Fire Door Safety Week raises awareness of vital role they play in saving lives

Sept 21st – 27th was Fire Door Safety Week – an annual prod to alert landlords, business owners, employers and hoteliers to the importance of ensuring their fire safety systems are fit for purpose.

Created by the Fire Door Alliance, the week was launched in 2013 with the aim of raising awareness of the important role fire safety doors play in saving lives.

Its focus is on ensuring that they are fully compliant and installed and maintained correctly – whether in hospitals and care homes, schools and universities, high rise blocks of flats, public buildings, hotels or social housing.

Property owners are legally responsible for the fire safety of their staff, tenants and customers under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) in England and Wales, the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.

Failure to fulfil their responsibilities, which include ensuring correct installation and maintenance of fire doors, can lead to criminal prosecution.

The FDSW website offers plenty of advice to property owners on how to ensure their doors tick all the safety and compliance boxes, including a five-step check which covers certification, gap sizes, seals, hinges and closeability.

It offers best practice guides and explains how to ensure only the best quality doors are fitted.

It also suggests that, while fire risk assessments can be carried out by the property owners, appointing a professional could be beneficial, particularly in complex or large buildings.

CDS has more than 30 years’ experience of providing such assessments to an extensive client base including universities, schools, hospitals, care homes, councils, police authorities, social housing providers, hotel chains, warehouses, distribution centres, factories and airports.

For more information on ensuring fire door safety compliance as part of a wider fire risk assessment contact CDS at 0116 275 0177 or via enquiries@cdsys.co.uk

CDS is behind one of the largest networked Gent Vigilon fire safety systems in the UK 

Life safety systems specialist CDS is responsible for one of the largest Gent Vigilon networked fire safety systems in the UK – designed to protect the lives of tens of thousands of students, staff and visitors across more than 60 buildings and three campuses.

The company has been working with Nottingham Trent University for more than 30 years. In  fact, it was a polytechnic when CDS began  its journey with NTU, switching to university status in 1992.

The scope of the work has grown enormously over the decades and CDS now exclusively oversees the fire safety strategy throughout all three of its campuses. Each has numerous Gent Vigilon analogue addressable systems which are networked together and then ‘globally networked’ between each of the three sites – Clifton, City and Brackenhurst.

The project, which saw CDS install an integrated visual fire alarm and detection system using ‘Text and Graphics’ (WINMAG) software, was implemented throughout the university’s estate a few years ago. It can be managed via PC, tablet or mobile device, making it the ultimate in system control and end user management.

CDS’ latest project was to supply more than 500 ‘Dorgard Fire Door Retainers’ as part of the university’s COVID-19 Secure policy. This provides an easy, safe and legal way to hold fire doors open and reduce the use of touch surfaces such as door handles and door plates.

This urgent response to an evolving situation is just one example of the varied disciplines CDS can offer to support its wider life safety systems.

CDS director Tony Mikunda acknowledged the early work of a now retired director, Clive Johnson, for the foundations laid during the early years of the relationship between the university and CDS.

“This gave the university confidence in our ability to provide a reliable service and 24-hour, seven-day emergency breakdown support,” he explained.

The fact that the buildings are heavily populated puts it into a high-risk category as far as BS5839 pt. 1: 2017 safety standards are concerned, necessitating category L2 protection – the second highest level specifiable.

The CDS-specified Honeywell Gent fire alarm system is installed and maintained in all non-residential buildings across the trio of campuses – the central city site as well as its satellite location, Clifton, five miles away and its agricultural, equestrian and horticultural division Brackenhurst, 15 miles in the opposite direction.

CDS also specifies and maintains disabled refuge systems which provide a safe haven in the case of fire for those with mobility issues.

The company is now busy helping the university review its entire building stock – a process whose scale means the project will take several months to compete.

Global student and build-to-rent accommodation specialist chooses CDS

An expanding build-to-rent and high-end student accommodation market in London has seen a rise in demand for the services of fire detection and life safety specialist CDS.

Global property management company Greystar, which has a multi-billion-pound portfolio of large-scale rental properties, has appointed CDS to maintain and repair fire alarm systems in more than a dozen of its developments across the capital.

The relationship between the two organisations began 18 months ago when Greystar took over a student development in Shoreditch whose fire safety system was being maintained by CDS.

The standard of work so impressed the building’s new owners that it agreed a contract to look after another 11 multi-storey student sites and a build-to-let property – with capacity expected to double over the next three years.

The contract sees CDS look after the safety of around 3,000 students and 1,500 private rental tenants in Highbury, Islington, Lewisham, Notting Hill, Southwark, White City, Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Harrow and Canary Wharf.

A 44-storey building in Croydon and a complex in Greenford Quay are on the horizon for later in the year.

The role involves maintaining and repairing all the properties’ fire alarms, emergency lighting systems, automatic opening vents, sprinklers, dry and wet risers, fire hydrants and disabled refuges.

CDS service manager Keith Helstrip explained: “As well as being very pleased with the standard of work we provided at the Shoreditch premises, Greystar trialled us on its sites at Islington, Highbury and Kings Cross. As we look after all life safety systems using a network of approved sub-contractors, we are a one stop shop. And the experience of the management team was very influential in its decision to choose us as its main supplier.

“These buildings are many storeys high and have several lifts. One has 32 floors. The fire safety requirements are highly complex and obviously of paramount importance and the systems in place have to be rigorously maintained and with a fast, effective, responsive repair system.”

As well as each building accommodating hundreds of tenants, all contain a wide variety of communal spaces such as gyms, games areas, cinemas, private dining spaces, laundries, studies and even karaoke rooms.

Laura Bryant, Greystar’s director of operational risk management and health and safety in  Europe, said: “Looking after multi-family units of this scale is an incredibly complex responsibility. When tendering for the fire safety element of our maintenance contract the track record of those bidding for it was vitally important. CDS has an impressive pedigree going back more than 30 years. It has looked after a great many very large, complex sites such as universities, hospitals, industrial premises and council buildings, all of which require a high level of expertise. So its profile was perfect for our purposes.”

Greystar, which looks after around 400,000 units of rental accommodation globally, expanded into the UK in 2013 to address its undersupply of housing and purpose-built rental accommodation. It has invested £2.8 billion buying existing luxury student housing and is in the process of developing 15,000 units of build-to-rent, private rented sector homes.