Compliant, or non-compliant, that is the question
The Golden Thread – Lifecycle of a Fire Door
Fire doorset legislation has changed significantly in the recent years, with changes made at every stage in the lifecycle of a fire doorset, from design & testing to inspection & maintenance. For social housing fire doorset specifications, this means that every stage in the lifecycle of a fire doorset must be reviewed to ensure ongoing compliance with the new legislation.
One of the most important changes to legislation is the introduction of The Golden Thread, created to link all stages in the lifecycle of a fire doorset. Put simply, at each stage of the lifecycle, it ensures that “what is tested, is manufactured, surveyed, installed and maintained”.
There are five steps in the lifecycle of compliance for a fire doorset, with the first step (Design & Test) being the key reference point for all other steps to ensure the original design intent is preserved.
Only 55% Compliant?
In a recent white paper research completed with Housing Management & Maintenance, we asked specifiers of fire doorsets in social housing if they included key elements of the new legislation in their specifications. Our results produced some alarming findings, highlighting our concern that changes recommended and legally required have not been fully implemented.
Our research was aimed at understanding how the new legislation and guidance had been adopted, with particular focus on use of 3rd party certified companies and individuals to complete each stage in the lifecycle.
For each question we asked, a minimum of 30% of respondents had either not included 3rd party accreditation or were unsure/ didn’t know if 3rd party accreditation was included in the specification. Meaning within the respondents questioned, a significant percentage had not implemented these legislative changes and recommendations.
This was especially alarming for the annual inspection of a fire doorset, where it is a legal requirement that the annual inspection is carried out by a 3rd party certified inspector.
With 29% of respondents not including this in their specifications and a further 15% who are unsure or didn’t know. Therefore a high percentage of doors that may initially be fully compliant, risk future non-compliance due to this key omission. It is of paramount importance that maintenance teams are fully trained and have knowledge of the individual aspects of a fire doorset. This should include, tested performance knowledge and product composition to ensure what was tested is the same as what is surveyed, manufactured, installed and maintained.
As an example, if a fire doorset has a damaged or broken piece of glazing, the maintenance team will need to have been trained and have the knowledge of how the doorset was constructed. They must be able to replace components like for like and know what components should be replaced as part of this repair. This will ensure the fire doorset remains compliant and its performance is maintained as per original design intent. For example, how will a non-trained maintenance team be able to know the type of glass required to carry out a repair?
We are hearing about a number of reported cases where components are being replaced during maintenance with components that are not part of the original test data and even where non-fire rated components have been used.
When specifications are changed and aren’t reviewed to ensure compliance with legislation, this brings significant personal risk to you as the responsible person(s). Under the new legislation the responsible person(s) is both legally and financially at risk if The Golden Thread is not adhered to at every stage of the lifecycle.