It is indisputable that fire safety regulations play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of residents in multi-occupancy buildings. Neglecting to adhere to these regulations heightens the likelihood of a small fire escalating into a catastrophic one, endangering the lives of those who reside there.
The inquiry into the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017 serves as a reminder that disregarding the importance of keeping up-to-date with fire safety legislation can result in devastating consequences for innocent individuals residing in apartment complexes, which is why you should always remain up-to-date and on top of changing legislations and regulations around fire safety which managing any properties.
In this article, we’ll explain the key safety regulations that apply to fire doors in flats, as these have recently changed.
The Changing Face Of Fire Regulations
A common question we hear is, ‘Are fire doors required in flats?’ and to this, the answer, due to the recent tightening of fire safety legislation is ‘Yes.’ In fact, it is more important than ever that landlords and property owners understand their legal obligations and where fire doors must be installed in any flat building of any size.
Over time, fire safety regulations have changed, and since the Grenfell Tower incident, more amendments than ever have been enacted. At Grenfell, many of the building’s fire doors failed to provide a minimum level of resistance to smoke and flames, most not lasting over fifteen minutes. Combined with the fact that some were regularly left open, this contributed to the accelerated spread of the fire.
Fire doors at flat entrances must be legally compliant with the new legislation, recently issued this January of 2023. Here is an outline of the main regulations of which you should be aware:
- Every flat within a block of flats must have a fire door installed at the entrance to communal areas shared with other tenants, such as hallways, corridors, or landings. This is to make sure that evacuation routes are protected from smoke and fire if a blaze occurs.
- Flats that are located on floors more than 4.5m above ground level must have a fire door installed between usable rooms, including the front door.
- Ground-floor flats do not require a fire door within the property if there is an accessible way to escape, such as an Emergency egress window. All emergency egress windows must feature an opening that covers a minimum area of 0.33m² and is at least 450mm high and wide, with the bottom of the opening no more than 1100mm above the floor.
- All ground-floor flats need a fire door at the entrance if they open onto a communal area.
- Newbuilds with three or more floors must have fire doors fitted to every habitable room.
- Fire doors, including all components and door features – hinges, handles, and seals – must comply with British Standard (BS) Parts 22 and 31 or BS EN 1154 to prevent the door from warping or shifting in a fire.
- Fire doors may contain glazing, known as a vision panel, but must comply with British Standards and be comprehensively tested at the point of manufacture. Vision panels cannot be retrofitted unless installed by an approved fire door specialist.
- Fire doors in existing properties should be professionally inspected every six months to identify if there are any problems or maintenance issues that need to be fixed.
Staying Abreast Of Change: Working With A Specialist
To ensure that you comply fully with the latest fire safety regulations in multi-occupancy buildings, it makes sense to work with an accredited fire door installer, such as Mila Maintenance, who has an up-to-date understanding of all fire safety legislations and will work with you in installing fire doors to keep your building and tenants safe at all times.
Contact Mila Maintenance For More Information
At Mila Maintenance, we can provide you with expert advice and technical assistance with your building’s fire door installation and maintenance to ensure your buildings comply with the latest UK fire safety standards. To find out more about our services, please call us today on 0808 100 8881 or send us an enquiry.