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Fire door replacement in flats - regs and costs

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by YorkshireMidge, 5 Jun 2021.

  1. YorkshireMidge

    YorkshireMidge

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    We own a flat close on 40 years old and the management company are replacing all the communal fire doors and also mandating the replacement of the individual flat outer doors too. The doors have never been changed on any of the flats, they have a wired glass window, look a bit on the ugly side and probably are substandard to the point replacement isn't a bad idea after all these years. This is an over 55s complex too.

    My question is they are looking to pass on a charge of £1500 to each flat for a solid fire door (including fitting, replacement frames, door hardware, hinges, kick plates, door closers etc.) which feels a bit on the steep side considering there are 38 flats and all will be done, and there can't be more than few hundred quid of materials per flat. There are only two factors I can think of that *might* be pushing the price up:

    1. The communal walls are artexed and it is definitely the type with chrysotile in, and it seems likely that cutting the old frames out may at least disturb edges of it.

    2. There is currently no proper hold-back solution in place for the existing flat fire doors, so being over 55s, some of the less able have taken door closers off completely even though they shouldn't. It might be the case the management company is planning to finally address that issue and if so, I can see that costing a bit irrespective of whether they use a wired/wireless solution. I've asked them the question what they are doing about the equality law compliance given the problems some residents might have and I'm waiting for an answer. I assume it is a requirement to have a hold back solution on communal doors, but I'm not clear on the situation with individual flat doors.

    Thoughts appreciated.
     
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  3. td2304

    td2304

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    I'm assuming it's a leasehold flat

    Since the work is above £250 the freeholder will have to serve a section 20 notice for major works

    If you don't agree with the charges you can take it to the first tier tribunal who will determine whether the charge is reasonable

    Read up on section 20 there is more to it.
     
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  4. YorkshireMidge

    YorkshireMidge

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    It is leasehold, and they have served the section 20 notice which is what has prompted me to look into the cost.
     
  5. td2304

    td2304

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    The second notice for major works (notice of estimates) must be sent by the landlord to each leaseholder and the recognised tenants association, if there is one.

    Such notice must include details of at least two estimates that the landlord has obtained. One of the estimates must be from a contractor wholly unconnected with the landlord.

    The landlord must invite observations in writing within 30 days and must have regard to any observations received.


    This should be the next step where you can query things.
     
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  6. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    The Landlord/Agent has to carryout fire safety risk assessments to the communal areas by law, and they may well asses the front doors of individual flats to need replacement. However as you lease the flat, unless there is an express condition/agreement granting the landlord/agent rights to work on the flat front door (unlikely), then they have not authority to change your door, and neither does the 2005 FSO (the Act that requires them to carry out the risk assessments) grant them any rights either.

    Strictly, you are your own landlord for your flat and the door is your responsibility.

    If you agree that the door does need to change, then you can arrange to do that yourself and fit a compliant door and frame.

    The landlord/agent can not force a change on you, as they have no authority to enforce. Any enforcement is done by the Fire Service, and they are reluctant to enforce on individual flats because the law is a little grey in this because the Act does not account for this type of situation! Your fire service will however offer advice on your options and may try and coax you to have the door changed if it needs changing, or they may well determine that the door is perfectly OK as it is. Get in touch with your fire safety officer, and arrange a visit.

    Flat front doors do require a self closing device.
     
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  8. YorkshireMidge

    YorkshireMidge

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    Thanks Woody - I believe they have an assessment done, and are acting in good faith on the need for the replacement. I'm comfortable with the position on door closers, but not so clear on hold open devices. i.e. it would seem they would have to fit hold open devices to at least the communal doors. Not so sure about the flat doors. If the price they are quoting includes the install of the sort of closer that allows swing free, but is wired to the alarm panel and closes the door on alarm activation (or is wireless and is triggered by the sound of the alarm) then the price seems to make more sense. Anyway, I've hit them with a couple of emails for clarification and we'll see what comes back.
     
  9. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Hold open devices are an optional, not an essential requirement. They are normally for internal communal doors only - ie doors that may need to be propped open most of the time, but closed in the event of a fire situation. They are not for flat front doors. Typically these devices are for hotels, hospitals, education or buildings were a lot of traffic goes through the corridors where many closed doors could be a hinderance, so are not normally fitted to residential blocks.

    If the agent is minded to fit them, then there must be a valid reason, and not just a "nice to have" reason. And the decision should be by consultation and consent with all residents, not by dictate.
     
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  10. YorkshireMidge

    YorkshireMidge

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    I see - thanks for the clarification Woody.
     
  11. Notch7

    Notch7

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  12. YorkshireMidge

    YorkshireMidge

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    I'd assumed FD30 that being the minimum, but I've asked for breakdown of the cost anyway - so it should be apparent if they have gone for FD60. With it being over 55s, I guess that's possible.
     
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