SMEs Flouting Fire Door Safety Law

A recent survey of 860 trade professionals shows most commercial buildings break fire door safety regulations and put people at risk.

The research by IronmongeryDirect is part of a campaign to raise awareness of the critical role fire doors play in saving lives and property. Although around 3 million new fire doors are installed every year in the UK they must be correctly fixed and maintained in order to work properly.

Survey results

The survey found 93% of fire door traders have in recent years seen illegal use of door-stops to prop open fire doors in commercial or public buildings. The survey also found:

  • Commercial buildings which house SMEs are the worst offenders (72% of businesses acting illegally) followed by commercial buildings with large businesses (64%) and public buildings (42%)
  • The offence is more likely to be seen in older traditional buildings (56%) than in new builds (15%)
  • 74% of fire door traders came across a blocked or obstructed fire door
  • 58% spotted access issues with fire doors

When checking fire doors, traders said the most common faults were:

  • Many did not have the necessary seals (73%)
  • Doors not closing properly (63%)
  • Incorrect signage (49%)
  • General wear and tear (47%)
  • Loose or faulty latches (30%)

Fire Door Regulations 

A number of regulations apply to both new and existing buildings including the:

  • Building Regulations 2010
  • Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order: 2005

They set out the safety standards to be achieved.

Legal responsibility is placed on the “Responsible Person” or in other words anyone with control of the building. They must make sure fire safety devices are correctly maintained and fit-for-purpose.

A suitable maintenance system must keep fire doors in an efficient state. The responsible person must also appoint someone who is “competent” to help with preventive and protective measures.

Fire doors may also have to comply with codes and standards including BS 9999:2008, on fire safety in designing, managing and using buildings which gives specific information on six monthly inspection of fire doors.

Contact Ellis Whittam to make sure your organisation is not putting lives and property at risk.

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Director of Health & Safety Services

Nick Wilson

Health and safety should be a priority for any business but ensuring compliance can often feel like a daunting task. We’re here to help you turn complex regulations into sensible, proportionate controls.

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