Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy five years ago, there has been an even greater focus on fire safety in the social housing sector. It’s a responsibility that Greater Manchester social housing provider, Irwell Valley Homes, takes very seriously, with a compliance team inspecting its 8,000 homes on a rolling programme to prioritise upgrade works to fire safety.
Over the past two years, more than 500 fire doors have been replaced at Irwell Valley Homes properties. Specialist contractor, Jackson Jackson & Sons works closely with doorset company, PDS, and hardware manufacturer, UAP, to deliver the fire door upgrades as part of a wider programme of fire safety improvement.
Dan Williams, contracts manager at Jackson Jackson explains: “Every year, we receive a schedule of properties that are due for upgrade works from Irwell Valley Homes and we work collaboratively with their compliance team to prioritise the upgrades and agree a schedule.
“Once we have agreed a programme with the client, we carry out joint surveys with PDS to ensure that the correct specification of door is ordered for each installation, aligned to the agreed schedule.”
Putting residents first
The most recent fire door upgrade project carried out by Jackson Jackson for Irwell Valley homes using PDS doorsets with UAP hardware was at Eastwood Court, a block of sheltered housing apartments in Bury, Greater Manchester.
Following the initial surveys, the Jackson Jackson team met with the residents’ association and the properties’ management team to discuss what the programme involved and show tenants what the doors would look like when they were finished.
Dan continues: “Almost all the upgrades we do are in occupied properties so it’s really important that we make people aware of what will be happening and how it will benefit them. We also want to reassure tenants that their new doors and any other work we carry out will be fully certified to the current standards.”
Part of that reassurance for tenants is in the level of testing and quality assurance carried out by the joined-up supply chain. Whilst there is currently no mandatory certification required for retrofitted fire doors, a requirement for bilateral fire resistance test evidence for all fire doorset installations, including refurbishment works, is expected as part of the forthcoming Fire Safety Bill. For Irwell Valley Homes, fully certified doorsets with fire resistant hardware are already fitted as standard.
At Eastwood Court, the requirement was for FD30 solid timber doors with integral smoke seals to provide 30 minutes of effective protection against both smoke and flames for the entrance to every property.
Kevin Barnes, sales director at PDS explains: “Our doorsets provide protection from fire and smoke from both sides of the door having been successfully tested to the more rigorous and very latest EN1634 dual orientation testing specification, as complete doorsets with all UAP hardware installed contributing to smooth project delivery, whilst providing high levels of safety for residents.”
Joined-up supply chain
PDS supplied the doors for Eastwood Court as installation-ready units, with a complete set of UAP hardware from the company’s Firemongery range, including handles, a Soterian TS008 compliant fire rated letterplate and a 14mm fire resistant door viewer (spyhole).
Kevin Barnes continues: “The doorsets are manufactured by us to a proven quality and high specification with all UAP Firemongery hardware, intumescent fire and smoke seals, threshold seal and overhead closer pre-installed and fully tested by Warrington Fire.
“We work closely with UAP to ensure that new door designs are specified with the right hardware first time, enabling a smooth testing and certification process. The hardware is not just fire rated, it also looks good, which means that the finished door answers the housing association’s safety requirements, whilst providing an appearance that every resident can be proud of.”
Replacement of all 50 apartment entrance doors at Eastwood Court was completed in just two and a half weeks, with the strategy of utilising certified FD30 doorsets with pre-installed fire resistant hardware enabling faster installation and a smoother programme.