The Importance Of Fire Door Inspections

fire exit sign

Fire doors play an essential role in building fire safety by preventing or inhibiting the spread of smoke and toxic gases, and by preserving the effective compartmentation of buildings. Fire doors are part of the “Passive” fire protection that protects occupants all of the time, provided that they are in good condition and are closed! Fire door inspections can ensure any faults, damage or disrepair can be identified and rectified.

Changes To Legislation Regarding Fire Door Inspections

An update in the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 has made it a legal requirement from 23 January 2023 for responsible persons for all multi-occupied residential buildings in England with storeys over 11 metres in height to:

  • undertake quarterly checks of all fire doors (including self-closing devices) in the common parts
  • undertake – on a best endeavour basis – annual checks of all flat entrance doors (including self-closing devices) that lead onto a building’s common parts.

The regulations also require responsible persons to provide residents with information about the importance of fire doors to a building’s fire safety. This step aims to deepen residents’ understanding of their role in keeping their building safe and encourage them to allow responsible persons access to check their flat entrance doors.

These changes have been implemented following the findings of Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which noted that through damage and /or disrepair, the fire doors in Grenfell Tower did not act in the way they should to prevent smoke and gas from spreading.

Prior to the Fire Safety Act 2021, flat entrance doors in multi-occupied residential buildings may not have been routinely considered as part of the fire risk assessment process. The Fire Safety Act 2021 removed this legal ambiguity and confirmed that flat entrance doors are within the scope of the Fire Safety Order.

Buildings Under 11m

It is important to note that the new regulations do not replace the existing duty for a responsible person to put in place general fire precautions in any premises covered by the Fire Safety Order, regardless of a building’s height. The Fire Safety Act 2021 has clarified that any residential building which contains two or more sets of domestic premises is within the scope of the Fire Safety Order.

Responsible persons for residential buildings below 11 metres in height have a duty to put in place general fire precautions in these buildings. This duty includes making sure that all fire doors – including flat entrance doors – are capable of providing adequate protection. Responsible persons are also required to provide residents with information on fire doors.

The Importance of Fire Door Inspections

This findings of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry (Phase 1) shows the importance of Fire Door inspections in preserving life. Fire doors must be maintained to a suitable condition in order to carry out their role in preventing the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases.

As a minimum requirement, the responsible person must undertake or arrange an inspection of the fire doors in order to identify and rectify any obvious damage or issues.

How We Can Help

If you are unsure about the condition of your fire doors, or your legal duties, we can help. Get in touch today if you would like to arrange an inspection, or if you have any questions about the legal requirements.