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Fire & Smoke Doors - reasonable & practicable upgrades

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Paul1979
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Fire & Smoke Doors - reasonable & practicable upgrades

Post by Paul1979 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:20 pm

This isn't a case specific query - just something I am seeing more and more in Fire Door inspection reports...

Two parts really - first is glazing in the lower 1500mm of door leaf. Huge number of doors still have Georgian Wired glazing, which doesn't appear to be regarded as adequate safety glass. But, does appear to provide adequate levels of fire & smoke resistance (if fitted properly). From a FRA perspective, when would you regard it reasonable & practicable for the client to replace? I've seen some reports show the glazing must be replaced immediately, whereas other say replace as & when the door-set / assembly needs replacing...

The second is the threshold gap...again, older Fire Door guidance suggests that 10mm gap is acceptable, but BS9999 & BS8214 which are of course more modern guides show 3mm is accepted, unless threshold seal fitted. Again, same question is whether or not the 10mm should be accepted (as it was at time of sign off by BCO) or whether the client MUST or SHOULD adjust the door-set now?' .scratch

Fully appreciate each case must be assessed on own merits and consideration to Life risk is essential, so just looking for some broad guidance on these...

As always, thank you for everyone who takes time to reply to my silly questions... .salut

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Re: Fire & Smoke Doors - reasonable & practicable upgrades

Post by hammer1 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:48 pm

Paul1979 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:20 pm
This isn't a case specific query - just something I am seeing more and more in Fire Door inspection reports...

Two parts really - first is glazing in the lower 1500mm of door leaf. Huge number of doors still have Georgian Wired glazing, which doesn't appear to be regarded as adequate safety glass. But, does appear to provide adequate levels of fire & smoke resistance (if fitted properly). From a FRA perspective, when would you regard it reasonable & practicable for the client to replace? I've seen some reports show the glazing must be replaced immediately, whereas other say replace as & when the door-set / assembly needs replacing...

I
I understand Georgian wired glass is more suited for integrity and than insulation fire resistance, ADB provides guidance on area of a door where non insulated glazing is/not acceptable. If the fire doors are passing risks, then I would ask for replacement as a priority. Table B5 of ADB Volume 1. Most state only acceptable above 1100mm, depends on location....HOWEVER, we need to consider the notional value of the door, especially in front entrance doors, which reading the recent Advice Notes we should no longer consider? However they are still acceptable in current guidance document of fire safety in purpose built flats. As with everything it depends on risk, taking into account location and other fire safety elements of the building - most consultants will state removal as standard to cover themselves without even considering the risk (sad state of the times as it does not assist the RP at all)
The second is the threshold gap...again, older Fire Door guidance suggests that 10mm gap is acceptable, but BS9999 & BS8214 which are of course more modern guides show 3mm is accepted, unless threshold seal fitted. Again, same question is whether or not the 10mm should be accepted (as it was at time of sign off by BCO) or whether the client MUST or SHOULD adjust the door-set now?' .scratch

[b
]I think BS8214 no longer is specific on threshold gaps and now point you to the manufacturers recommendations, which again is no use for notional fire doors as this data is non-existent, so again if existing fire door then 10mm gap would have been accepted, no need to retrospectively adjust because the BS has changed it mind. [/b]
Fully appreciate each case must be assessed on own merits and consideration to Life risk is essential, so just looking for some broad guidance on these...

As always, thank you for everyone who takes time to reply to my silly questions... .salut
Talking for fire door surveys etc, don't you think these are a waste of time for existing blocks - they mainly assess against modern BS standards, which is great if building is new build or fairly recent, however no good for 60s/70s/80s blocks as you will always have 90% plus fail on doors, which is not a true reflection. It provides a false sense of concern to occupiers as notional value and risk is not considered.

Only once have I had a more risk assess approach from someone from ASDMA which was very good.

Sad to say most are running away from risk assess approach and not considering what is deemed reasonably practicable...

What is not reasonably practicable –

Incurring costs in bringing about a reduction in risks that are seriously out of proportion to the benefits achieved by the reduction in risk
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Re: Fire & Smoke Doors - reasonable & practicable upgrades

Post by Paul1979 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:18 pm

Thank you hammer for the reply; much appreciated as always!

Yes, agree - there seems a lot of fire door inspectors assessing doors against current / new standards...so straight away, they fail on a multitude of items which were not always relevant at time of original build & installation.

But, I am no FD expert - I can spot the normal defects (gaps / strips & seals / damaged components, etc) but I use the fire door inspectors reports as a guide on other significant issues which could possibly result in a breach of the FSO 2005.

Replacing whole door-sets just because a door handle is loose or a hinge is leaking is overkill in my humble opinion, especially in Low Risk areas...unfortunately, a lot of the time, its the fire door inspector who then subsequently says he cannot certificate the door set / assembly once alterations are made, so he/she tells poor old client they have to replace the who lot for them to be 'compliant'...which tends to cause client melt-down!! Coincidentally, the fire door inspector then offers to supply & install the new door set to save the day! ;)

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

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Re: Fire & Smoke Doors - reasonable & practicable upgrades

Post by bernicarey » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:59 pm

I'm a cynical old sceptic when it comes to a lot of inspect/supply organisations.

Yes, there are services such as training which I can offer my clients after I have audited and said they need some for their staff; but that tends to be a cut and dried issue for which I can rely on influences of a suitable Risk Assessment, such as First Aid training.
I have on occasion provided training sessions about how to do risk assessments, rather than have to do them myself for the client. I would much rather spread the knowledge and thus let the client take responsibility.

But when it comes to Fire Extinguisher Suppliers advising how many to have, or Fire Door Suppliers inspecting older door installations and then insisting that they fall so far short that full replacement is required.... :roll: far too much of a vested interest for my liking.

This is what BS9999 says about the 6 monthly inspection of Fire Doors....
FireDoor.JPG
There's nothing about all the trivia that might be added on by an 'Inspector' who also has a Sales commitment.
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Re: Fire & Smoke Doors - reasonable & practicable upgrades

Post by bernicarey » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:42 pm

Paul1979 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:20 pm
...first is glazing in the lower 1500mm of door leaf. Huge number of doors still have Georgian Wired glazing, which doesn't appear to be regarded as adequate safety glass. But, does appear to provide adequate levels of fire & smoke resistance (if fitted properly). From a FRA perspective, when would you regard it reasonable & practicable for the client to replace? I've seen some reports show the glazing must be replaced immediately, whereas other say replace as & when the door-set / assembly needs replacing...
Bah Humbug! It's not current safety glass when it comes to small children, but it is adequate Fire Resistant Glass. If it's in schools etc, then cover it with shatter resistant film. There's a blog I found here: http://www.doubleglazingblogger.com/201 ... red-glass/
The blogger cites an example of a Canadian Teen who cut his arm in school; but it is only part of a report found on a Canadian website:
https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/201 ... reaks.html

I have never seen UK wired glass in Fire Doors or elsewhere which would allow that to happen. The glass is just so thick you'd need a hammer to break through the glass and wires. BS6206 was the old standard which allowed the glass to break, but no opening could appear which allowed a 76mm sphere to pass through.... so if that was the standard for the glass in the Canadian incident, how did the teen's palm go through it...? .scratch I suspect Canadian standards were not up to BS equivalent, or were not enforced in their building regs.

To my mind the 3rd comment is the biggest factor of that blog, "a boost to the work of Glaziers".
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Re: Fire & Smoke Doors - reasonable & practicable upgrades

Post by Paul1979 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:49 pm

Thank you Bernicarey for detailed reply...really appreciated! thanks.

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Re: Fire & Smoke Doors - reasonable & practicable upgrades

Post by witsd » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:30 am

From an FRA perspective, the only question I ask is "Will this door hold back a fire long enough to allow everyone to evacuate?"

In almost all commercial buildings, the answer to that will be yes, even if it's not a fire door.

A self closer and a decent fitting door+frame would be required, but more than that would be above and beyond in terms of reducing the risk to life, with the only exceptions being around refuge areas, or where plant rooms open onto escape routes. If you aren't getting everyone out within 2-3 minutes, doors are the least of your problems.


In residential however, this is flipped on its head. Now you are dealing with stay put policies, and have to consider that you need that fire contained until extinguished, because there will be people who cannot self-evacuate for various reasons. Suddenly upgrading a slightly dodgy fire door is far better value for money.

In terms of the protection of property, and what insurers will be willing to pay for though? Different ball game.
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Re: Fire & Smoke Doors - reasonable & practicable upgrades

Post by Paul1979 » Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:50 pm

Thank you witsd - that's a great explanation. You're spot on - evac drills in most of the premises show everyone is out in the fresh air in between 2-3 mins. Also, high levels of AFD seem to be incorporated (well over the minimum requirements set out in guides such as BS9999 and 5839) which helps.

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