Universities and colleges have long had responsibilities under the Fire Safety Order, including a requirement to demonstrate that, in the event of danger, it must be possible for people to evacuate a building, such as a hall of residence, as quickly and safely as possible.
Facilities should have a fire-risk assessment and a ‘responsible person’ should be nominated. The responsible person has legal responsibility under the Fire Safety Order and can be criminally prosecuted if they do not fulfil their duties.
The state of fire doors falls within this responsibility and is given specific reference in the Fire Safety Order. Fire doors are designed to compartmentalise a building to help protect it and to save lives in the event of a fire breaking out. A fully closed fire door, in its frame and installed correctly, will help restrict the spread of fire and toxic smoke for a set period of time, allowing people to evacuate the building quickly and safely whilst allowing the fire services the best possible chance to put out the fire before it spreads throughout the building.
In order to withstand fire for the appropriate length of time, a fire door should be third-party certificated and must be fitted with correctly specified ironmongery including hinges, handles, door closers, locks and signage. It is essential that the chosen ironmongery is suitable for use on the specific type of fire door that it is being installed on, as incorrect specification will impact its performance.
In support of Fire Door Safety Week, HOPPE (UK) is offering university staff a free CPD seminar focusing on these regulations, including ironmongery on fire and escape doors, delivered in-house by one of its technical experts to help university estates staff understand the critical role of fire doors and the importance of correctly specified door hardware.
The RIBA-approved seminar covers the role of fire and escape doors, the appropriate hardware to use, maintenance and inspection of ironmongery on fire and escape doors and the consequences of ignoring risk.
Andy Matthews, head of sales for HOPPE (UK), said: “Moving into halls of residence or private accommodation for university is an exciting time and gives young people real independence. However, with this freedom comes responsibility and one critical area of responsibility is fire safety. Unfortunately, educational establishments are often a harsh environment for doors, with high flow and little sympathy.
“Where HOPPE can help is to bring estates teams completely up-to-date with the regulatory requirements and the solutions available to help them ensure fire door safety, and to provide greater confidence in their fire-safety compliance regime.”