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Guest JohnBla

Are door mats outside door a fire risk?

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Guest JohnBla

are external door mats a fire risk within a block of 4 flats a fire risk? They are in the corridor. It's a local housing association.

Best regards John

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Hi John, if the route is a protected route then it should be sterile of unnecessary fire loading (things that can burn), the essential fabrics are accepted as being necessary otherwise it would be a cold place! The subject of doormats, always raises concerns & when completing a fire risk assessment I do not get upset or ask for simple doormats (designed as such & not a piece of old carpet) to be removed as long as they are not likely to present a trip hazard.

Hope this helps, your housing association should have conducted a fire risk assessment of the common parts with regular reviews, if they are an issue then the fire risk assessor should have recorded their removal as an action point.

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Guest Eclipse

If the fire risk assessor records the doormats removal as an action point, can this be challenged?

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Your responsibility ends at your front door and the commons area including the corridors are the responsibility and property of the housing association. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the housing association to conduct a fire risk assessment of the common area, which they have done and decided that door mats are a hazard, I suspect a tripping hazard therefore not allowed. I believe you do not have any right of challenge other than to speak to your housing association and try to change there mind.

Have you considered having the door mat inside the flat, I do, I live in a house and if I had it outside is would not work.

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Guest Mike W

The fact of the matter is John, That the manufacturers, sellers and importers of door mats can get sued if you trip over them so they now produce mats that are non-slip non-trip especially the welcome mats that you can buy. Also in the fire regulations 1988 all domestic furnishings have to be fire retardant which includes door mats. I believe the council are using very old regulations about 30 years old in older to get their point across.

Regards MikeW

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Guest Hannayhouse

Is  anyone aware of any power a housing organisation has to remove and keep or destroy a tenants door mat with or without notice or explanation?

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You need a solicitor not a fire safety forum, considering the fire safety aspect, a door mat can be a hazard depending on an assessment but how the Responsible Person should deal with it, is for the RP and his/her actions is not a fire safety problem.

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Guest BSP

Refer to HSE case 30  which ruled that Entrance Mats provided that tehy are in the recesses of apartment doorways are not Slip or Trip or Fire Hazards 

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On 02/11/2017 at 15:58, Guest Hannayhouse said:

I  anyone aware or any power a housing organisation has to remove and keep or destroy a tenants door mat with or without notice or explanation?

I'm sorry to disappoint you but the HA have a choice with regards to controlling the presence of combustible materials and ignition sources in communal areas. It seems to me that they adopted ‘zero tolerance’ policy, i.e. the common parts are effectively ‘sterile’ - free of combustible materials, ignition sources and obstructions based on the fire risk assessment. 

The alternative would be to adopt the ‘managed use’ policy. There are advantages and disadvantages to both policies. The so called 'managed use' policy would allow residents to store, for example, pot plants and door mats outside their front doors, have framed pictures and notice boards on walls, store bicycles, prams and mobility scooters in places that are out of the way and not likely to cause obstruction. 

If I were you, I would accept their findings. The HA may quote 'Fire safety in purpose-builtblocks of flats' guide. Although this is only a guidance document (unlike Approved Code of Practices enshrined in law), this guide is widely used by enforcing authorities, amongst others. Good luck!

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On 11/07/2014 at 12:17, Guest Eclipse said:

If the fire risk assessor records the doormats removal as an action point, can this be challenged?

Anything can be challenged but if he/she suggested 'zero tolerance' policy it would be difficult to challenge it. Mind you, enforcing authorities favour this policy over the 'managed use' policy. 

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Guest Red Devil 1969

We are a social housing provider. We have a managed approach with our 2, 3 and 4 storey flats. We allow doormats and some small household items provided they do not constitute a trip hazard and are not readily ignitable. The question has been highlighted regarding tenants carpeting outside of their flat on the communal landing and sometimes on the stairs. 

I personally don't see any issues within these low and mid-rise buildings as it fosters a sense of pride within the flats and therefore the residents will tend to look after the area. This is on the proviso that all other fire systems are in good condition and security to the communal area is controlled.

Please give me any ideas or thoughts...

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I would agree with you it is all about risk assessment, I know some require a total ban and some a more reasonable approach, I think I would take the more reasonable approach, but it is important the tenants know the necessary limits.

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Guest Scrambled

I was interested to see this issue talked about here.

I live in what is called, by the local council, a walk up block. It has a ground floor and a top floor, with external stairs. I have my own front door that opens to the elements, a walkway that services just five people, including me.

These so called 'blocks' are designed mainly for those over the age of 60. We were issued letters to remove everything in front of our doors in September last year, in quite a forceful way. We were told we would be fined if items, including doormats, were not removed. Again, we were told the doormats were a fire hazard. Since I challenged this, I have discovered that they are not classed as a fire hazard, from the Fire Risk Assessment, carried out in June 2017. I have spoken to both the Fire Service, and the Risk Assessors, who say they a absolutely not a fire hazard, or a source of ignition. I have also asked for statistics as evidence, to back up the councils claim of them being a fire hazard, but none provided.

So it comes down to the trip hazard. There are no statistics to prove they are. The Fire and Rescue Services consider the stairs to be more of a risk than the doormat. That, and the fact my front door, is not a fire door. When I asked if there were any reported incidents, where a fire fighter had trip on a doormat, again, none.

The zero tolerance policy I understand, in larger blocks of flats. But the managed use policy would have been a better option for the walk up blocks. What really annoyed me was, one option for using  zero tolerance was " if there is doubt over the ability of residents to apply the managed use policy". So who is going to do the assessment of residents to determine their ability?

In my humble opinion, if councils are going to apply zero tolerance, then it has to ALL properties. In recent days I passed a 'council' house. I'm surprised anyone could get to the front door, let alone a fire fighter! There was so much rubbish in the way.

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 I would agree with you that door mats are a very low fire risk but they are certainly a tripping hazard in varying degrees and it is important that you do not create a situation where people escaping could fall with possible serious results.

I have a door mat and it is in a doormat well which is designed to eliminate any tripping hazard but like the council house tenants I am not subject to the RR(FS)O so it is an issue that does not rise. 

I think they should be subject to a fire risk assessment and managed but unfortunately some landlords look for the easy way out.

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