A recent ruling by the Department for Communities and Local Government on the omission of intumescent strips and smoke seals on bedroom fire doors in a hotel has given the Passive Fire Protection Federation cause for concern.

The ruling by Sir Ken Knight, the Government Chief Fire and Safety Officer, states that a 215-bedroom hotel did not need to fit intumescent strips and smoke seals to all of its bedroom fire doors in order to satisfy its legal obligations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

Niall Rowan, technical officer for PFPF members the Association for Specialist Fire Protection, said: ""The PFPF recognises that, whilst in some cases a justification can be prepared which leads to the omission of intumescent strips, this should be the exception rather than the rule.

"The PFPF has a very strong and legitimate concern that this determination will be used to justify the omission of intumescent and smoke seals on all bedroom doors in all hotels, in contravention of Approved Document B and other guidance issued by DCLG.

"In reality, the desire to omit seals will be driven by financial considerations and not by any informed or objective evaluation of fire risk."

Despite the requirement that any absence of intumescent strips and seals must be "recorded and justified" Mr Rowan explained that although the Order requires a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment is undertaken for the purposes of means of escape, it is not a full check of compliance with AD-B or any other document.

"The PFP industry understands that there is no requirement under the Order to impose current guidance onto older buildings or to retrospectively upgrade buildings to the latest standards. But, if a fire risk assessor is in any doubt about the adequacy of fire protection, he or she should recommend that fire doors are upgraded or replaced to satisfy the guidance currently issued by DCLG - this includes the fitting of intumescent and smoke seals," Mr Rowan concluded.

For further information go to www.pfpf.org and for the full ruling visit www.communities.gov.uk/publications/fire/firedoors?view=Standard 

Posted 19/06/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com