BIM4Housing Follow-up Standardising Firedoor Set Inspection 08-03-2023

RICHARD A big shout out to Keith James, who only joined BIM4housing at the last meeting, but has already been promoted and will be in charge of group 4. I’ll be switching over and will be, in theory, leading group 3.

GEORGE (shares screen). I’ll just put a bit of context between what we’re doing and how this works. BIM4housing, we’ve got about 400-500 members and our focus isn’t on 3D modelling, it’s about better information management. We’ve got 6 working groups which meet every couple of months, and they determine what we’re trying to achieve in terms of how can we solve real business problems with better information management. And in many cases, there are things that aren’t in the individual silos. For example, construction can benefit from better information from development and the same with advisory, which is really where fire door inspection sits, and some of the other areas. What we do is they determine the topics that we want to concentrate on and we then develop workstreams, so the activity that we’re doing here today and over the next few weeks is a workstream that falls under the fire safety aspect. The various different groups produce resources which are available on the BIM4housing website for standardised data templates, improved classification and that side of things.

Also, in parallel with this, I chair the Golden Thread Initiative asset and survey information group, and the purpose of that was really to determine what data do you need about assets. What we discovered, because we took a steer from the HSE, is it depends. If you ask an expert, what information do you need to know about a fire door the response would probably be it depends, it depends on the context in which you’re asking that question. Is it when it’s being installed? When it’s being maintained or replaced, manufactured, inspected? So, we’ve concentrated on about 250 standard asset types and we’re doing that in the context of what information is needed. What we did in the golden thread has also tied it back to the regulatory gateways and put it in the context of the RIBA plan of work. The key ones for this group are gateway 2, which is the move between design and construction, and there should therefore be an inspection at that stage of what products or what specifications are being promoted, but really importantly at construction and handover and then progressively through the life of the asset. What’s important here is that the regulator has the power to stop the project if they’re not satisfied that the building is safe or will be safe.

We’ve been running roundtable workshops like this one, Teams workshops, this is one we run at Digital Construction Week, an in-person one. In each of these, you’ve got a design working group there, operations, manufacturers, and the principle is then to get collectively the knowledge about what’s important. This is what we’ve created as a resource, you can go onto the BIM4housing website and get access to any of these, they ’re the distillation of the knowledge of people that really understand cavity barriers and penetration seals and fire doors. This is an example of what we’ve got for fire doors, the format of this is common to all those 12 asset types. And what risk does it mitigate, so that’s the perspective that everybody’s working to. What do people do to a fire door to stop it from working, what information do we need about a fire door, and then how do we then look at that in a context. So, it’s a matter of not just looking at the fire door in isolation, it’s also looking at it as to how it forms part of a system which is protecting against a hazard. In this case we’ve got a fire that breaks out in a kitchen and what do we need to know about the fire compartment and the door and maybe the fire dampers or smoke dampers that are in the wall to stop smoke from spreading. And if the smoke spreads, what do we need to know about the AOV to make sure that that’s going to allow people to get out. The important thing here is that the fire door is not just an asset in itself, it’s part of a system that is then protecting life.

The methodology that we’re following, and this is why what you’re doing here is so important, is the five steps that we’ve established, first of all the landlords are getting their drawings in place for the secure information box. That’s a very simple 2D plan that’s laminated and gives the fire rescue authorities the key information they need to know about that block should they have to deal with it. The next step with that is actually to identify the specific assets that are in there. For example, the surveyors that re carrying out the scan-to-BIM, perhaps, to produce floor plans, they won’t know which doors are fire doors and they’ll certainly not know which ones are 30 or 60-minute fire doors. We need input from people like you to do that, and also, it’s then a matter of saying how do we manage an ongoing inspection regime, that’s step 3 in our process. Then, how do we then alert the fire rescue authorities, and also the people that are liable for them, of any failure. So, if, for example, fire doors or any other key asset has failed, how do we let people know that. And then how do you overall put that in the context of the safety case, because that’s the next thing that obviously all landlords are having to look at, certainly by April.

So, what we've been doing is putting together a process where we've got specialists that are doing surveys and using some cool technology to do that and then being able to then produce from that 360 photos as well that can then be used to do site inspections. We’re then using those to produce 2D plans with symbols on them, and these symbols are intelligent, so they can then produce drawings that aren't just suitable for the Fire Rescue authorities, but we can also go through and add information to them. So, when you're doing fire door inspections, for example, you'll identify that can then be used to do site inspections and then we're then using those to produce 2D plans with symbols on them. And these symbols are intelligent, so they can then produce drawings that aren't just suitable for the Fire Rescue authorities, but we can also go through and add information to them. So, when you're doing fire door inspections, for example, you'll identify that that door is a 30 or 60-minute door and that information can then be added to the object so that we end up with something that's intelligent. So, this means that, for example, if somebody's using something, a fire door app, an inspection app, then that information in itself needs to be put back to a spatial model so you can see it in the context of what the hazard is, what the risk is.

How is that protecting spaces, what activities are going on in those spaces and also what other information do we need about those items. Maybe they're detailed information and also then perhaps product information as well. So that's really the journey that we're on and what we're doing now is building on this. So Alan Oliver, who's sort of leading this for us, Alan can explain this but then I can, but the point is we're taking what Alan has done, and people from the last couple of weeks who’ve been working on this, to say, right ,first of all how do we establish what the door is at a baseline. So, the point is first of all, just identifying what type of door it is and then how will they maintain it.

ALAN OLIVER explains the methodology. This all started by a conversation with the chief fire engineer of NHS Improvement when I said to him a couple of years ago how is it that the biggest owner of fire doors in Europe, the NHS, doesn't have systems for inspecting them? And he said I take your point, but they don't even have systems for fire risk assessing or buildings, why don't you set up a working group and write a paper on how to do it. So, we've got a healthcare fire door inspection reference document. It was actually the lead officer of the NFCC who said 90% of what's contained in this document relates to every fire door in the country. And George very much bought into that when I met him last year and he said why don't we convert the healthcare reference document into a housing reference document, which I thought was a great idea and this is where we are. There are four main sections to the reference document. Section 1 which details how to inspect brand new doors, section 2 which details how to inspect existing doors, often when there's no golden thread of information. Section 3 discusses how you do ongoing inspections of doors that have been either type 1 or type 2 inspected. And then Section 4 is how you create a fire door management system, because clearly fire door inspections is only part of the whole thing.

As George has just said, you've also got to obviously design them correctly, specify them correctly and procure them correctly, install them correctly and then manage and maintain them correctly. So, I think in a nutshell, that's where we're up to. And the final point, just like to say that I know that people have already embraced this very passionately, we’re making really good progress because we split the four sections into four working groups and my understanding is that all four sections, all four working groups have made a really enthusiastic start and there's a great deal of debate going on as to what should be included and so on, which is great, that’s all part of the task and the outcome should be really positive and really good.

RICHARD So Alan, can I just ask you something? Not to kind of put a spoke in the wheel, but there's a lot of focus on the inspections and I do one-to-one meetings with a lot of the HAs and LAs and my feeling is that a number of them are taking it that if they’re doing the inspections properly, that’s it, they're going to be compliant. Do you think that’s the case?

ALAN OLIVER No, obviously, absolutely not. Typically, I go into a hospital which might have 3000-4000 fire doors and we sort of celebrate when we find one that’s compliant. If it’s not installed under the third-party certification scheme and if it's not being managed and maintained in a third-party certification scheme, you very, very rarely find one that's compliant. The issue then though is how compliant does it need to be, what is suitable and sufficient for its location because under the regulatory form fire safety order you've got to ensure that the fire safety components in your building are suitable and sufficient to protect relevant people, which is just for everybody, and to ensure that they can be protected during a fire incident and ultimately be able to successfully evacuate the building. So, this is where the risk management concept comes into it and this is why this reference document is very worthwhile because it does deal with the risk management aspect and the fire management aspects. And it's very much a pragmatic document which will enable companies with major non-compliance issues to manage and deal with these issues, maybe over three to five years, as some sort of an action plan.

RICHARD informs participants to which group they’ve been assigned to for the breakout rooms.

KEITH Do you mind if I ask before we break up. Group 4 is about creating a robust management system. I've been involved in maintaining assets generally and the process, and I'm thinking it's a higher level than we're dealing with here because we're dealing with individual sort of individual paragraphs of things to do. But there's a higher level and I'm wondering whether it's relevant. So, the higher level is if you want to maintain an asset, you have the very top level, you have to decide how often do you want to maintain it, so you've got a frequency. You do it monthly, six monthly, three monthly, whatever. And then when you do inspect it, you have to have a list of the things you're going to inspect and at that point you then need to raise issues, if there are any issues, and you then need to have correction mechanism and you need to collect the fact that it has been corrected and that it’s is now signed off so you can move on again.

RICHARD Absolutely, Keith, and that’s what the other groups will be doing. It could be if you’re sorting out an actual plan that you put those points in the plan.

ALAN OLIVER My understanding is once we've agreed the words for the individual group, section 1, section 2, section 3, section 4, we're then going to put it all together and we're then going to put the finished, completed, revised paper out for robust peer review for the whole group. So, when anyone who feels they're not in the right group to input to another group, you will have that opportunity.

KEITH JAMES One of the things that we came up with in Group four, the management system group, was whether or not when we do a fire door set inspection, the feeling was that it ought to include the cavity above a fire door, if there's a suspended ceiling with all the services going through it. Any of you guys want to add any comments to that?

DENNIS MUNDAY As a rule, I would always check if it was suspended ceiling, I would always check above and around the door anyway because it’s all part of the wall system. It's all part of the same thing.

KEITH JAMES So we need to have a checklist item, if we're going to have a checklist for the process, we need to say take your ladder and go have a look in the ceiling and if any of the seals are damaged or missing then you need to record it.

MARK GROVE I think we do surrounding construction checks, whether it’s ceiling, walls, floor. Whatever it is it’s whatever holds that door set in place.

BENJAMIN FREEMAN I think it depends what the client is required to have inspected. Obviously, a fire door set is dependent upon the surrounding construction in relation to the performance, but what you gotta understand is the quantity of fire doors that require inspecting within a housing estate. A compartmentation survey is a separate thing. Obviously if something jumps out at you while inspecting the fire door set with the surrounding construction, for instance the frame to wall gap, that’s part of the fire door set. But you’re not going to put your head up into the ceiling grid and do a survey of the compartmentation for a fire door inspection. You’re turning a fire door inspection into a full compartmentation inspection instead.

MARK GROVE In our note then we should just say that surrounding construction should be assessed in conjunction with a full compartment survey, separate.

ALAN OLIVER There should be something to say that you need to define what the fire door inspection includes and whether or not it is the surrounding structure including ceiling voids and raised-floor voids.

KEITH JAMES Are you sort of introducing a difference between say a post-construction handover check, which obviously has got to check all these things whether you like it or not, because you can’t trust the builders, somebody’s got to sign it off. And a regular ongoing inspection when people are not likely to have gone up into the ceiling and done anything anyway.

ALAN OLIVER Well, I think it depends on what we’re talking about here. Are we talking about in the Type 1 section which is to do with new buildings or new fire door installations, or a Type 2 inspection which is an existing building, or a Type 3 inspection which is for the ongoing maintenance. So I think it’s relevant at each section, really, that depending on who’s doing the inspecting, you’ve got to be aware of what the scope is and that’s got to be agreed by all the stakeholders.

BENJAMIN FREEMAN I think as Alan said though, it should be a scope which is agreed between the client and the inspector rather than a capture all event for every single inspection.

KEITH JAMES Another thing that we also discussed was the potential to have this item here: identify and satisfy door training needs. A video is a potential way of training the residents before they take occupation, as to how to deal with fire alarms and fire doors etc. Does anybody have any other ideas on that?

GEORGE We’ve been discussing with a couple of people that flat itself of having a QR code in it that could carry information and link you to a website on your phone and then have instructions for your particular escape route and the like. So that's something else, Keith, it feeds into what you're saying there, you’d have a video recording, and it would take you through that. It could also take you to a personal evacuation plan or whatever.

RICHARD We’ve got a question for Alan because we’re a bit confused. We’re not exactly sure what our type 3 section is for. I’ve only just looked at it now in any depth as i was doing group 4. My understanding was that it was basically for what people needed to do when they were doing a type 3 inspection. But there’s also a lot on the frequency of inspections and how to determine that. We kind of collectively think that that would be decided by group 4, not by the practitioner doing the inspection, who would be looking at group 3.

ALAN OLIVER That’s really interesting. Obviously yeah, they’re related. You could say that Section 4 should be Section 1. You could say that first and foremost in an ideal world you start off with a fire door management plan which will determine an awful lot which decides on how you do carry out and manage types 1, 2 and 3 inspections, but this was primarily a fire door inspection paper. So, we started off talking about how you shouldn’t inspect brand new fire doors, how we should inspect existing doors and how you should then do ongoing maintenance for those that have been type one or type 2 inspected. But you’re quite right, you could be arguing that you're putting the cart before the horse there and actually your management system should be the first thing you put in place in an ideal world. But clearly yes, frequency inspection is related to both Type 4. If people got an all-embracing management system, or it could be standalone. In Section 3 for Type 3 inspections, if you haven’t gotten all in bracing management system my view is that 99% of organisations don’t have a completely holistic fire door management system. They tend

to do these things piecemeal.

RICHARD Paul Bray, does that help us?

PAUL BRAY Yes and no, I was in Group three. I think that we need to clarify what we’re supposed to be doing and what’s required. I’m not sure every housing association was the same as just said, I think we’ve got a robust system. But yeah, I think we need to clarify what’s required from each and how simplistic the checks would be.

GEORGE Joe Stott just made a comment quite sensibly, that is that the criticality and frequency of use needs to be fed down from the type 1 and type 2 inspections.

JOE STOTT What struck me with my architect's hat on is that that those things should really come through the design process as well and they don’t currently.

ALAN OLIVER We've also got to take into account that this healthcare document was based on where we were three years ago. Now, because of the new England regulations, it’s far more prescriptive as to the frequency of inspection and we must ensure that the new England regulations form a part of section 3 and section 4.

RICHARD. Absolutely. We’re just trying to determine whether that being the case and it’s not a health thing, whether actually we take out all the stuff about timings because it’s not our group 3’s to determine that, we’re gonna have that handed down from wherever. It’s going to be handed to us when we’ve got to do the inspections. So, we take that out of our section because it’s just complicating it and adding more verbiage to our section, because it’s not relevant to us because we’re not making those decisions.

ALAN OLIVER Yeah, I would agree. There’s far more legislation in place, certainly regarding housing, than there was for hospitals three years ago.

RICHARD With my group 4 hat on, we went through the work, and I suggested to a few people after we’d done the re-writes that actually what would make sense for group 4 in terms of management, because it talks about a management plan. It might make sense for group 4 to actually write or create a template, because there’s an amount of detail that you’ve done on this, Alan, but actually go into more detail into a template as to exactly what that management plan should entail and what information is needed to fill out the management plan.

ALAN OLIVER The work in this document comes from a lot of sources. There’s the original working group, which I lead, but then there was a robust peer review by people like London Fire Brigade, Aviva Insurance, ASFP. And you'll find that a lot of these words are not actually my words. Now, I don't want to take the credit because this is a good working document for health care buildings based on the legislation three years ago, but we’ve now got to get real and we’ve got to ensure that this is now relevant for housing in 2023.

RICHARD Absolutely, and as George often says everything’s changed now because we’re now in a regulated industry and that’s paradigm.

KEITH JAMES I think we decided in group 4, and you probably need to give a stamp of approval here to it, that there will be more than one checklist of the process of checking a fire door, depending upon its category of doors. So, whether it's new build being approved or upgrades being approved or whether it's a quiet area or a busy area, those sort of things. Is that correct?

ALAN OLIVER I think that's probably correct, but I've not really got my head around this because I'm not focused on Section 4. What I do know is there is likely to be quite a large rewrite and there will be some really useful stuff here that we can use. But I think we've almost got to start again and think in terms of what the final action plan needs to be for a block of flats. And I think as a minimum we need to be thinking in terms of high rise and low rise, or whatever the cutoff is. To be fair there are people in this group that are far more expert than me on that and I'm very happy to delegate that decision making to people Neil and Ian and Andrew and all the other people I’ve had conversations within my group in the last few weeks.

RICHARD I think there's a big piece of work to be done in Group four.

MARK GROVE I wonder if Group 4 has sort of got too many things and whether we should have a new first section that just pulls out objectives, responsibilities and legislation. So, you're sort of setting the tone at the beginning, and the management of all of those responsibilities comes at the end because you need to manage what it said at the beginning. But also taking it from a legislation and responsibility objective seems to put a piece up front that you know what you’re trying to do and why you’ve got to do it.

ALAN OLIVER There is an introduction to the current reference document. I've been talking to people in my group this afternoon and found out that quite a few people haven't got haven't actually got the full reference document. And anyone who hasn't got it, I would suggest that you contact George or Richard… RICHARD Everybody should have it. ALAN OLIVER Right, well, there were two new people in my group today who hadn't been involved last week, they told me they haven't received it.

ALAN OLIVER To give further thought to whether the cart comes before the horse or the horse is coming before the cart, do think it's very important that we focus on the fact that this is primarily a fire door inspection document. And having given it some further thought, I am taking the view that Section 4 should remain the 4th section because we need to first and foremost ensure that people understand how to inspect doors. And Section 4, which is all about setting up a fire door management scheme, I think that is just a guidance for people who need to put the fire door inspections into context. So, it's almost an appendices.

RICHARD It’s almost two documents because you've got this is what you've got to do on the type 1 inspection and a type 2 inspection and a type 3 inspection. The whole management methodology is almost separate, it’s a completely different audience.

ALAN OLIVER The idea of having Section 4 having giving people guidance on creating a robust fire door management system was that having written how to do a type 1 inspection on your new door, a type 2 inspection on an existing door, a type 3 ongoing inspection of doors that have already been type 1 and type 2, I was finding when talking to hospital trust that they weren't joining it all together because, as we know, hospitals are very complex places, they’ve got a very complicated management structure very often. And I just thought for heaven's sake, if you do a type 1 inspection, you've then got to manage and maintain them. If you do a type 2 inspection, you've then got to manage and maintain them. And so Section 4 was almost written as an add-on to say to people that you’ve got to join everything together.

RICHARD We're doing it discreetly, we’ve got 4 sections. We can argue or discuss about which goes where maybe afterwards. Rather than trade water, let's move forward and get some output here. That being the case, anybody in Group 3, do we feel that we now know what we're doing?

NICK TAYLOR I think we’ve got a better idea now, I have anyway. i just need time to reflect and come back to you. RICHARD We’ll do what I suggested, and I’ll email you after the meeting and we’ll get together with other `Section 4’ers for a longer meeting to kind of thrash ours out. So that’s great, we know what we’re doing. Does everybody else know what they’re doing? Has anybody else got any confusion at all in what that what they're supposed to be doing?

GEORGE I think in our case (Group 1), we only got about halfway through the document so my group are going to the volunteer to finish it off and then send us back the comments. So, I think we should have a draught for Alan to look at hopefully this week if people could turn that around quickly.

ALAN OLIVER We’re much the same with Group 2. As you know I created draught 1 of Section 2 housing last night, based on the feed I'd been given by, primarily, Neil and Andrew. In the meeting today we discussed that I would then issue that. What I need, Richard, if you can give me the e-mail addresses of everyone who joined today's meeting who haven't been so far involved in Group 2, I will issue that to everyone tonight. And the idea being inviting everyone to comment or contribute hopefully by the end of this week, or let's say by Monday morning at the latest, with a view to saying we now believe that Section 2 is there or thereabouts and is ready to be rejoined up to the other sections.

KEITH JAMES Regarding Section 4. I think we’re OK. What we’ve basically done is suggest additions or amendments to the text that you produced last time in green. And then people can review that offline and submit it. I mean that's the issue, if people submit to it we can consolidate it prior to the next meeting, so we have something ready to go forward with.

RICHARD (shares screen). This is a questionnaire.

GEORGE Basically from the conversations that we've been having over this last couple of weeks, there's a range of different things that have come out of that that I think it would be useful for us to gather. So, for example, if we could identify whether you just do door inspections or whether you are actually a manufacturer or fabricate them or do you do repairs to fire doors. Secondly, some people that I've spoken to are actually fire engineers who have been on this as well. So that's a different level of range of services that they offer. Some people are fire door inspectors and also they're able to interpret the fire engineering plans. It was also a question as to if you're a fire door inspector, would you be commissioned by the landlord or would it sometimes be through third parties. I'm just trying to get a feel for the relationship there or whether you're actually commissioning through third parties. Then looking at it from an ongoing point of view, would you be looking to commission to get the work so that you’ve got ongoing annual inspections and what do you think would help you achieve that. Maybe looking at it from the landlord’s point of view, maybe is that something you’d be looking for as a potential service or would it just be on an ad hoc basis when you need it.

And then how does this all wrap up to the whole building safety case. I’ve spoken to a couple of fire door inspectors who are also looking to roll this into a much wider service offer of not just doing fire door inspections or fire door reports, but also tie that into a building safety case report. The question then is how are you looking to provide that information. Some people, for example, are using Bolster, which is quite widely used in hospitals. That’s all it’s doing, as it were, whereas there’s something else that, certainly from a safety case perspective you need to look at things in a more holistic way from that point of view. Principally, it’s for inspection people.

RICHARD BIM4housing hither to, has been largely based on the construction side. We’ve got operations group, obviously, but getting you guys who are actually doing the inspection of the assets is quite a new and very crucial thing. So it’s just to help us get a bit of a handle.

GEORGE Yeah, it’s also a matter of if you’re doing fire door inspections do you also do compartment walls, penetration seals, cavity barriers, dampers - the things that go and make up a compartment. I’m asking the question because I know some of the people I’ve spoken to are dedicated to fire doors and others also do compartmentation. We’re just trying to understand what services you’re actually offering and what skill sets you’ve got so that we can then filter that out. If any landlords are on here you will probably have your own fire door inspectors. It would be interesting to get them to engage with this as well.

ALAN OLIVER I’ve just noticed in the meeting chat, Paul Bray has asked how are we doing with collecting photos of doors. One of the things I'd like to say is that we do need to turn this reference document from a healthcare reference document that's got hospital doors in it to a housing one. Can I suggest that whether they're sent to myself or Richard or George or whoever, if you send an image that you believe is relevant, can you please tell us on which page you believe the image is relevant. And can you also accompany the images with a description of what the image is showing. Because although the image might be relevant and obvious to you, we need to describe to people what we're actually seeing, people who might not find the reason for the image so obvious.

GEORGE We’d really like to understand how what you're doing in terms of the inspections are being fed back to the landlords so that they can consider them as part of their wider strategy. So, it would be really quite interesting to understand that. I’d quite like to have a chat with you on a 1-to-1 basis just to see how that fits in what the wider goal is of the Building Safety Act. So, I’ll reach out to you individually to talk that through.

RICHARD I think we’ve got a nice group here together and we certainly want to keep this going. Certainly there are issues that still need covering so watch this space, we don’t like to let people go so we’ll be in touch with you very shortly.

GEORGE I think the point is that this is a community of people who have got a shared goal and we’re only starting on the journey in many ways. The amount of work that I think most landlords have got coming up is very significant and if we can provide some expert advice I think that’s going to make it a lot easier. And probably it’s going to improve the competence of people actually working through so if you’re on board with that we’d like to keep that going.




I have a fire door (survey and repair) management plan (draft) and training for staff document that I am willing to share for use if you like. I can forward to George for onward sharing, subject to

understanding that any references to PCH are redacted as necessary when sharing outside of this