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Whole Life Costs

"Fire Doorsets –  Renovating or Replacing – a real look into  whole life costs"

What makes best financial sense?  Renovation or replacement?    A major refurbishment project with an organisation recognised for their best practice in fire safety work has analysed not only the financial costs of fire safety work but also looks at what the environmental and social costs are and what impact this has on the overall costs to the organisation.  In light of the recent inquest on the Lakanal House tragedy and recommendations from the Coroner, the study also looks at benchmarking against these recommendations made in early 2013.

South Essex Homes has a wide range of property stock types ranging in date from the 1930’s to 1990’s, including 13 high rise blocks containing over 1110 flats.  In 2009 as part of the requisite fire risk assessments – a process laid down in law as part of the (Regulatory Reform) Fire Safety Order 2005 – South Essex Homes observed additional key criteria of the legislation: consideration of who is at risk; the removal or reduction of the risk of fire as far as reasonably possible; the creation of a plan to deal with any emergency and to keep a formal record; to take measures to ensure everyone within your building can reach a point of safety and to ensure that all employees have adequate fire safety training on a regular basis.  To substantiate the latter and coupled with the ‘Stay Put’ policy, South Essex Homes needed to investigate the effectiveness of passive fire protection in their 13 high rise blocks.  In other words the efficacy of compartmentation within the blocks.

Inspections were undertaken, however one of the major outcomes was that it was difficult to establish the age and type of fire doorsets and whether they would hold back smoke.   The condition of the doorsets in compartmented areas was not good, owing in large part to on-going problems with vandalism.  Service doors were also regularly being breached.  The conclusion out of the inspections led to a forum being established with the Operations Director and representatives from teams in Property Management, Estates Management and Asset Management.