BIS is currently gathering people’s views and experiences of working with fire safety officers and local fire and rescue authorities where this affects the day-to-day running of businesses, as part of the government’s review of enforcement of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, commonly known as the RRO.
The BWF-CERTIFIRE Fire Door and Doorset Scheme and the UK’s new Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) have both written to BIS to warn of confusion and alarmingly low levels of awareness among many businesses of their responsibilities under the RRO and the crucial impact of fire doors in protecting life and property.
Peter Johnson, chairman of the BWF-CERTIFIRE scheme, said: “Too often the wrong product is being specified and installed. A fire door is not a homogeneous thing, and it only functions properly when installed correctly with all the right components. People really need to understand the difference between a so-called ‘tested product’, a product with a certificate, and proper third-party, independently certificated fire doors. Only the latter gives any guarantee of performance.
“In almost every prosecution and report relating to the RRO, the lack of understanding of the role and use of fire doors is evident. Just this month we saw the prosecution of a Bideford hotel for malfunctioning fire doors, including reports from guests of a terrifying moment in May when fire raged through the hotel and they became trapped in smoke-filled corridors because a door had jammed shut and another had no door handle. Similar reports of fire door failures crop up on a weekly basis.
“We have told BIS that it is essential that building contractors, too often pressurised into ‘value engineered’ specifications, are fully aware of the implications of not choosing a third-party certified fire door and the consequences this may have for those occupying the building. The BWF-CERTIFIRE scheme will happily provide training and support to any organisation that needs more advice on this aspect of fire safety compliance.”
The BIS review is open for comments until 31 August 2012: