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Liability for doors failing fire safety review

Guest Julian

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Guest Julian

Hi all,

I’m one of the directors of the RMO of a block of 32 residential flats which was built seven years ago. Following the new fire safety guidelines for blocks over 11 m, we had our first door fire safety inspection last year. 

Unfortunately, all doors failed the inspection. 72 communal doors (mostly riser cupboards) need replacement ans they are not compliant, annd all 32 front doors require remidial work to close existing gaps. I have attached examples of the report for both types of doors  

Replacing and fixing such a vast number of doors would obviously put a massive financial burden on the leaseholders of the block, so we are trying to establish whose liability it is to pay for the remidial work. Our block management company say they aren’t responsible because the requirement to review doors for their fire safety only came into place in 2023, hence they didn’t know about the issues any sooner. 

The property developer also refuses liability, saying those defects would’ve been so obvious that we should have raised them at an earlier point when the doors were still under defect warranty and that evidence would be needed to class them as latent defects. 

What are your views on this? Can the developer simply pass on liability by saying “you should’ve told us earlier?”, even though nobody here has the technical knowledge to assess doors for their fire safety compliance..

Would it have been the block management responsibility to review this and notify them earlier? Or should we try claiming under NHBC, (we are still in the 10 year warranty period)?

Any thoughts and views are welcome, thanks for your help.



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I have to agree to a certain extent with the developer, the fire doors should have been inspected every six months (BS 9999, I.6.2 Fire doors) they should have been inspected 12 times. Did any statutory inspection pick up these defects? And why did you not go back to the builder with this information. 

You may have recourse to the party that conducted the previous risk assessments for the building if they did not highlight the defects to the doors.

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Guest Julian

Thank you both for your feedback. The management company has indeed conducted monthly fire safety inspections of the block with their own staff since it was built, always with the remark "Fire doors checked? Yes." and no further remarks.

Annual Health Safety Fire inspections prior to 2023 were conducted by a 3rd party consultancy. I can see in a report from 2021 that it flagged that no records of regular fire door inspections had been made available by the management company, see screenshot attached.

We are planning on confronting the block management company with their negligence in regards of flagging such obvious fire safety issues. In previous meetings, they have suggested that the issues highlighted in the latest report are only due to changes in legislation, quoting this link.

Can anyone confirm whether the aforementioned issues with the riser cupboard doors and the lack of front door certifications would have been non-compliant, even before the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into effect?

Screenshot 2024-01-10 at 15.41.53.png

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A competent fire door inspector would be able to make an opinion as to whether a fire door is up to standard by a visual inspection to declare the door as a “Nominal” fire door based on the weight thickness and construction.

Usually, a monthly fire door check is little more than a visual user inspection looking for obvious defects.  There should be a 6 monthly inspection the checks all aspects of the door including gap sizes.

The gaps of +2 to +4 have been standard for at least the last 20 years, Attached from a Halspan certificate January 2008

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Whilst recent changes in legislation have been more prescriptive in maintenance intervals there has always been a requirement for planned maintenance of fire doors under Article 17 of the Fire Safety Order and this has been re-emphasised in the latest guidance due to confusion that it was new or only applied to certain heights of building.

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