ASSA ABLOY Door Group calls to raise the standard of fire safety in schools

Door Group, a unit of ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, is stressing the need for greater awareness of fire safety in education buildings, with a large percentage of fire doors in schools found to be non-compliant while undergoing inspections.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires schools to undertake risk assessments to identify the general fire precautions needed to safeguard the safety of occupants in case of fire, including their safe means of escape.

Despite this,  recent research showed that schools have been hit by 2,300 fires in the last five years, dedicated fire door inspections are essential to fully ensure health and safety measures are met.

These doors are subject to extremely high levels of traffic, and subsequently a higher level of misuse and abuse, which can then lead to functional problems resulting in non-compliance.

Door Group is committed to raising the standard of fire door safety in schools, providing a fully comprehensive inspection which can be carried out every three, four, six or 12 months to suit specific requirements.

For more information on ASSA ABLOY Door Group, please

CLICK HERE

 

Door Group, a unit of ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, is stressing the need for greater awareness of fire safety in education buildings, with a large percentage of fire doors in schools found to be non-compliant while undergoing inspections.

 The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires schools to undertake risk assessments to identify the general fire precautions needed to safeguard the safety of occupants in case of fire, including their safe means of escape.

Despite this, recent research showed that schools have been hit by 2,300 fires in the last five years, destroying 47 primary and secondary school buildings alone.

Fire doors are one of the most important safety features in a building, and regular product specifications or dedicated fire door inspections are essential to fully ensure health and safety measures are met.

Education buildings can present highly specific requirements for fire doorsets, with particularly varied legislation and building regulations surrounding fire doors in schools.

These doors are subject to extremely high levels of traffic, and subsequently a higher level of misuse and abuse, which can then lead to functional problems resulting in non-compliance.

Brian Sofley, Managing Director of ASSA ABLOY Door Group, explains: “Whilst statutory inspections are being completed for the entire building, the necessary attention to fire door compliance is being overlooked.

“Our team of BRE qualified engineers have found a large percentage of fire doors to be non-compliant when completing a dedicated fire door inspection in schools over the past 3-4 years. For example, in one school, 163 of the 164 fire doors we inspected were not fire compliant.”

The economic and social impact of school fires on staff, pupils, and the local community can be significant, causing financial hardship, emotional trauma, and a delay in learning.

A study found that 17 per cent of schools who had experienced a fire said that it had led to a drop in staff morale, six per cent to a drop in morale amongst pupils and seven per cent said that their fire had led to negative publicity about their school.

 Door Group is committed to raising the standard of fire door safety in schools, providing a fully comprehensive inspection which can be carried out every three, four, six or 12 months to suit specific requirements.

Following inspections, Door Group then offer detailed reports containing advice and recommendations on necessary improvements, with the knowledge that identifying any potential issues that could impact safety and product performance can be lifesaving.

If any issues do occur, a tailored repair proposal is issued to include anything from replacement doors to a regular maintenance program. Door Group inspectors are BRE-certified and will ensure that all fire doors inspected meet all necessary standards and regulations.

Brian adds: “An education building should be a safe and secure place for students and staff, to work and learn. Door Group is committed to making schools, colleges and universities across the UK fire protected.

“With regular and thorough inspections, we can ensure the compliance and performance of fire doorsets in an effort to improve overall fire safety in the educational environment, while minimising the risk that learning could be negatively impacted by a fire.”

For more information on ASSA ABLOY Door Group, PLEASE CLICK HERE

 

 

Daniel May, Director at Consort Architectural Hardware,

discusses the role door hardware plays in improving hygiene within public building environments.

 

 

 

Health and hygiene are delicate themes, particularly in today’s settings. Both our homes and public building environments can have a huge impact on our wellbeing, and over the past few years, this fact has only been exemplified.

Eighty percent of common infections are spread by touch and every 30 minutes, the average person is said to touch surfaces that expose them to 840,000 germs. These germs are prevalent in buildings too, where touchpoints are areas or items that are used by several individuals. Within workplace environments for example, door handles are the most touched surface and can be associated with cross-contamination and health risks.

At present, the need to improve hygiene within our building environments, understandably, carries a greater significance than it maybe once did. But in truth, when it comes to building design, the process of protecting occupants and visitors against infection – especially those most vulnerable – should never be overlooked.

 

Design for Bacteria Control

Over the past two years, we’ve seen building environments closed, reopened and the process repeated. The idea of reducing footfall in facilities was key in fighting the rising infection rates associated with the coronavirus. But now, that footfall has returned.

Once again, those critical touchpoints such as door handles are harbouring germs. In fact, research has shown that the coronavirus can survive on surfaces for hours, and even days on metal door handles – and the same can be said for the common flu.

In response, we’ve seen government campaigns promoting hand washing, sanitising and distance-making in the wake of a return to public facilities. Undoubtedly, infection control methods such as hand washing and systematic cleaning are the most guaranteed way of controlling cross-contamination – yet, still these methods can become redundant when faced with human error or relaxed conventions within public buildings.

Building design can play an important role here. Daniel May, Director at Consort explains:

“We’re at a point where decision makers are under pressure to keep building hygiene standards as high as ever before. And outside of the clear-cut hygiene measures, it’s understood that more can be done throughout the building design process, with architectural hardware selection at the core of decisions.

“Door hardware is the first touchpoint when entering, exiting or navigating a building, and can be one of the most bacteria-ridden. Yet, the latest in hardware advancements could give facility managers an edge in the fight against infection, especially in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals for example, where footfall is high and the need to maintain strict sterile environments already exists.

“For added protection against bacteria, facilities can implement tailored anti-microbial hardware and finishes. Anti-microbial coatings applied to door handles are precisely formulated to prevent bacteria build-up upon the surface by interrupting cell multiplication. Some door seal solutions also make use of modern anti-bacterial technology, embedding it within the aluminium and silicone of the door seal during production, further reducing the spread of bacteria in high traffic areas.”

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) sets a regulation that cleanliness and effective infection control is a necessity for care and hospital locations. As well as best practice methods, healthcare environments are encouraged to introduce innovative infection control methods where possible. Similarly, under The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, decision makers have an active duty to keep inhabitants safe and their environments clean. And aside from the use of antimicrobial solutions, many are challenged to provide hygienically maintained environments without sacrificing fire or safety standards.

Daniel adds:

“Facilities with high footfall must also consider ventilation and ease of movement. Whether in healthcare, commercial or public environments, both are key elements of efficient building management and when done effectively, can further help inhibit the spread of infection by ensuring fresh air is consistently making its way through halls and rooms.

“The most effective way to improve ventilation throughout a building is by opening its windows and doors. This creates an inlet for fresh air and an outlet for the old air, and with access points open, minimises the need to touch door handles. Yet, when focusing on airflow, it’s inopportune to disregard fire safety. Too many times, we’ve seen facilities fall foul of leaving fire doors propped open in favour of improving ventilation and ease of access – but simply put, it’s illegal to do so and leaves fire doors wholly ineffective in a fire situation.

“Modern exit systems are purpose built to ensure fire doors can be left open safely and securely. Automatic door controls make use of sensors which activate the operator devices connected to the main access doors. In turn, this aids access and egress when required and closes the doors shut when necessary. In the event of a fire, the alarm is sounded, and the doors close automatically – ensuring safety is never compromised. What’s more, these systems can be integrated with the external building security, reducing risk on all fronts.

“Ultimately, when paired with regular cleaning practices, these modern solutions can play an assist role in the fight against infection, helping to maintain building hygiene as well as the obligatory standards associated with building and fire safety.”

 

Infection Control at Consort

Consort’s bespoke specification services extend to hygienic solutions, offering users tailored products to suit the needs of any building infrastructure. Antimicrobial finishes can be applied to any touch products and door seals, of which are already supplied to large complex hospitals around the world including Pamela Youde in Hong Kong and the Metropolitan Hospital in Birmingham.

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A comprehensive range of unlatched, non-rebated, single-acting fire doors is now available from leading European steel specialist Schueco Jansen. These systems offer a solution for every application, including screens and partition walls.

All the systems have a sleek modern look with slender profiles and slim sightlines and all deliver a level of performance that is fully tested and approved. A large glazed central area – a feature that is common across all door types – maximises light transmission and helps to make the new doors as attractive to look at as they are effective in use.

 The three systems in the range are Economy 60 in 30-minute [E30] and 60-minute [E60] versions, Janisol 2 EI30 and Janisol C4 EI60. All offer Sa smoke protection and are fully assessed to EN 1634 for both fire and smoke protection.

The Economy 60 door is a 60 mm deep system which is available with either 30-minute or 60-minute integrity-only protection against fire. Flush single- and double-leaved doors, with optional side and top lights, also make it ideal for internal fire-rated partition walls.

 

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Both the Janisol door systems are thermally broken to ensure an excellent level of all-round insulation, an important consideration when sustainability and whole life costs are mandated as factors in the brief. Their design enables them to deliver protection against fire and smoke for 30 minutes (Janisol 2 EI30) and 60 minutes (Janisol C4 EI60). Janisol 2 is designed for single and double doors and partitions.

Janisol 2 and Janisol C4 are elegant 60 mm and 70 mm deep systems perfectly suited for fire and smoke doors with fixed lights. They have a contemporary, light-weight appearance and double-rebate seals. An intelligent fire-retardant filling gives 60 minutes integrity and insulation protection.

In addition, the Janisol C4 EI60 system has concealed closers and comes with the option of concealed hinges as well, providing architects with the ultimate in visual aesthetics as well as performance in use.

Designed to integrate perfectly with Schueco Jansen glazed screens, these Schueco Jansen doors have hinges that have been tested through a million cycles, making them ideal for high-traffic areas in schools, hospitals, offices and public buildings.

Finally, a comprehensive collection of fittings and accessories – including different glazing bead variants, a variety of hinge types and a choice of face-fixed door handles – allow all three systems to be customised to perfectly complement any location.

For further details of the Schueco Jansen new range of unlatched, non-rebated, single-acting steel fire doors, please email mkinfobox@schueco.com