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Paulgiv

FD 30 door replacement mandated?

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My mother in law lives in a private flat along with about 50 other flats. I'm joint owner of the flat although I don't live there (its predominantly for retired residents). The flats were built in 1989 and all have their original front doors leading into a communal hallway. The property management company have written to all residents and informed them that they must replace their existing front doors with FD 30 standard front doors at the owners expense. Are they allowed to mandate the fitment of FD 30 doors in an existing building?

Thanks in advance.

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Not sure about "........mandate the fitment of FD30 doors........." but certainly as the owner of a flat you have a legal duty to ensure the flat entrance door (if it opens onto a common area inside the block of flats) is fire resistant and will also restrict the spread of cold smoke. 

Of course, your flat entrance door may already be a fire door so you should start by having an expert inspect the door so that you know what you need to do next.

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Thanks for your reply. You say that there is a legal duty to ensure that the entrance door leading into a common area is fireproof but does that mean the door has to meet the very latest standards rather than the standards in force when the building was constructed? If that's the case, its possible that the residents could be stung for a new door every few years as standards change. 

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If they are built in 1989 and the original doors they are likely to be to FD30 standard and may even have intumescent seals. Also current Government guidance doesn't require retrospective replacement across the board, there are circumstances where no change is needed, or where upgrading existing will suffice.

You should have a specialist inspect the door and also ask for the FRA that said it was required 

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Thanks Anthony. According to the property management company, a fire risk assessment carried out at the property identified that the doors do not meet FD30 standard. They do not say why they don't meet FD30 standard. Last year the management company arranged and billed the flat owners for additional fireproofing for the doors but apparently they still don't meet FD30 standard. From what I gather, the  additional work was fitting intumescent seals. They have now given an estimate of £300 plus vat for the work required. This does not include the door itself which they say *should* be fine. As the door already has a door closer, I can only assume that the hinges, letter box and spy hole need replacing but that's a lot of money.

From what I've read in the Local Government Association's "Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats" document, and I quote:-

"When a block of flats is designed and constructed, Building Regulations make requirements in respect of various fire safety measures. However, there is no ongoing control for the maintenance of these measures under Building Regulations".

"There is no requirement under the Building Regulations for upgrading existing fire safety measures to current standards. However, existing non-compliances with the current Building Regulations must not be made any worse in the course of alterations or building works"

It seems to me that the property management company wish to improve fire safety standards within their building (and understandably so) but want the resident leaseholders to pay for this. The residents are all elderly and with limited income. It seems to me that there is no legal basis to force the residents to upgrade their flat doors but I welcome evidence to the contrary.

Thanks.

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19 hours ago, Paulgiv said:

Thanks for your reply. You say that there is a legal duty to ensure that the entrance door leading into a common area is fireproof but does that mean the door has to meet the very latest standards rather than the standards in force when the building was constructed? If that's the case, its possible that the residents could be stung for a new door every few years as standards change. 

No legal requirement to upgrade a 1989 fire door to 2018 standards. However, assuming the door needs to be a fire door then it must be fit for purpose. https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/fire-safety-purpose-built-04b.pdf should be useful to you.

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Thanks Neil. The quotes I gave in my previous post were actually taken from the link you gave. As far as I can see, the door met all the requirements for fire doors when the building was constructed and the management company can't force the residents to comply with modern standards.

I spoke with my mother in law by phone today and she confirmed that the doors are 44mm thick but the door closer is of the perko chain type, which is probably what they want changing but they want to charge her £360 for the privilege. I can get a decent EN1154 closer for £22.

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The last management company that forced new doors on residents and expected them to pay the bill when they weren't needed nor in poor repair lost at tribunal and had the foot the not unsubstantial bill themselves.

Sounds like the management company has had poor advice, the FRA should have been more specific as to whether new or upgraded doors would suffice and why in relation to the tables in the LGA Guide and the risk.

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Just as a follow up, I had a meeting with the management company on Tuesday. When presented with documents I had researched, they admitted that they could not force residents to upgrade their front doors. They said that the directive had come down from the freeholder but I pointed out that the management company had a responsibility to ensure that any instruction or directive passed on by them was in fact legal. The management company said that new legislation was imminent (post Grenfell) which will require action by residents. I said there is no point is wasting money when we don't know what any new legislation will require.

I priced up the parts required to make the existing doors FD30 compliant. They already have intumescent seals fitted but would need a new door closer, letterbox and fireproof hinges. The cost of those parts would be £53. I reckon fitting would take no more than 1.5 hours labour. I told the management company that their £360 quote was ripping off elderly residents. I said that if the freeholder was so keen to upgrade the doors, they should offer to fund the labour costs and the residents could pay the £53 material costs. They weren't interested in spending any of their own money.

 

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No new legislation is on the cards at the moment other than the Approved Document for Fire Safety under Building Regulations is up for review - but this is only guidance and only affects new builds and alterations to existing.

Well done for standing up to the misinformation that's flying around at the moment.

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Guest Paul

Hi all.

i fit doors for a living and since Grenfell no longer fit fire doors due to liability and people not knowing understanding whats required of a firedoor, eg hinges letter plate locks,  and seals along with the frame etc.

Been to lots of houses in multiple occupancy and  also flats and apartments, which have to many locks no CE marked fire hinges, no seals etc etc, you try telling the customer/client whats required and they just take it as a hard sell, its not its a possible life saver.

Sadly a lot of managing agents see it a money pot, by scaring residents into paying for new doors and frames with the resultant disruption redecoration of the area, plaster damaged, painting etc.

As above  ask for the relevance Fire inspection report, ask lots of questions, research the matter and possibly as a group employ a fire door inspector, or person with knowledge of fire doors, to ask questions on your behalf.

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Guest JohnJWS

I think you'll find that FD30S applies, not just FD30.

 

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Guest JohnJWS

My sons housing association have insisted on new doors and frames across the borough, 4 flats in block, £1200 per leaseholder. So far it's taken near a tear and door still not compliant.,

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You make a good point JohnJWS.

1) Restricted smoke spread will be a requirement for flat entrance doors, there may however be smoke ventilation at the corridor and staircase.

2) There is a shortage of competent fire door installers.

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Guest Pumpkin Pots

I am a leaseholder and own a ground floor converted flat in a house, which has only 2 flats. My landlord aka freeholder wants to charge me £2300 to replace my flat entrance fire door with a new FD30 door. Is this crazy? Thanks.

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Firstly it depends whether you need a FD30s fire door, does it opens into a common area or does it open to fresh air. Secondly I would question the price, it seems a little high, I would be asking for a least three quotes.

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