Fire, Security and Safety
Chris Flaherty – Technical Director at Winkhaus UK and Jon Cole – Chief Operating Officer at Secured by Design explain the importance of smoke resistance testing and how they have worked together to close a potential gap in the standards.
The 2019 MHCLG guideline for fire doors identified 3 critical features of required tested performance FIRE, SMOKE and ENHANCED SECURITY. Equally, the MHCLG guideline clearly states that these critical performances should be audited by 3rd Party independent audits / Certification.
Winkhaus FireFrame® composite fire door sets are the first fire door solutions to attain the Q Mark 3rd party audit / Certification for all three critical performance requirements. By the summer 2022 this will be the minimum technical requirement for all Secured by Design accredited door sets.
A recent survey into fire safety in social housing carried out by Housing Management and Maintenance magazine reported that 95% of respondents named fire doors as the most important fire safety product and more than half cited broken fire doors as the main reason for properties failing fire safety assessments.
With the Hackitt Review calling for greater care in the specification of fire safety products, door closer manufacturer, Samuel Heath asserts that the type of door closer fitted to fire doors in social housing stock should be given as much consideration as the fire door itself.
Recognising that electrical safety for too long has been seen as less important than gas safety within social housing, the Association of Safety and Compliance Professionals (ASCP) has launched its White Paper: Electrical Safety in Social Housing, Transformational Change.
Written following extensive consultation with ASCP and Association of Electrical Safety Managers (AESM) members, the White Paper seeks to highlight the complexity of the work safety and compliance professionals do within electrical safety, to help them be more effective in this work and to support them in challenging the status quo where necessary. It sets out the findings of the AESM Think Tank on electrical safety as well as the common themes identified by ASCP members in discussions, round table events and surveys.
Electrical safety has generally been seen as less important than gas safety despite clear evidence that each year unsafe electrical work causes more injuries, fatalities and devastation to families and communities. The fewer incidents related to gas is largely due to the annual requirement of the landlord gas safety check. Every year, almost half of all accidental house fires in the UK are caused by electrical appliances. Electrical goods were, for example, the source of ignition in the fires at Grenfell, Lakanal House and Shepherd’s Court. The Grenfell tragedy in particular, where 72 people lost their lives in June 2017, remains an emotive and powerful driver for change.
Following a recent government consultation, the regulations for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms in England are set to expand for both privately and socially rented homes. The amendments will seek to increase resident safety and bring more consistency to regulations between the rental sectors.
The consultation proposed to amend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 and Approved Document J, with the aim of extending the existing private rented legislation to socially rented properties; it also considered the important question of whether the existing legislation was sufficient.
For housing managers, retrofitting new technologies and systems to existing residences is becoming more of a priority as costs come under increasing pressure, and process inefficiencies are tackled. Retrospectively incorporating new technology into older housing stock is an effective solution, bringing immediate benefits to housing managers and tenants without breaking the bank.
Retrofitting is most commonly talked about in relation to decarbonisation. But in addition to environmental considerations, retrofitting new technology can also be beneficial for building security and accessibility. Incorporating new access control technology in existing buildings, for example, can enhance the tenant experience significantly – while also streamlining operations and cutting down any inefficiencies.
With fire safety the dominant issue in housing today, it is always a pleasure to see such refurbishment projects successfully completed. We spoke to Richard Izzard, managing director of aluminium decking manufacturer AliDeck, to discuss their contribution to a recent major fire safety remediation project for Hyde Housing.
When new customers contact us at Colt about setting up their contracts, we frequently get asked a few common questions. If you have just taken over management of a new building and are unsure about where to start with your fire safety systems maintenance schedule, this article may have some of the answers you are looking for.