Qualified Inspector helps FM company to improve health of fire door management

ISS Facility Services, Healthcare provides facility services to the public healthcare sector in the UK and is part of the ISS Group, one of the world's largest fm companies. The company provides a wide range of facility solutions to hospitals and other health estates to enable them to operate efficiently and safely by providing the best environment possible for users of their sites.

When it comes to fire doors, ensuring that they are correctly specified, installed and maintained is one of the many and diverse responsibilities of Construction Projects Manager, Laurel Anderson. Properties under his control vary considerably in terms of their size, location and, most importantly, usage. An important element of his role is the ongoing planned preventative maintenance (PPM) programmes that he devises and implements across the property portfolio he manages. This includes regular surveys of the thousands of fire doors that have been installed to check their ability to compartentalise flames and smoke in the event of a fire.

Laurel says: “Hospitals are particularly challenging places for fire doors. They get treated extremely roughly, for example, porters use beds to push them open as the most practical way for them to move around the buildings. Also a large percentage of hospital users will be unfamiliar with the layout so if there is a fire, it’s important to contain it as far as possible to allow people the maximum time to reach safety. Add to this the common “stay put” policy for vulnerable patients making the need to optimise fire doors’ performance even more vital.”

Until recently fire door inspections were carried out by ISS Healthcare’s own staff. However as the realisation grew of just how complicated fire doors are Laurel decided that it was necessary to call on the services of a qualified specialist whose knowledge of the issues around the installation and maintenance of fire doors would not only enable them to ensure their effectiveness, but would also help to focus resources for planned maintenance to upgrade, repair or replace fire doors in the most appropriate ways.

After consulting the Fire Door Inspection Scheme’s (FDIS) online database of Certificated Fire Door Inspectors, Laurel commissioned Jeremy French of Prestige Fire Door Services. To become a Certificated Fire Door Inspector Jeremy had to pass the FDIS online Diploma in Fire Doors. Then, following further online education, an independent assessment of his fire door knowledge and practical surveying skills was undertaken by Exova Warringtonfire giving property managers confidence in the Certificated Fire Door Inspectors’ abilities and knowledge.

Jeremy has undertaken two projects for ISS Healthcare. One at Prospect Park, the main hospital for people in Berkshire who suffer from mental illness, and another at Newham General Hospital, a major NHS facility serving the north east London area. Both surveys have proven to be useful tools for efficient allocation of Capex and Opex budgets by providing prioritised guidance of fire door condition and recommendations with regard to appropriate remediation works.
Laurel says: “In common with all the services that ISS Healthcare provides, we need to ensure that the fire door inspections we undertake on behalf of our clients are conducted by the most competent and highly qualified people available. Choosing someone who is both experienced and qualified was clearly the best thing to do and having access to the FDIS database made the selection process simple and straightforward. We are really pleased with the work Jeremy has done so far and will be using him on many other projects across the ISS portfolio going forward.”