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Fire Doors

Are your Fire Doors fit for purpose? Fire doors can be our hidden saviour that often can be forgotten. They’re designed to make sure that smoke and fire don’t pass through it for at least 30 minutes (FD30S, but can be longer depending on the design / type of door), and yet at the same time still look and open as a usual door.   This is essential to slow the fire and smoke spreading throughout a property and causing damage and putting people’s lives at risk. They may contain any incident just within one area which can save serious harm and damage, and therefore is an important part of any assessment of fire risks within property.   In addition to there being any main entrance and exit doors at a property, fire doors can be littered throughout the property into separate rooms and floors, and even in the middle of long corridors. The Fire Door Responsibilities When considering what’s needed, think of this as in two ways.   The first is when the property is first constructed or refurbished, building regulations kick in to determine where these should be and what they should be like. This is a specialist area for any principal contractor, project manager, architect, or other construction professional.   The second is to ensure that whatever fire doors already exist they are always checked and operational (I.e., Not damaged and still close correctly). It’s one thing to have them working at day one, but another to make sure they can do what they’re supposed to do on an ongoing basis.   This second element is more under the banner of property management, with the main duty under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 a suitable person to assess these as part of a Fire Risk Assessment and complete appropriate inspection and maintenance of these doors (commercial properties). There is also a requirement in HMO’s and flats within the domestic setting.   As these doors have to withstand extremely high temperatures is recommended that an experienced and qualified contractor or professional doing this rather than the actual Fire Risk Assessor whose main role is to oversee lots of other issues affecting fire safety or even a person from the building.   Frequency wise, the rule of thumb is often every six months for a formal inspection and check, with any ad-hoc quick ones in between. This of course depends upon the nature of the property and users using it. The best advice is to check the doors yourselves on a regular basis and get experts in to carry out the formal checks (as above) or if you notice any issues with the doors. The 8 Essentials Checklist of Checking Fire Doors So, when someone does inspect such fire dorms here are 8 essential factors to look out for. These are of course very general, and helpful to gain an overall understanding of what’s required.   This is just a quick method for a competent person to visually check these say on routine monthly building check, with a proper approved contractor or Fire Risk Assessor completing a full and detailed inspection say every 6 months and or part of a fire assessment. 1. Wedged Open This is a simple one to begin with, and more to do with the way in which a door is being used rather than its condition. By the nature of them being fire doors to stop any fire or smoke spreading they must be closed when not in use, which may not be ideal from a practical perspective of regular use or carrying items through, but from a fire perspective is essential.   People therefore can prop open through wedges on the floor or more inventive ways such as fire extinguishers acting as a stop. These are all definite no-go areas, with more regular checking and communication to people being needed. If doors do need to be open all the time you can look at installing door release connected / linked to your fire alarm. 2. Closing Doors Linked with the above point, they will need to automatically close in the most cases, the idea is that by default they close and are not left for people to remember manually. The main exclusion can be on any final exit door where the need is to keep it open to get people out of the building.   ‘Self-Closers’ are the devices often used to do this, can be a large metal box and lever at the top of the door, or sometimes a magnetic door holder linked to the fire alarm which release the door when the fire alarm goes off and is often installed with a std self-closer. Whatever closer it is, make sure that it's the correct one and does what it needs to do.   You need to make sure they work OK, i.e., no obvious issues like oil leaks and loose parts, and though they are adjusted for just the right degree of closing (they can sometimes close either too quickly and slam shut, or too slowly and not have the momentum to latch properly). A good rule of thumb is around 8 seconds for the door to correctly close. 3. Hinges Basic operational parts like this need to be checked and operating satisfactorily. So, hinges have the correct amount of screws all tight, the minimum number of 3 hinges, and any oil stains or damage noted. Also, that they are actually the correct specification, and not just say a domestic-grade one for commercial properties.   4. Doors & Frames An obvious one, but make sure that the actual door and frame around it is secured and working fine. Right from the frame not being loose against walls and ceilings, to the door itself not being warped or twisted.   Also look for any damage to these, often accidently over time   This includes no gaps (over 3mm), holes, or cracks that compromise the integrity of the door and could potentially allow smoke and fire through. A classic example is where someone has retro-fitted a mortice lock with a typical key hole through the door which is not fire rated mortice lock. 5. Glazing Whilst a lot of fire doors are solid, some will have glazing panels built in, which can act as a helpful window to look through in the event that there was an issue on one side.   So, check that these are still satisfactory, with the correct secured beading around fixing them firmly to the door, and that there are no signs of damage or cracks.   Watch that they haven’t been changed for less superior ones, and that they have the right safety-glass specification. 6. Gaps The gap between where the door settles in the frame is critical, as this will often be the part where smoke and fire can easily spread through. There naturally needs to be some form of gap in order for the door to actually move in and out of the frame of course, but there is a limit, often up to 3mm around the tops and sides, and under 8mm for the bottom with no obvious signs of daylight.   If it's a top-gap issue you may simply be able to re-hang the door slightly higher, as the gap at the bottom is less essential. However, if at the side, you will need either a new door or correctly-fitted new frame padding (not extra 'strips' on the actual fire door!). 7. Seals In between the above gaps are a form of seal that will act as a barrier to any fire or smoke trying to squeeze past. They’re often in the middle of both or either the door and frame, and sticking out a little from the surface as a form of ‘brush’ strip.   (These strips are most likely intumescent based strips which expand further with heat).   8. Certification & Signs This sounds grand, but basically boils down to the right label or plug stating that this is a legitimate and authorised fire door. They are often on the top or side, and even though there may be other signs on the main door to confirm that this is a fire door. The signs on the door are more for the commercial site rather than those in the domestic sector.   The Essential Fire Doors Checks Therefore, whatever property you are involved with, fire doors will probably be involved to some degree, and therefore you need to not only make sure they are first correctly installed but then thoroughly inspected and maintained afterwards to always be ready to defend against any fire and smoke.   For more advice / help or even to get a quote to carry out the inspections or remedial work please call All Services 4 U Ltd on 0203 6270820 and we will be glad to help.
Plumber Ilford

What is LPG?

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a colourless odourless liquid which readily evaporates into a gas. Normally an odorant has been added to it to help detect leaks.

LPG (either Butane or Propane), is generally stored and distributed as a liquid and it is widely used for process and space heating, cooking and automotive propulsion.  .  It is classified as highly flammable and if it contains more than 0.1%Butadiene, it is also classified as  a carcinogen and mutagen.

LPG is non-corrosive but can dissolve lubricants, certain plastics or synthetic rubbers

What are the dangers of LPG?

LPG may leak as a gas or a liquid.  If the liquid leaks it will quickly evaporate and form a relatively large cloud of gas which will drop to the ground, as it is heavier than air.   LPG vapours can run for long distances along the ground and  can collect in drains or basements.  When the gas meets a source of ignition it can burn or explode.

Cylinders can explode if involved in a fire.

LPG can cause cold burns to the skin and it can act as an asphyxiant at high concentrations.

What are the Regulations?

The regulations are framework in character.  They lay down general requirements but rely for detailed guidance upon codes of practice which may be approved from time to time by the Health and Safety Authority.  These regulations apply in addition to any other requirements under relevant statutory provisions.

What do the Regulations cover?

The regulations cover storage, loading and unloading, use of LPG and related activities, carried on in the course of any trade or business, involving more than 70kg or a total volumetric storage capacity above 160 litres. The regulations do not apply to fuel tanks of vehicles.

What other Regulations apply to the storage of LPG?

  • The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations
  • The European Communities (Control of Major Accident Hazards involving Dangerous Substances) Regulations, 2006, apply to the storage of LPG at inventories of 50 tonnes or greater

Who must comply?

Obligations are placed upon occupiers, suppliers of LPG, persons present at installations, designers of plant and persons installing plant.

What are the general requirements?

  • LPG must be stored in adequate location wherein vessels or cylinders are suitably positioned having regard to the relevant codes of practice
  • LPG  plant must be designed to appropriate standards and be properly installed and commissioned by competent persons
  • Plant must be fitted with adequate safety and monitoring control devices and operated by competent persons
  • Occupiers must notify the gas supplier of any structural or other changes which might affect the gas installation
  • There must be a suitable programme of maintenance and testing by competent persons
  • Plant must be identifiable and accessible for maintenance
  • Records of maintenance and tests must be kept
  • Precautions must be taken to prevent fire and explosion including appropriate protection of storage vessels
  • Installations must have appropriate security measures to prevent deliberate interference
  • Incidents involving death or hospitalisation, fire or explosion or a significant release of LPG must be reported to the Authority and records of such incidents must be kept

What approved Codes of Practice apply to the Safe Storage of LPG?

  1. I.S. 3213: Code of Practice for the Storage of LPG Cylinders and Cartridges
  2. I.S. 3216 Part 1: Code of Practice for the Bulk Storage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas: (this also covers filling of forklift cylinders)
  3. I.S. 3216 Part 2: Code of Practice for the Bulk Storage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas: Specific requirements for Liquefied Petroleum Gas refuelling facilities where a dispenser is used.

All Services Security Seminar All Services 4 U is a one-stop shop for plumbing, locksmith and security services for households, businesses and housing associations. Check out this video to see the rundown of our recent security seminar, showcasing the best tech in the industry from safes to security cameras.