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Upgrading Fire Door and New Legislation


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Hi everyone, before I get to my topic I'd just like to say a huge thankyou to the admin/mods/contributors of this forum, it's been an invaluable resource so far.

So here's my query, me and my neighbours have just received a letter from the managing agents of our development (a mix of 2 and 3 storey blocks) saying that after a fire risk assessment we all have to upgrade (not replace) our front doors to comply with current regulations by retro-fitting intumescent seals and smoke strips and ensuring that hinges and closers comply. 

The doors are marked with a blue dot in a white circle and have 25mm doorstops for smoke control and are stated as being in good condition and fit on the report, the assessor is saying that without smoke seals they're only a 20 minute door so need them fitted (they appear to be ignoring the 25mm stops).

I've studied all the literature I can find on this and focused on the 'Local Government Association guide to fire safety in purpose built blocks of flats 2011' (link courtesy of here) as this seems to be the fire safety bible and it pretty much says that if the door is original to the build (in good condition and fit) it would have complied with fire  regs of the time and (whilst it might be desirable) there is no need to upgrade (the only exception being the rising butt hinges, all of ours have overhead closers).  I got hold of the number for the assessor and called them to query it and was told that the doors needed to have 25mm doorstops and seals to comply, I mentioned that the Local government association guidance had a different view on it and got a very short and swift "new regulations just came in".

I've hunted high and low, found a few new government documents on the topic the most recent being July of this year, but nothing that says the situation has changed with regards to existing fire doors and having to upgrade in fact the most recent documents say to refer back to the LGA guidance. If I'm missing it please can someone point me in the right direction and can you clarify whether this work needs to be done.

My concern is that the managing agents are just applying a blanket policy across all their properties to cover their butts because they know they can't force us to replace the doors

p.s. we all own a share of the freehold so we are the freeholders.

Thanks in advance, Richard

 

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If they are blue in white plugged they are 30/30 doors to the old standard and as long as there are intumescent strips in the door or frame and have the right ironmongery are effectively FD30 doors. If the installers back in the day just used a 25mm stop this invalidates the plug marking as it requires the intumescent for the performance to be acceptable.

The 25mm stop dates back to before the existence of intumescent strips and if you have a door with the correct strips then the stop on a single door is immaterial. 

They would still be notional doors though and acceptable under the purpose built flat guide (which has been re-issued recently although a full revision is underway).

Having said that I'd be more comfortable adding the intumescent strip that should always have been there and if doing that the additional cost of intumescent strips with cold smoke seals as oppose to just the strip is negligible enough such that you might as well go all the way and restore it to FD30S status.

Your agent is covering themselves really - at least they aren't in the militant "rip out every door and door frame in the country and replace new" brigade that seem to be increasing in traction!

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Hi Anthony, thanks for your response glad you think they fall into the notional door category.  Just got  a slight query on whether the doors qualified as 30minute doors (without the intumescent strips) when they were installed, I should have mentioned that they were new builds in the mid 80s, as there's around 50 flats in total, seems surprising that building control would sign them all off if they didn't comply, although it was the time of "Auf wiedersehen Pet"

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