Fire, Security and Safety
Awareness of the potential health problems caused by lead in the water supply, particularly in infants and children is growing. Houses built before 1970 would have been constructed with lead water supply pipes and if still in place can be causing developmental harm to young tenants.
Since Grenfell, fire safety in social housing has been in the spotlight. The standard of existing fire safety has been scrutinised and reviewed, with terms such as stay-put policy, EWS1 forms, The Hackitt Report, and ACM cladding all becoming household topics of discussion. Billions of pounds are being spent on Type 4 Fire Risk Assessments (FRA), cladding removal, door replacement programmes and waking watch. Housing groups are now putting more and more pressure on manufacturers and contractors to provide them with the assurance of compliance, with BIM and the Golden Thread becoming the expectation rather than the exception.
The past year has been challenging for everyone, regardless of industry, role or geographical location. However, with challenges can also come opportunities – and, for housing and property managers, the past year has brought in huge changes to ‘standard’ ways of working, as well as new technologies having been implemented to help property management run more smoothly.
Easy to fit decorative boxings from UK Boxings have been used for more than 20 years by UK housing associations, local authorities and social housing contractors to hide pipework for fire sprinklers, heating systems and below boilers to save time and money on-site.
The importance of a reliable emergency lighting system can’t be understated. Simply put, lives depend on it. P4, the UK’s largest independent self-testing emergency lighting specialist, was the first in their industry to be awarded an enhanced level BSI kitemark for emergency lighting, with their Fastel Automatic Testing and Monitoring Systems being independently verified by impartial third-party testing. This has been followed with a Kitemark for IoT (Internet of Things) for their Fastel systems M-Web Controller.
A fire door is an engineered safety device that is a crucial part of the passive fire protection of every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building. A fire door acts just as any other door in normal service, in a fire it takes on a critical role – to save lives and protect property. It does this by holding back the spread of fire and smoke through a building for a designated period, giving time for building occupants to escape.
A fire door is not just the door leaf. It is a complete assembly comprising: the door leaf and frame, any glazing, intumescent fire and smoke seals and ironmongery that is used on the door, such as hinges, overhead door closers, latches and locks. Fire doors can easily become damaged when they are in regular use; which may affect their performance in the unfortunate event of a fire. And just like other life safety devices, such as fire extinguishers and alarms, fire doors and final escape doors need regular, stringent inspection, maintenance or replacement to ensure that they will perform as intended in the event of a fire.
Last month I wrote a technical review of the latest Fire Safety Bill, where I outlined the specific details of how the Fire Safety Bill legislation will be implemented and enforced.
Similarly, this month we will be focusing on the latest part of the attempts to create a reformed building safety regulatory system, specifically the Government’s Draft Building Safety Bill and what this will mean for the service and maintenance of buildings.