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Replacement Fire Doors in Common Areas


Guest Mike

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Guest Mike

We currently are part of a development built in 2007 with one two storey and one three storey block. There are common areas in each with a total of four cupboards. None of these have fire rated doors and we have an instruction to replace them with FD30 doors. I have two questions, firstly, can we have the doors replaced but using a competent professional joiner and then have them assessed by a qualified fire inspector or do they need to be supplied, fitted and certified by the same individual? My second question is as all residents (12) hold the freehold can we reach an agreement whereby we all accept responsibility for the integrity of the cupboard doors and do not replace them with fire doors? Would this be illegal?

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Where has the 'instruction to replace them' come from?    What authority does the instruction carry?   Has a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment been carried out and if so what was concluded with respect to the four cupboard doors?   

The answers to these questions will help the freeholders make the decisions.

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Guest Mike

Thank you for your response Neil.

Although purchase of the freehold is imminent it has not yet been finalised. The Freeholders live in the same development so it they are directly effected. A report was made by a Fire Door Inspector on behalf of the managing agent and it was reported that the doors are not fire rated and need to be replaced.

Given that is the case, if the new freeholders decide that the doors can remain as they are at present, is that permissable or are they legally obliged to act on the report?

If the doors are to be replaced can a competent professional joiner be used to fit them and then have them assessed by the same fire door inspector. We have a quote from a company that can fit and certify each door at a cost of £2,000 each. We believe it would be cheaper to have them installed and assessed seperately.

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Guest Replacement Fire Doors

Thank you for your response Neil.

Although purchase of the freehold is imminent it has not yet been finalised. The Freeholders live in the same development so it they are directly effected. A report was made by a Fire Door Inspector on behalf of the managing agent and it was reported that the doors are not fire rated and need to be replaced.

Given that is the case, if the new freeholders decide that the doors can remain as they are at present, is that permissable or are they legally obliged to act on the report?

If the doors are to be replaced can a competent professional joiner be used to fit them and then have them assessed by the same fire door inspector. We have a quote from a company that can fit and certify each door at a cost of £2,000 each. We believe it would be cheaper to have them installed and assessed seperately.

All of the cupboards are stopped top. The cupboards are as follows:-

1 - electricity meters

2 - gas & water meters

3- TV satellite equipment

4 - empty

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The fire door inspector should not mandate replacement of doors but they should report any fire door safety issues for the Fire Risk Assessor at the building to advise the Responsible Person about what suitable and sufficient action should be taken.  Articles 17 and 38 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 apply. 

If the cupboards are located on an escape route or access route and there is a risk of fire within the cupboard it is very likely that the doors would need to be fire doors. Fire doors should be installed and checked for compliance by a Competent Person, Article 18 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies.

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Guest Mike

Thanks again for your response Neil.

It is clear that the doors will need to be replaced where there are meters and electrical equipment present. This leaves one cupboard that is empty. I would assume that the responsible person, currently the landlord, who has been notified of what has been reported by the Fire Door Inspector can make a decision on whether or not it is replaced. Currently the Managing Agent who commisiioned the report is informing the landlord that the door must be replaced. Even removing the door completely and having a recessed space is not permissable.

The other thing that I am unsure of is who becomes the Responsible Person when the freehold is purchased. There will be a new company set up to control ownership but ultimately this will be owned by all of the residents. I can't imagine any one individual will want to put their name forward as the RP in view of the potential liabilities they could be responsible for.

Finally, from a layman's point of view, I cannot understand why a fire inspection does not recommend a smoke alarm in each cupboard as this would give everybody an immediate notification that there was an issue, whereas a fire door will correctly surpress the spread of a fire but potentially conceal the problem until it is well advanced.

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The fire door will hold the fire back until it dies down due to lack of oxygen, the last thing you would want to do is open it. The fire loading & oxygen supply would be expected to be insufficient to sustain a fire long enough for the door to fail. That's why there is no requirement for detection

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