Is this fire door as it should be? It’s as simple as that and it's a very straightforward process because you've got all the information on that door. You've got this golden thread of information and this is part of the process for the handover of the doors for the handover of the building to make sure that what has been delivered and what’s been installed is as it should be. So. So I hope that's a fairly straightforward explanation as to what a type 1 inspection is all about. A type 2 inspection is when you're inspecting a door that's already been installed. This door might have been where it's been for 10 years, 20 years or more, and chances are that door has never been inspected to the standard it should have been. You know, it should have been. It should have had a type 1 inspection when it was installed, but we know, don't we, that most doors have not had that degree of rigour and if the doors been there for 20 years, chances are there isn't a golden thread of information on that door in terms of its fire performance and whether it's fire performance - as it is, not as it was intended or designed, but as it was actually installed - whether that is suitable and sufficient for its location. Even going back to the basics, is it of the right material? Is it a fire door? And so a type 2 inspection is when you're understanding that you don't have all the information on that door, but you need a golden thread of information and you need to assess what its fire performance is so.

So that is a type 2 inspection which is very much like a type 1 inspection, apart from the fact that it can has to be more pragmatic and flexible, purely because that golden thread of information on that door doesn't exist. So what you're trying to do, you’re doing like a Miss Marple on the door, you're doing a Sherlock Holmes, you're trying to work out what that door is. Is it a fire door? Are there characteristics of that door that can give an expert some sort of guidance as to whether it actually is a fire door and what its capabilities and its fire performance might be. And if there are any sort of weak spots, if there are any potential sort of issues that you need to understand to determine and assess whether that fire door is suitable and sufficient for its location. And the location of the door is very, very special when it comes to a type 2 inspection because a type 2 inspection allows you, it doesn't have to comply with the building regulations. It doesn't have to be a perfect fire door, as it was designed and tested. It's got to be suitable and sufficient for its location, which means there's an element of risk management. This is when the fire risk assessor responsible for the building can use his judgment or her judgment to say this door is OK in terms of its fire performance.

So sorry if that's a little bit complicated, that’s because it's not a straightforward process to do a type 2 inspection because you haven't got this golden thread of information very often. And again, you only undertake a type 2 inspection once in the doors life because you're focusing on its fire performance and you're creating this golden thread of information. So once a door’s has a type 1 or a type 2 inspection, it then has a type 3 inspection. And that's an ongoing PPM inspection. That's the sort of inspection required, for example, under the new Fire Safety England regulations. So a type 3 inspection is done on a regular basis. It might have to be done every 6 months, it might have to be done every 12 months, depending on the level of risk, depending on what the legislation says. So those are the three sections.

It was actually the NFCC who said to me when they were peer reviewing the health care version, that this is a great document and can be used on every door in the country because 90% of what is contained here is applicable to every fire door in the country. So what we need to do with the document, if everyone is happy to go ahead with it, is strip out the health care stuff, the 10% of dedicated healthcare stuff, and add into it he 10% of dedicated housing stuff. And then we should have a reference document focused on fire doors in housing, and I see no reason why we couldn't get this NFCC approved as well. There are 3 sections of the book. Section 1 is type 1 inspections, section 2 is type 2 inspections, section 3 is ongoing type 3 PPM inspections. And then section 4 is about how to create a fire door management system because fire door inspections is only one part of managing fire doors. You’ve got to have systems in place for procuring the doors correctly, for installing the doors correctly and for maintaining the doors correctly because a type 3 inspection can flag up issues with that door. But you've then got have processes and systems in place for ensuring that those doors then get maintained and remediated using the correct materials and hopefully that you can maintain some level of third party certification.

Now the interesting thing about the reference document and type 2 inspections is that they were based on guidance given by BRE LPCB because under their scheme LPS 1197 you can third party certify doors that are being inspected under that scheme and you can also remediate doors under that scheme. So even if you've got doors that no one knows who made them and how old they are, potentially there are doors that can be third party certified under this scheme, which is very attractive. Which is why the reference document is based on BRE standards and not others such as BM Trada which do not allow you to certify doors that have previously not been certified, or where the certification has lapsed, which I believe is very, very useful. It’s certainly useful in hospitals because otherwise you'd have to rip out thousands of doors in hospitals and it's not affordable. So that that is an overview of the reference document and hopefully gives you an idea as to what we can do with it.

GEORGE What we’ve found over the last two or three years when we've been running the round table workshops is that when you get a group of subject matter experts like we've got here around the table, they don't always agree. What happens is that you draw out from that the things that they do agree about and things that they want to challenge and question. Everybody’s got a perspective on things and certainly one of the key things that we've found is that it’s all a matter of context. The thing I find very regularly when I ask what information do we need, I’m told ‘it depends’. And it depends on the whole range of different circumstances. So what I'm hoping that we can achieve from this activity, what we're planning to do is run a series of workshops over the next month or so where we bring people together who do have the profound experience (like you guys and Alan) so that we can come up with something that is actually useful. Because one of the things that I keep getting told is that there's no requirement for a fire door inspection to be done by somebody that's qualified. And therefore I think whatever we can do in terms of filling that gap would be useful. So the purpose of today is to really discuss between us how that particular process might work out.

What Alan and I have been thinking about is that…in our community here we've got people who have come from landlords, people who are manufacturers of fire doors, people that are fabricators and installers, we’ve got several people who are inspectors of fire doors and so therefore we've got quite a rich set of different stakeholder groups. And what we were thinking was that maybe we look at the the different types that Alan’s just set out there and say, for example, it might be the manufacturers and installers who look at the type 1 surveys and then maybe from an asset management point of view, then somebody else is doing the type 2's or type 3’s.

ALAN BROWN (Forza Doors) As a manufacturer of fire doors just need to try and piece together your thoughts on the requirement of a manufacturer to ensure that the primary test evidence that is carried out is the key element that has to be the thread that starts the journey. And so I understand your language, is that the the door, the frame and the ironmongery that has been tested in a primary testing laboratory is what then needs to be the starting point of this journey?

ALAN OLIVER Yes, when I was saying fire door, I meant a fire door set. Clearly the door has got to be tested and I would imagine that…as you know you either assemble a door from different components and you've got to ensure that everything's compatible and it's all been fire tested and that you’ve got a complete golden thread of information. Or you buy it from someone like yourself, Alan, as a complete door set where you've done all the certification and all the testing of all the different components. It doesn't really matter which approach you take, whether you buy as a complete door set from a manufacturer or whether you look to assemble it, but clearly someone has got to take responsibility at handover that the door has been installed to comply with the building regulations and all the other regulatory requirements in terms of its fire performance.

ALAN BROWN Thank you for clarifying that, which is exactly what I was gonna hope you're gonna say. So a bit of follow up question: is the supporting structure it goes into as important as those other elements?

ALAN OLIVER Absolutely. That's another thing. And it's mentioned in the reference document, as you know, Alan, a lot of doors have been interested in furnaces in block walls and then people are taking those doors and installing them into dry lined walls where there might not be any test evidence. So yes, when we say the installation of a fire door and ensuring that it's right, we're also taking into account the surrounding structure of that door.

ALAN BROWN Good. In my mind, it's incumbent upon the manufacturers to be able to supply the specialist trades contractors the road map of exactly what has been tested in what supporting structure and give complete guidance notes on the certificate that is attached to every door that goes out, fire door, and an installation guide that tells the contractor how to fit that particular door. Would that be something that you would be saying is the right methodology for manufacturers to take?

ALAN OLIVER No, absolutely. But don't forget, Alan, this this reference document is how to inspect doors. Obviously there is an overlap between installing it correctly, but what we're saying is every door, someone has got to take responsibility for signing off that door. It could be the installer if they're in the third party scheme or it could be a BRE or a BM Trada inspector. It could be an FDIS inspector, it could be a number of people providing they are competent. And competent is a massive word these days, isn't it? Someone has got to be competent to say I've inspected that door and that door is compliant and everything is as it should be, which would include things like the surrounding structure.

ALAN BROWN What we're saying is a manufacturer and the inspector need to be joined up. The inspector needs to inspect the door set based upon the manufacturer's primary test evidence and that's the starting point of it all in many respects.

ALAN OLIVER Absolutely. And this information in an ideal world should be recorded electronically to comply with the recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt, of course.

ALAN BROWN And fi that door has the embedded technology within it when it leaves the factory of exactly what the specification and test data is, so much the better as well.

GEORGE Can I just flag up, Alan, with that, I agree with you that that element of it is critical, but one of the things we do need to have a conversation is the importance of that information being open and available to the landlord. The reason I say that is that what we’re currently finding is the enthusiasm of the golden thread is really encouraging, but we're ending up in situations where the landlord has got a dozen different databases that they've got information that has either been provided by a fire door inspector or a different manufacturers. It may be that you've done some of the doors in a block and then somebody else has done others so they can end up with several different applications that they've got to work with. And I think although those applications are great because they're adding a lot of value, particularly to the people that are using the things (and certainly it's the case with the fire door inspection applications) we still need to make sure that the essential information is available in a more generic way. We're finding that we're having so many bloody golden threads that it can be overwhelming.

A Council said to me this morning when we were discussing this, that what we're having is that we're getting the apps and are replacing all the different spreadsheets that people are working with and we need to be able to draw these things together.

ALAN OLIVER Yes. I'm not quite sure what the answer is to that because some organisations want everything standardised in one system for their fire doors, their fire dampers etc. so I don't really think there's there's an answer. I think you can sort of recommend systems and try and standardise on them, but that is a clear weak spot in in this golden thread of information, the fact that there are so many apps and systems out there.

GEORGE Yeah, my recommendation to people is it's not a matter of the fact that there's different apps because that's always going to be the case. And in fact I think it's going to grow, just like it does in the rest of the ecosystem. What we need to do is make sure that the data is accessible to the right people with the right type of security against it. But it shouldn’t be the case that a landlord ends up having to be registered in 15 or 20 different applications.

ALAN BROWN I'm not disagreeing with that in any way, shape or form. The beauty of technology is that products should cross over…passive fire products under one umbrella, so that there's a common thread running through a building. But you're right, there certainly needs to be some generic data that's put in that covers as many a product as is possible. And in some respects that starts at the architect stage and NBS and MBS having a role in this as well.

NEVILLE TOMBLIN You've got the manufacturers data and then you find, particularly in I'm seeing in design and build that I'm getting involved in at the back end when they're trying to get it handed over, that they've actually installed a door set into a compartment wall but they've installed it and there's no test data that supports what they've installed it into. Which was the comment that was made earlier on about installing doors into a plasterboard partitions when the test date is all around block partitions.

GEORGE Let’s see what people's thoughts are on that, because I can understand it. One of the challenges, this is the feedback I've had, is that the cost of doing the tests is substantial and therefore testing a door in all of the different types of walls that it would go into is a bit of a challenge. I understand that's a bit of a barrier.

NEVILLE TOMBLIN I think it depends. What we did, George, is we're replacing I think something like about 20,000 doors across the stock and we've got a mixture of block work, concrete structure and plasterboard partitions. And we've actually costed for testing in each situation so that the manufacturers providing our doors has actually got the test data for each of those scenarios which we effectively own. Which is great when we're dealing with our existing stock when we're retrofitting, the issue that I find difficult is when you've got a design and build contractor who decides to swan off and basically almost do his own thing.

SIMON KELLY We supply cores/cause? 29mins 34secs into the manufacturing process of fire doors. From a house band perspective in terms of supply, we’re pretty much testing all the time, it is expensive. But we are aware, as I'm sure all all door manufacturers are aware, the more test data you can have the more applications and the more you can satisfy your clients in terms of ensuring that your doors are going to stand up in the worst case scenario.

JIM HANNON. We make fire doors, yes. I think the biggest problem is people understanding the test data, a mixture really. Some manufacturers not willing to share their test data. A lot of clients not really understanding the test data when they are giving it in its entirety. It’s trying to turn that into a document that you can provide to the client with the backup report if need be, and I think it's about testing the product in the most onerous situations really so that you're covered as far as you possibly can and working with the test house to try to make sure that you've got all the eventualities covered. So I don't think there's any one quick answer. I think the fire door manufacturing is historically a little bit cloak and dagger at times when it comes to the test evidence and I think that's changing, but there's still a reluctance for people to share that and the understanding of them reports when they are given to clients.

GEORGE Yeah, what I've been told, I've been trying to navigate through all of this and I'm on a steep learning curve, and that is that if you've got a report that possibly Warrington Fire or somebody like that have done, which is a significant investment on behalf of a manufacturer, you might have 80 or 90 pages of documentation there and some of that includes information that is quite possibly intellectual property that a competitor could use against you or something like that. Now the question I've got, and we're we're moving off the topic of the inspections but it is a an area that I'm trying to get my head around, how much of that 70 or 80 pages would actually be required for somebody that's maintaining the door, inspecting the door, or even replacing it. It might be a subset of that and that's why we're considering using the terminology that's used in declarations of performance which is essential characteristics. So if there are essential characteristics that manufacturers would say are important then that might be a subset of information that should be freely available, but the the deep dive information then maybe it is provided on a more secure basis. I don’t know.

ALAN OLIVER When it comes to the type 1 inspections of brand new doors I don't see that as being a big problem. Because surely if if a company is buying, let's say, 300 brand new door sets from a fire door manufacturer, I wouldn't have thought that there would be a problem in the fire door manufacturer and the person buying the doors and the person installing the doors, sharing and understanding the need to share sufficient level of information to ensure that those doors get installed as they were ordered and designed. I don't know if anyone's got an issue with what I've just said. The problem tends to be when you're doing a type 2 inspection. The doors have been in situation for 10 years and at that stage fire door manufacturers are often very reluctant to give the information on those doors and for some really good reasons.

For example, there might have been a number of fire tests taken on doors in between and there might have been a change in the components on the door 10 years ago compared to the door now and so that is really complicated. But that is all part of the process and the need to be fairly pragmatic when it's coming to assessing a door that's 10 years old. But I don't really think there'd be a problem in getting all the information you need to install a brand new door that's just been delivered from a manufacturer. If a manufacturer wouldn't give that information then surely they don’t deserve to get an order because someone's got to prove that those doors are going to be installed to meet specification.

STEVE ALDRIDGE I was just thinking really about the type 1 really, when fitting doors. We come across this quite often, we do the surveys on some of these. We talk about competency for a fire door inspector, we don't really talk about the competency of somebody to fit that fire door. We've seen it in new builds where we've got young apprentices fitting pedals, who’ve obviously got no competency in doing that. Would it not be a good idea that if the person that is fitting the fire door one needs to be competent, would it be possible for them to then confirm that they've done kind of the type 1 inspection on that fitting. So they're effectively… the person that fits it signs it off. Would that be too onerous or is that something that's worth a discussion?

GEORGE I think quite a lot of effort is going into the installation and in many cases the manufacturers are requiring that whoever it is that's installing to have gone through a particular certification process. But what I've also heard is that it's the company that is sometimes certified rather than the individual. Have I got that wrong? Is BM Trada at company level or at staff level?

STEVE ALDRIDGE …at company level, I’ve seen fire doors being fitted by obviously non-competent people, but the company is certified to do that. It’s really where does that responsibility now lie? does that responsibility now lie? Ultimately it’s going to be the client at the end of the day, but it seems to be inspection after inspection after inspection, which should get to a point really when a fire doors been fitted, it should be fitted one) to the manufacturers (audio cuts out)…and signed off by the person that's fitted it. Would that then negate the need for that type 1, rather than sending in a QS again, you're putting more levels into the competency.

PAUL BRAY About the sign off that Steve mentioned, the organisation get the certification to the BM Trada obviously, but any of the people doing the installs have to be trained by BM Trada certified person within the organisation. So if you have a carpenter that’s installing fire doors they should have been trained by the BM Trada certified person within the organisation and then they, the BM Trada certified person, signs off on the install. But they can only sign off the install by people they’ve trained, you cannot sign off an install on someone you haven’t trained, even if they’ve been trained by another BM Trada person. We have BM Trada certificated staff within our organisation. Going back to your point about the doors being installed, I think the onus lies on the contractor to ensure that they've got qualified staff installing it and then the client should be ensuring that certifications come with the door sets.

And as a part of a quality assurance when you hand over the building, and this is something that we do readily within my organisation, you go round and you sample and check the buildings. You might have a clerk of works and you're looking for those certifications and then if you've got any issues you pass it back through the client to do, but it should be part of your due diligence checks on your contractors, if you're installing new fire doors, that those doors are being installed by people that are qualified or supervised by qualified and competent and certificated persons. That's my experience and that's what we ask for for all our fire door installs.

GEORGE So in terms of how we move forward, I think we have to obviously not try and boil the ocean with this. I think if we can focus it, my intention with this is for us to really be able to come up with something within maybe two or three meetings, if that's possible.

Just before I go through the document I'll just show everybody what Jim and Steve Aldridge and some of the other people that are on this call actually contributed to the year before last. The purpose of this was as part of an exercise that we did for the Golden Thread initiative and we’ve done what I'm going to show you for 12 asset types. In this particular case, this is fire doors, or we've identified all the different components that would go into a fire door. And then the common question that we asked across all of the asset types, this was driven by the briefing that we had from the HSE, is what risks does a fire door mitigate? Then what do people do to a fire door to stop it from working effectively? So what do they do at maybe a high level and down to materials and then what information do we need to know about a fire door? Including things like its door closer etc from a construction perspective. So it's quite a deep dive, there was probably 20 people that contributed to this. Also drilling down into the detail of what tasks or procedures are required to ensure that the fire doors installed properly. And then drilling into…this is the SFG20 type of inspection, standard maintenance instructions for a fire door. And then what level of competency and then how do we manage change. So that's what we did as BIM4housing, if you're interested in that and it's available on our website. (George shares Alan Oliver’s document ‘Fire Door Inspections in Healthcare Buildings’ on screen).

ALAN OLIVER On page 1 you've got the people who wrote, the working group that started off the reference document which was a NAHFO initiative (NAHFO is the National Association of Healthcare Fire Officers). It then had a peer review and contributions from about 50 individuals and organisations such as Viva Insurance, ASFP Building research Establishment, London Fire Brigade, NHS Improvement and the NFCC. That's background as to why we created the document and there's the foreword which was written by Mark Andrews, who interestingly is the NFCC lead officer for higher risk accommodation. So if we were to adapt this for the housing sector that would be right up his street and I'm sure that Mark would write a foreword to it. So then we start to explain how to use the document and the fact that it's split up into four sections as I've just explained, there's the context page. So the idea is that if people are just focused on the new build project, they might just want to look at the section 1 of the document. If you're looking to inspect existing ones, you look at section 2, and if you're looking at ongoing functional maintenance, you might just want to focus on section 3. Section 4 is creating a robust fire door management system and then at the back you’ve got relevant glossary of terms and references and recommended further reading. So then we go into the introduction, we discuss why you need everything to be compatible, why you need a golden thread of information

You discuss the fact that fire doors don’t only have to just comply with part B but also things like part A and part M of the building regs. It talks about competence, talks about to what extent of building comes under fire code or not. And on the next page it talks about the golden thread of information so that doors have got to be specified as intended, procured, installed, managed and maintained. So carrying on with the introduction and then we move on to section 1, which is how to inspect a brand new door and the procedures involved and you look at all the different components, so you potentially start with the door frame, you look at the door leaf, you look at the hinges, you look at the door closing devices and so on. Ducts and seals, hinges, locking devices, closing devices and other issues such as ventilation grills, vision panels. So it’s looking at every component of a door, fire door signs. We were talking before about the surrounding structure, so that we deal with the things like the side panels and what requirements there are for the matching fire performance of its surrounds. Also automatic closing devices and door releases. And that’s basically the Bible regarding what the fire performance needs to be fore fire doors in healthcare buildings. And then we move on to section 2.

GEORGE Before we move off that, is there an equivalent that we could do for resi or would that be something that this group would need to invent?

ALAN OLIVER I think the table we’re looking at there, I think we’d be talking about approved document B, wouldn't we? We'd be talking about the requirement. For example, a lot of people are confused by the fact that you can have a 60 minute wall and a 30 minute door that complies with the building reg. So yes, I think I think we could easily substitute that page for what the requirements are for the building regulations bearing in mind that a brand new door should comply with the building regulations and the fire rating for its location.

GEORGE One of the challenges that I've got with the conversations, the number of standards and reference documents that people are expected to know and interpret seems quite overwhelming. It seems to me that a lot of it is about risk transfer. So I think if we can give something like this where you've got experts interpretation of what the building regs and approved document B actually mean then that I think that would be a useful thing. Do people agree with that?

KALOYAN MARKOV I’m fire safety advisor for the London Borough of Camden. So I really approached this meeting from a completely different angle as a representative of a landlord and I would expect that just to try to, if it’s possible, to simplify to an extent the checks because it's a good guidance, it's really expensive in some parts it requires really comprehensive knowledge in fire safety. So if we talk about door checks only, it's one kind of knowledge you need to try to keep these doors working. And just from this perspective I would speak for avoiding any…so we've got some kind of exception for intumescent strips, the guidance is saying that they could be overpainted if you’ve got up to 5 layers of paint, which is impractical to be checked. Also, for instance, we would expect a a 30 minute door to be 45 millimetres, but also we know that we can have a door that will be could be 38 or 40 millimetres but also be a proper fire door if it’s manufactured in Europe. What I’m trying to say is because from the manufacturer perspective type 1 is really important, but from my perspective type 2 would be much more important because we need somehow to try and group the doors we've got into groups of doors that are acceptable at the moment and doors that should be immediately worked on. For this purpose I believe, yeah, from this document, probably could be extracted and a little bit simplified to be a guidance, that’s my view.

GEORGE I think that's one of the things that I've heard over the last couple of weeks where, for example, I was told about a local authority that was stripping out a lot of fire doors that were actually only installed a couple of years ago but because they didn't have the right certification they've replaced them, whereas that possibly wasn't necessary. It probably was strictly necessary if you follow that prescriptive route but if you're looking at it from a risk management point of view was that the priority that that particular Council should have been following and that's maybe part of this discussion really, isn't it?

ALAN OLIVER So section 2 looks at how to inspect existing fire doors and introducing the risk management element that George has just mentioned. What you've got to remember about existing fire doors is that they don't have to comply with the building regulations, they have to comply with the regulatory form fire safety order which basically says that fire doors have got to be suitable and sufficient for their location to protect relevant people in the event of fire and to ensure that they can ultimately evacuate the building safely. So f you look at the drawing there, even in an acute mental health hospital, there will be some doors that are critical obviously, but there will be other doors that aren't critical and might be there mainly in terms of protecting, or inhibiting the spread of smoke. So in an existing building there is an opportunity to risk manage the building and that's what the job of fire risk assessors is, to assess what is in place and whether it's suitable and sufficient. So George is quite right. there are an awful lot of fire doors that that can be remediated and made suitable and sufficient for their location. Section 2 talks through the process of what’s involved. And also that graphs quite important, that page is sort of giving people an idea of how to potentially go through a building or go through even a complete estate and look at how you are improving the fire performance of your buildings.

Maybe you are…this is where you don't have an unlimited budget and you don’t want to cause total chaos and disruption within what essentially would be occupied buildings and maybe as the case here where an organisation is looking to to phase in and improve the doors, starting with the high risk doors. The highest risk doors which could be sort of electrical riser cupboards and such like and looking to to plan the work maybe over a year period. You’ve got to bear in mind if you look at that page, there's an awful lot of of doors in hospitals and in other buildings that haven't been fit for purpose for donkeys years. And it could be that some organisations have got enough money to to replace 12,000 doors in one fell swoop, but an awful lot of people haven't. And a lot of people look to phase this in either in terms of remediating the doors or replacing the doors over a number of years.

GEORGE Yeah. Again, one of the councils said to me that a door might be tested, is it up to withstand temperatures of 800 degrees or something like that? Whereas if the heat within a flat gets to 200 degrees, it will blow the windows out. And what he was also saying is that fire doors very seldom fail.

ALAN OLIVER Yeah, what you've got to recognise is that 99% of fire doors never see a fire, and of the ones that do, there's way more than 99% of fire doors don't get burnt to destruction. It's got to be recognised that fire doors are tested artificially. They're burnt to destruction in the furnace and it's very, very rare that a fire will actually do that to a fire door in reality. I’ve spoken to a number of Hospital Trusts, people that have been in there Estates Department for 30-40 years, they've never seen any of their fire doors burnt to destruction. And I know that some fire doors were burnt to destruction at the Royal Marsden in 2008, but not even one in a million fire doors get burnt to destruction. The majority of fire doors are there to prevent the spread of smoke.

GEORGE So, where do we go from here? Are these examples useful to people? Obviously a lot of you have got the experience anyway, but I think having these examples would help you, probably, persuade clients as to why it's important that they've got this sorted. Maybe, I don't know.

ALAN OLIVER You’ll see that these fire doors are fire doors in hospitals and what we need, certainly if we are looking to adapt this, we've got to have housing images.

GEORGE Well, I imagine that a lot of the people on this group have probably got loads of photos of things.

ALAN OLIVER This is a section just covering some of the issues that you can have on brand new doors and like a Greta Thunberg moment, the little Swedish girl, she says how dare you? And it's just unbelievable, some of the things that you find in brand new doors. If you’re replacing 12,000 doors for heaven’s sake you need to make sure that the new doors that are going in don't have issues like this with them. You can see there’s two images there, the small image at the bottom shows you how you need intumescent material to fully encase the lock casing. On the bigger image you're seeing is where a contractor fitting brand new doors has used the intumescent padding that goes behind hinges. They’ve used those to protect the lock casing through total naivety, ignorance or they’ve just been trying to make the lock case fit using their own materials. I don't know, I don't normally get involved finding out what went wrong, it’s just whether it's been installed correctly or not.

There’s a door there that’s got ‘NFD’ on it. That’s a non-fire rated door. You know you sometimes get doors in buildings and a lot of confusion, if you haven't got fire strategy drawings showing where the fire lines of the building are sometimes you get fire doors installed in buildings that don't have to be fire doors. And a lot of hospitals in particular spent an awful lot of time ensuring that their as built drawings are actually fire strategy drawings showing where the fire lines are and then discovering where the non-fire rated doors are and then indicating which doors they are so that they're not having to be inspected on a regular basis as fire doors. There's another image of the surrounding structure, it's, you know, it's all very well. Inspecting the door in terms of its fire performance, but you've got to take into account what surrounds it.

Now moving on to Type 3 inspections, which is normally what has previously been based on BS 9999 even in hospitals, but clearly for type 3 inspections you now need to take into account the requirements of the new fire Safety England regulations in terms of when fire doors have got to be inspected and what's got to be inspected. So rewriting and adapting the section 3 should be quite a straightforward process because nearly all the words are already there, they’ve just been issued as a guidance document by the government.

GEORGE So in terms of the individual tasks, this looks to me as though that doesn’t look as detailed as that SFG20 one that I showed earlier. Check that all doors are in working order and closing correctly, are there other tasks that we should be recommending? Let me just ask the manufacturers…Antonia, do you have a view on how things should be maintained?

ANTONIA WOODWARD So I'm relatively new to the role. I've only been with the company for three days and at the moment I'm using this as an exercise to absorb information, so it wouldn't be fair for me to comment in any way shape or form. But thank you for obviously trying to involve us, so I appreciate that.

ALAN BROWN The manufacturers should have primary test evidence of what remedial works can be done to their doors, not a generic list of items that BM Trada produces, it should be tested against every single door. Then they should issue that out, which will then help the remedial works to be undertaken. If it's not been tested and it hasn't been actually the remedial works tested, then why should that door be then altered because a generic remedial work instruction has been issued, it's just wrong. The tasks themselves are laid out, I haven't quite absorbed this document yet, but there's various items like vision panel repairs and a number of other items that I'll send over a document that Forza created for remedial repairs that might cover some of these elements. They’re might be some new headings that people can and can't do to a door.

GEORGE Is everybody aware of SFG 20? SFG2o is from BESA (Building and Engineering Services Association) and this is what most maintenance contractors use to do their inspections. So this step by step check is what maintenance teams basically have to sign off on. Is there something that we could product that would reflect the expertise of this group?

ALAN OLIVER What you've got to be careful here, George, is that you don't turn this into a maintenance document. At the moment it's an inspection document.

GEORGE Yes, I’m with you. But a lot of these tasks are inspections, aren’t they?

ALAN OLIVER A lot of PPM combines inspection with maintenance, it’s obviously a very close relationship, and there's no reason why this new version of the reference document, if it goes ahead, there's no reason why there couldn't be a maintenance section as well that is part of the type 3.

JIM HANNON Can I just ask a question on that one? Where's the level 3? I mean, what is the general qualification required of the person carrying out that level 3? Because looking at the questions there, they're almost like the typical maintenance man. There's a lot of value them people can actually bring to a building like a hospital, school etc rather than every time having to bring in a certified door inspector.

ALAN OLIVER That's a really good question. The whole point of the certified door inspector is that they carry out the type 1 or the type 2 inspection. Once they're verified that that door is suitable and sufficient, which location, and they've done invasive inspections and they've checked the lock casing to make sure it has got the right intumescent. And they've made sure that they've got the right hinges in terms of fire performance and all the other things. The type 3 inspection isn’t half as onerous because you've established what the door is in terms of its fire performance. What you then focus on is just ensuring it stays to that level of functionality. So a type 3 inspector doesn’t have to be an expert in terms of inspecting a door in terms of its fire performance, because that's already been done during the type 1 or type 2 inspection.

PAUL BRAY I agree with what Alan is saying, this inspection is type 3 is a health check on a door. We’re overcomplicating that we already do this within our organisation model. We've got quite a complex process for checking our doors. All our operatives enter can enter any of our blocks of flats to carry out a health check on the door, which is, does it close seals, etc, there’s 5 or 6 checks that they do, there’s a whole form for doing that. We've got asset tagging for communal doors and that's subject to, they’ll be checked by people that are generally BM Trada trained on fire doors. But again, it’s a health check, it’s not level 1 or level 2 check, you cannot do it in the housing environment. And especially under the new legislation that came out last week, the requirement to carry out communal door checks every three months on buildings over 11 metres, that's not this check. It should be a 5 minute check to identify that things are wrong with the door. If you identify things are wrong, then you employ a competent person to come out and do the correct repairs, which are the ones that are listed by the door manufacturer, or maybe in line with ??? 1hr 11mins 48secs.

ALAN OLIVER Absolutely. Agree 100%. If you look at the new Fire Safety England requirements as to how to inspect a door, it basically says you don't need to have an expert in terms of fire performance and it it quotes some really basic checks which as you say shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

GEORGE One of the things obviously that would be really helpful is if people can look at this and say I've got a photo that Illustrates a similar thing in housing, so if we could ask everybody to consider that. This is something else, Alan, that you said is a useful tool as well.

ALAN OLIVER Yeah, in a lot of hospitals they decide in in terms of the location of the doors which doors need checking on a monthly basis which 3 monthly, 6 monthly or 12 monthly, but clearly because of the Fire Safety England regulations they're now being very prescriptive as to what you check, so I think that matrix would need to be replaced. But we’ve got the information already because the Fire Safety England guidance document is giving it to us in terms of what doors need to be checked at what frequency.

(On the management side of things) There’s a heritage section there on final exit doors. Final exit doors very often get overlooked, but potentially they can be the most important doors in the building and clearly they've got different characteristics than internal fire resisting doors. Their main function is normally just to open outwards in an easy manner. But there needs to be a section on final exit doors within the new document. But yeah, we're now moving on to creating a robust fire door management system and this would encompass things like how you're procuring the doors, how you're specifying the doors, how you’re ensuring that they’re fit for purpose and how everything's joined up in a system. And then there’s a glossary of terms which is fairly self-evident and most of that would be transferable to the new document.

GEORGE I suppose the next question is, having seen all of that, we now need people to basically commit to spending a bit of time on this. If you think that this is a worthwhile thing to move forward on, then we're going to be running…I’ve planned for the first event to be on the 16th of February. Doesn't have to be then, but that was my suggestion and then we maybe run it every couple of weeks for another couple of sessions after that. It might be that we can sort it all out on the 16th, but I suspect not. So if you could decide a) if you want to continue with it and secondly whether you want to join one of those groups. Do you agree with the idea of us having a group looking at the type 1s, a group looking at type 2s, type 3s and the fire management? Does anybody have an alternative suggestion to that or doesn't like it?

I think probably what would be useful is if you can form into groups of 1,2,3 or 4. if you could message us to say which group you’d like to be part of and what we can then do is ask you to maybe look at that section of the guidance ahead of the discussion on the 16th. If we’ve got 3 or 4 people in each group, we’ve got quite a few people who said they want to join in but they couldn’t make it this afternoon. So we could very easily have 4 or 5 people in each of those 4 groups willing to put a bit of effort in. What I’m thinking is we perhaps leave it to each of you to maybe have a discussion before the event so that when we then hit the ground running on the 16th, we've actually got some work that's already been done that we can actually work around. Does everybody agree with that?

Good. I mean, at the end of the day, this has got to be a working group. You know, we need to work, we need to produce something. It's not going to be a talking shop. We want to actually deliver something out of it. And I think this is going to be very valued by the community, I think there's a lot of interest in this. The one final thing, we’ve got this event on Thursday where we've got about 150 people coming to it. Is everybody aware of the event? This is a team session where we've got Chris Waterman who's quite a character, but he's an advisor to MPs and people in the House of Lords about the Safety Bill and the Fire Safety Act.

And he's written various bits of guidance and things like that. So he’s presented at our sessions before, but obviously things have now ramped up, particularly with Michael Gove's contribution at the weekend. He’s going to be giving an overview of what the steer that he's giving the politicians is. But we're gonna have an opportunity then to really put a profile behind this. So I was wondering if anybody would be, Alan can't make it because he's is on leave, but if anybody is coming to that event on Thursday and would be willing to basically explain what we’re trying to do here so that it gives it a bit of profile and means that I’m not doing all the talking. (Steve Aldridge volunteers). Any other comments about what we are trying to do?

JIM HANNON I think for me it's the whole cross reference with any sort of fire risk assessment type works. It can very easily become crossing over into that field and whilst there might be some people on this call that are very competent on fire doors and fire risk assessments clients tend to try to push you in whatever directions they want, and sometimes you can get dragged into an FRA comment, or fire door comment. That's my personal experience and from the work that's going in I think we just gotta be very clear what you're doing rather than sort of leaving it grey in respects of FRA.

STEVE ALDRIDGE I agree with that, Jim. It’s simplifying it, it’s a complex process and certainly from the type 3 it has to be an effective simpler reproach that people can understand. And from my experience a lot of clients are going to the so-called experts for advice and they're getting bad advice and it needs a very simple approach to this is what you've gotta do, this is what you've gotta do on a regular basis and basically spoon feeding and making it absolutely clear that that's what you should be expected. I think one of the issues I find on it, and not only with the fire but with other stuff, is that the client is supposed to be the expert in all of this stuff, and they're going to experts for advice. The more complicated it is the more it’s going to cost you. So let’s keep it nice and simple, this is what we’ve got to do and as long as we’ve got all these ducks in line we are compliant.

ALAN OLIVER I think it's worth pointing out the fact that this document will potentially be NFCC approved is massive. I just couldn't believe my luck really, that that they gave the thumbs up to it because that gives it so much credibility. And it gives the people involved in this so much credibility as well.

KALOYAN MARKOV Well, so my concern is that essentially in my understanding, every single old door that is old enough to lack any kind of evidence for being a proper fire door should pass the type 2 test before we agree it’s a real fire door and then to be checked by type 3. We’ve got plenty of these old doors and the biggest question is how actually to distinguish all the fire doors that are good enough just to repair and keep in use and these fire doors that are too bad to be repaired and need to be replaced. I’m just thinking how big is this issue, we need to pass type 2 for the old doors to be able to continue with type 3 fire doors. And this is the area I tried to talk about previously because we’ve been given so many different requirements. So we can accept a door with 2 hinges, we can accept a door with 8 or 9 hinges if it’s old enough, we can accept intumescent seals to be painted. So we need to have a little bit more explained process to be able to measure these doors, because otherwise all of us will have different measures and different acceptance and understanding of what the fire door is.

PAUL BRAY Yeah, I share Kaloyan’s concerns on this. We’ve had a real issue trying to assess whether an existing door is a door that we should take further action for, to replace etc. What assisted me in making those decisions was using a 23 point check that BM Trada use and I know it's mentioned earlier that BM Trada to is not the be all and end all and maybe there's other ways to go around that. I think you mentioned the other accreditation certification process for fire doors which would allow you to use that as justification for keeping the door. But when i use the 23 point check, most of the areas you could look at and say I can carry out a repair if it’s allowed to do that or it’s not going to cost you more time and effort to repair that it is to replace it. But the key bit for me…no matter how old the door was or how new it was would be if the door was warped. If the door was warped out of alignment that's something that you can't repair on the door, you cannot take it off and take it away to be straightened up, it will bend back again. So that was always the deciding factor. Anything else, if the doors in good condition, hadn't been damaged, no serious alterations, that would be where I would use BM Trada for doing that.

The other area that i would recommend to look at is the purpose built block of flat guides. There’s some commentary in there about what you can accept as a…fire door. They’re introducing a revised guide soon, it’s waiting for final agreement, there’s a couple of arguments around some of the content in it, but that will still give clear advice on the existing doors.

ALAN OLIVER If I could just comment on the last couple of points. The first thing is you should already have a system in place for risk assessing your buildings. And as it says in the Fire Safety England Act, this shouldn't be any more onerous than what your fire risk assessors are already telling you to do in terms of the fire risk in the building. The second thing is that there's a massive difference between the condition of doors in a 2 storey building as opposed to a 24 storey building and you need to be taking into account things like the evacuation strategy. So the whole idea of type 2 inspection is that it does allow you to be pragmatic and it allows fire risk assessors and the owners of the building to basically do their job and take these things into account.

KALOYAN MARKOV I'm just trying to explain it's a little bit more complex at the moment saying you need to take into consideration the level of risk. Yes, I can do, but I wouldn't be able to check all the doors. I’m talking generally. So we've got all the landlords, they’ve got a big number of doors. Obviously they would generally speaking rely on FRA, but FRA wouldn't cover most of the doors because they they wouldn’t get access to the flat front doors etc. It’s clear what we need to do, but give the different generation of doors we need to know when we try to do this guidance, to establish a process that will be clear for everyone. That’s my point, for everyone to be clear from this guidance how to proceed with they type 2 checks to be able to rely on the outcome of this check, wherever the door is.

GEORGE One last thing I was thinking of whilst Kaloyan was going through that, the knowledge that we’ve got in this group and we’re probably gonna have from a bigger group, is going to be immense and nobody’s got all the answers. What we might do is set up a place where when someone has a question you can post something up and maybe ask other members of the team to see if they have a suggestion, that would be a valuable thing. Probably a WhatsApp group where people can just publish up a photograph and say, you know what about this, any suggestions on that. We can use that to make it live.