Type 4 - Creating a Robust Fire Door Management System_2023-03-08

KEITH JAMES I've been dropped in the slot here without much knowledge about what we're going to do. But as I see it, I can be your scribe and just share my screen and capture your comments. (shares screen displaying a document). So the black is what we started with last time and the green is what Richard believes we recommended it to be changed to. I suggest we ignore the black and go with the green, and I’ll read it out. Applying the three types of inspections is a key element to achieving a fire door compliant building as part of a holistic and robust fire door set management system The system must be compliant with the fire and building safety acts along with any future legislation. The following list of recommended actions is provided as useful guidance on how such a system might be implemented. I guess that list is coming from one of the other groups. So, if you if you have any comments that you want to change, you can either submit them later, or I can make changes here and track my changes in Word if it’s minor stuff.

SANDRA CLARK is it worth putting a different colour on that one, as we’re presuming that’s delivered by another group. Just in case that they think that that's our final version and that they don't pick it up and nobody else does provide it.

MARK GROVE You’re talking about the following list of recommended actions. Isn’t the following list our 4.2…I think that’s our list of actions.

KEITH JAMES Ok, so no comment then. Let’s move onto the next one. So, 4.2, decide on budget and time scale, this is potentially a major exercise, likely requiring both the higher level of commitment and resource. It should be noted that an accurate cost is unlikely to be determined prior to the action plan being implemented due to a lack of initial information. This is the first step which will impact on everything below.

MARK GROVE My recollection is we discussed that to put a budget to something and a time scale, you need to know what you're doing. We were just trying to say that you can only do that when you know what you've got to do. You can't decide a budget and a time scale if you don't know what you’re doing.

KEITH JAMES Yes. Should we come back to that later, maybe, and see if that resolves itself working through? Or not. MARK GROVE Is it something around it's unlikely to be determined prior to the action plan being…what's the word? It's not being implemented, it’s the action plan being agreed or defined. You need to define the action plan which is your goals, then you can cost and budget them. SIMON KELLY Yeah, you need to know the full scope. KEITH JAMES So, shall I just say define instead of implemented here? SIMON KELLY Yeah, I think if you change implemented to define I think that helps.

KEITH JAMES So, next one. Decide on the key players and their roles in terms of creating and delivering the system. Probably involving both internal and external personnel. Before this can be undertaken, a decision must be made on how competence of the key players will be determined.

MARK GROVE I was thinking there that you need to sort of put that as the competence is determined by either company or individual or both. And then it's a matter of what qualifications, certification or accreditations either has. SIMON KELLY Well, competency can be a whole host of things. Not just necessarily qualifications etc. It's quite a wide-ranging definition really. MARK GROVE All I had was accreditation, certification i.e. third-party, someone is giving you that certification or qualification. Ass you say, competency, there may be other words in there that sit in with the competency as well. I had certification, whether that's a different to accreditation or as an additional.

KEITH JAMES OK.  think at this point, I'd have thought that the idea is to get as much down as possible, because what we're doing is brainstorming. And then we can check things off. The idea is not to forget stuff. The difficulty I see with competency, yeah, while accreditation is quite important, it’s alright saying we’ve got to have this competency, but then somebody’s got to somehow validate and say, well, if this guy’s going to sign this door off, is he allowed to. Or do you just take his word for it and you end up, if something goes wrong, somebody will look back and say he wasn’t accredited, therefore you can’t do it. I see that as a bit of an issue, somewhere.

MARK GROVE Well, that person shouldn’t be doing the job, should they?

KEITH JAMES No, but unless you’re checking that, nobody is going to know until it’s too late. OK, next, agree a targeted action plan. Acknowledging budget access and time constraints, it would be reasonable to adopt a pragmatic approach to establish a reasonable time frame in which to complete the works. So what we're saying here is if it’s a 6-monthly check, say, it’s got to be done, for example, within a month of the due date. Or 2 months, or whatever you think appropriate.

SANDRA CLARK I think we were talking last time about how we could base this on similar to like a fire risk assessment that there's gonna be some stuff that needs to be done urgently, or immediately, and then there's other stuff that is just routine maintenance that could be picked up along the line. It doesn't necessarily need to be done kind of now or in a month. It could be just picked up the next time it’s planned.

SIMON KELLY I think the action plan is sort of referring to the whole project, if you like, which might include monthly, 6-monthly, yearly inspections, or anything in between. I think that it's not talking about specific inspections per se, it’s around the overall scheme, the plan of how you manage.

KEITH JAMES I've been involved with a hospital where they’ve, according to SFG20, they had a fire door inspection and it would have been a full time job for somebody just walking around checking fire doors all day long, every day. Or more than one, and it just seemed crazy. And they came up with the suggestion that it was to be done differently in busy places than in quiet corridors, for example. So if you're going to adopt that, you would need to assign a category, wouldn't you, to any particular fire doorset. Should I put that down, or not. I don’t know whether you agree.

PAUL COLECLOUGH Is it worth having in here as well for access attempts, as well. Some organisations I've spoken to, when you ? 11mins 39secs reasonable endeavours, some people are happy with two access attempts, some people have gone for three, so I don't know if that's worth adding in.

KEITH JAMES And what happens…you say if you try three times then you can’t get in, or not? PAUL COLECLOUGH Yeah, so basically if you go to access on the first attempt, our organisation actually go down the three access attempt route. We’re documenting every time we go into access, the picture of the card through the front door, through the letter plate, and that way if we’re asked to document our access attempts we’ve got a picture there of the front door, with a number and a card going through the door to evidence that.

MARK GROVE Yeah, we’ve also got a large customer that's going with three attempts as well. And then the system we developed for them automatically emails the responsible person on the client side who can then action legals, they can get some official letters pinged out and sent off to that address, yeah. PAUL COLECLOUGH I mean legal, that’s another discussion, I know some people are going your Gas and ICR route, I know some people aren't going down the legal route just to document, but other organisations are.

KEITH JAMES I’ll just call it escalate, then. Whatever you decide is appropriate. So, if you decide it's a three attempt, you don't tell anybody until you've gone past attempt three and failed. If you do one and two and you don't comment to anybody, you just shrug your shoulders and say, I’ll come back.

PAUL COLECLOUGH Yeah, that’s what I’ve been told, as long as you can evidence that you’ve attempted to get in two to three times that is classed as reasonable endeavours, that’s what the fire service is saying. Obviously from our perspective, if you're from a housing association like we are, if we had continued no access or we challenge of getting access in the property we kind of draft in the housing team to maybe help support us with that. Again, you can document that as well with, obviously, bringing other departments to assist with you as well. Again, further evidence in that you're trying to attempt to access.

KEITH JAMES OK. So, any approach taken in this respect should be underpinned by the risk assessment process. So that would all be part of that, wouldn't it? It's part of your decision as to how many attempts you make and what the escalation is. Does it make the building…shit it down or something, what does it do if it’s not compliant.

PAUL COLECLOUGH As far as I’m aware you’re not required to go down a legal route. You’ve just got to document that you’ve attempted at least two times, that’s what i’ve been advised. It doesn’t get it fixed, but that’s where you need to make your own decision on what your approach is. With us, we draft in the housing team, or if there is a leaseholder we’re having issues with, we get the leaseholder team involved with it to try and help support us with it with access.

SANDRA CLARK And then sometimes you can either use the gas team, because if they’ve got the legal right of access for their annual test. Even if it was a 6-monthly test, if you can get in with the gas team…As an association of as a company there’s going to be different approaches, you can’t define that for them, but what we can do is have something in there about it. PAUL COLECLOUGH Yeah, it’s a good point, Sandra. We’ve done that with the ICRs, basically piggybacked on the back of the gas.

KEITH JAMES OK, I’ll move on. Also it would be advisable to discuss the plan with the authority having jurisdiction e.g. the fire rescue service, which is the enforcing authority, or insurers to make sure they are satisfied with the proposed time scales. I suppose it’s the plan that we’re looking at.

GARETH FLETCHER One aspect maybe missing is resident engagement here, because if it’s a high-rise building and you need access, so maybe getting input from residents could be important on how often they want to maintain the fire doors, what's the best way to contact them about the inspections. So it might be something useful to include here in the plan.

PAUL COLECLOUGH Yeah, another good point. I’ll just refer back to what our approach is with that. So say if we can’t access the first time, we’ve actually got a dedicated

contractor who has their own ? 16mins 54 secs who actually phone the residents directly to try and rearrange an appointment with them. We’ve also had letters go out to residents, and we’ve had quite a good response. To the people we couldn’t get access to we’ve actually contacted the contractor to rearrange the appointment themselves, which has been helpful.

KEITH JAMES I like the fist there, it’s like banging on the door. Let me in! OK, so if an action plan and timescales is agreed and adopted this should be reviewed at regular intervals by senior management to monitor progress and where necessary to amend time frames for completion, for example, where the change of risk level or a change of use. But how do you know there's been a change of use? I mean that that's the issue there, isn't it? It has to be notified, doesn't  it?

SANDRA CLARK Depending on the building, because sometimes you'll have it that is a community building and then they might kind of restructure it to be individual flats or something like that. So normally, especially in the housing association got a fairly good understanding of when there's a change of use there, but I suppose it's when it goes out further than that, I suppose.

KEITH JAMES I mean generally that that sort of dramatic change of use is going to be effectively redesigned, isn't? So that will all be come out in the wash of that process. But do you want to add any notes or not? Then there’s a question here really…SANDRA CLARK Not for me, no. KEITH JAMES OK. So we’ve got door sets referred to everywhere. Now, I think it’s doorset, one word. I think it is.OK, I’ll change that globally afterwards. Clearly the door sets cannot be treated in isolation as the only form one component. The overall fire compartmentation. However, a lot of the passive fire compartment issues will be one off for mediation replacement costs that do not require ongoing BPM. But there is no fear of external intervention.

So, we’re only considering door sets, aren't we? Because that's the stuff I've been involved with. I've been involved with hospitals where the FM don't even know where there are fire dampers in the ceilings, in the ductwork, so they’ve never maintained them. A couple of years ago the NHS were panicking that most hospitals were like that, so they went and had a big survey. We’re on residential, anyway. I guess there might be residential equivalents of ductwork.

SANDRA CLARK It definitely is, because you have them on high-rises, you have the bin chutes that will have dampeners on the bottom of them, and then you've got them on some heat recovery system. So yeah, they're easily forgotten, because they're hidden away in places that nobody looks.

SIMON KELLY The point we were sort of making here was that you can't just take the door set in isolation. You've got to take into account there all that it's set in. Particularly in residential, there’s cables running left, right and centre into peoples flats, It’s making sure that you’re looking at the whole thing and not just the doorset.

MARK GROVE I think it's just the second-half of the paragraph that confuses it a little bit for me, where it’s about it might be one-off remediation. I think if you’re responsible you’re going to look at things around the door set as well, that’s got to be looked at in the same time, really.

SIMON KELLY We would never do a door inspection without ascertaining any risk associated with the wall that it’s sat in, because it would just be pointless. MARK GROVE Yeah, surround constriction I think is the term of floor, ceiling, walls - anything that it’s sat in.

KEITH JAMES So if you take a corridor, most of the services run down the corridor and therefore they would run over the fire door. If you've got a suspended ceiling, you would have loads of cables and pipes running across the top of the fire door, and all of that needs to be sealed, all of that breakage in the firewall. But you can't get to see it, can you? I mean, would you go into the ceiling and look at it, is that going to be on the list?

MARK GROVE Should be, in my view. SIMON KELLY We would certainly lift a couple of the ceiling tiles, so you could have a look above. KEITH JAMES So, shall I put a note there here, then, that we need to consider that as to whether it's part of the fire door or part of the fire wall inspection? Or have you decided it’s part of the fire door set?

SIMON KELLY In theory, it’s not part of the fire door set, but I think both Mark and I come from the point of view that if you're not providing a service of inspecting the door, you need to fully understand where that door sits and what the issues are surrounding it. Otherwise you can have the best door in the world, but if the wall’s not going to sustain that and hold the fire in place, there's not a lot of point having the door then.

MARK GROVE Yeah, may as well not be a fire door, if the other things that support it aren't to the same specification.

KEITH JAMES Especially the bit above it, because that's where the heat goes, isn't it? OK well, I've made that note. The idea of this is to just make reminders and then when you get your copy you can add to it as you see fit. OK, identify and satisfy safety fire door training needs of which is likely to be fire door awareness training. Training to include all staff who might access the building along with all residents. I mean, somebody's a resident, you're going to give them a fire door training course, are you? That’s not going to happen, is it?

SANDRA CLARK I think it’s more about the understanding of the fire door. So it wasn’t necessarily…it was about making sure that there’s more buy-in…PAUL COLECLOUGH Yeah, just awareness, more than anything, not to remove a door closer on anything like that. MARK GROVE It’s sort of flagging up their responsibilities, isn’t it? You’re responsible not to keep the door jammed open with a fire extinguisher. That's your responsibility.

KEITH JAMES I've actually been a visitor to buildings where before I'm allowed in the building I've had to sit through a video about safety, and that's nothing compared with taking up a residency. So you could give them a video and make them sign to say they've seen it, or you could have it as one of these training videos where they ask questions afterwards so they have to answer the questions. I don't know, it's just a thought.

MARK GROVE It would make sense if it tied in with fire alarm checks where everyone has to come out the building while it’s tested. You just have a reminder there and then, you know, maybe some sort of handout to do with the fire alarm system. It’s awareness and responsibilities for staff and resident level. I think they do have some responsibility. They can't claim they don't because if they don't treat things as they should be then it won’t work.

KEITH JAMES The classic thing with fire doors, where people hold them open with the fire extinguisher and stuff. Obviously you don't need that if you've got automatic release mechanisms and they're held open. Presumably you have both live at any time, they’re not al automatic, are they? SANDRA CLARK No, not in housing associations, normally it's just a normal door closes appropriately, maybe if they're in old peoples or people with limited mobility.

KEITH JAMES OK, well that covers the list. Anybody want to add anything else? We did say at the beginning that it's worth, we might want to revisit back at the beginning here. So, applying three types of inspections is a key element to o achieving fire door compliant building as part of a holistic and robust file management system, the system must be compliant with fire and building safety acts, along with future legislation. That’s a thing, isn’t it? Some legislation arrives, and you’ve then got to go and update everything you’ve done on all your buildings, potentially.

SANDRA CLARK That’s exactly what’s been happening. MARK GROVE Yeah, that was January 23rd.

KEITH JAMES So in order to do that would you have a building logbook to record things to say we've now updated this building to comply with this legislation.

GARETH FLETCHER In other industries you have a compliance matrix of legislation and standards that affect your system. So you may have a list of fire regulation standards or building sort of requirements that you need to meet, and then usually you'd have horizon scanning of future legislation that could come into and help that impact on your system. So you'd have as part of your safety management system horizon scanning for future legislation coming through.

KEITH JAMES So, whoever is the responsible manager within the Housing Association needs to be able to go on to a screen and make sure all of his buildings have got a red tick to say they've been updated, or not. And that updated tick comes through the responsible person actually signing it off. So it’s a process of getting it done and then a different person (or the same person, even) validating, approving it, to say, yes, it’s done.

MARK GROVE I think you’re right, it’s having a date stamp of who has said it’s now compliant and evidence to access and where that information is.

SANDRA CLARK It also depends on the software system you have, sometimes you get a dashboard like you do with other compliance areas that quite clearly show you whether you're compliant or not compliant, just by a kind of circle with green and red indicators.

MARK GROVE Meridian, I think, is a risk assessment, which insurers also tap into. If you’re not compliant for them, then you’re in trouble, really.