The significance of fire doors and general safety in commercial spaces cannot be stressed enough. Businesses across the country have a duty to adhere to stringent regulations to safeguard their employees, customers, and assets from the devastating repercussions of fire incidents. Nevertheless, there are instances where companies are unnecessarily burdened with costly fire door upgrades when more practical and economical minor repairs would suffice.
Today we present a case study illustrating a company’s predicament in upgrading its fire doors to meet current regulations, emphasising the need for a balanced approach that considers both safety and cost-effectiveness. To maintain confidentiality, the study revolves around a fictional company, while drawing insights from various real-life examples from Park City’s clients.
In this case study, our client operates a mid-sized office building, and during a routine fire safety inspection, it was discovered that some of the fire doors did not comply with the latest safety standards. This discovery raised concerns within the company as they were committed to prioritising the safety of their employees and clients.
Upon receiving quotations for the required upgrades, our client was concerned and surprised at the significantly high costs presented by different fire safety contractors.
The proposed fire door replacements exceeded their safety improvement budget by a substantial margin. Moreover, the suggested upgrades seemed to be positioned as a “must do” with no alternatives, disregarding the possibility of lower cost options, such as minor repairs or retrofitting of upgraded fireproofing.
This was just one case, Park City has encountered many others, in some cases with the recommendations being made with no consideration of how to apply the regulations to meet their duty of care, and comply but within a sensible budget.
To date, Park City has saved in excess of £450,000 for its clients, directly associated with being able to comply with Fire Regulations for Fire Doors but in a way that minimises the cost, our advice, is always to seek a second opinion if you are faced with what you consider as excessive and unreasonable recommendations and costs for replacing Fire Doors.
After seeking consultation with Park City, we were able to provide expert advice while considering the following factors:
Lack of Cost-Benefit Analysis: The fire safety contractors failed to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the proposed upgrades. Instead, they adopted a one-size-fits-all approach, recommending full-door replacements without exploring other cost-effective options.
Ignoring Current Door Conditions: The contractors overlooked the fact that some existing fire doors were in relatively good condition. Instead of suggesting minor repairs or maintenance, they insisted on complete replacements, needlessly driving up the overall project cost.
Potential Overspecification: Some contractors may propose fire doors that surpass the minimum regulatory requirements, leading to additional expenses without significant safety benefits. While safety is paramount, over-specification without proper justification should be avoided.
Failure to Address Root Causes: The focus remained solely on fixing the apparent shortcomings of the fire doors without delving into the underlying reasons for non-compliance. Identifying and addressing the root causes could have paved the way for more targeted and cost-effective solutions.
A Balanced Approach to Fire Door Upgrades:
To achieve a balanced approach between safety and cost-effectiveness, the following steps are recommended by Park City Consulting:
Comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment: Before making any recommendations, a thorough fire risk assessment should be conducted to identify areas of concern. This assessment should take into account the condition of the existing fire doors, potential fire hazards, occupant density, and other relevant factors.
Prioritising Repairs: Whenever possible, minor repairs and maintenance should take precedence. Upgrading existing fire doors instead of entirely replacing them can significantly reduce costs while maintaining compliance with regulations.
Retrofitting Options: Exploring fire door retrofitting, such as adding fire-resistant seals or upgrading hardware, can present a viable and cost-effective alternative to complete replacements. These measures can enhance the fire resistance of existing doors while minimising expenses.
Competitive Bidding Process: Companies should consider seeking bids from multiple fire safety contractors to ensure competitive pricing and prevent potential overpricing.
How can Park City Help Your Business?
Fire safety is of utmost importance in any commercial setting, and businesses must proactively meet the necessary regulations. However, when confronted with proposed fire door upgrades at an unnecessarily high cost, it is vital to exercise due diligence and explore more cost-effective alternatives.
By conducting a comprehensive fire risk assessment, prioritising repairs, and considering retrofitting options, companies can strike a balance between safety and cost-effectiveness. Collaborating with reputable fire safety contractors and industry experts, such as Park City Consulting, ensures that companies make informed decisions to protect their premises and occupants while optimising their budgetary resources.
If you require support with your Health & Safety, visit our website and get in touch with our industry specialists for further information.