H&S Updates, Health & Safety

Safety vs. Budget: Unravelling the Truth behind Costly Fire Door Upgrades

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.

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Saul HunnaballSaul Hunnaball
15:44 12 Aug 22
We have worked with Park City for our HR and Health and Safety support for many years now and have always received an excellent service.Carley is our Consultant and she is always so helpful, as are... her colleagues when she is unavailable.I would highly recommend Park City.read more
Lea CuttingLea Cutting
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Park City have worked with us for many years, advising and guiding us regarding HR and Health & Safety, along with supplying valuable training.We work with many people in several areas of expertise,... Sara Godfrey, Jennie Galione, Ashley Williams, Sam Parcell, Stephanie Devans, Poppy Hayhoe.They build confidence within our company and are always available with support and advice.They provide a consistent, professional, hands-on service, second to none!Thank you from DH Industries Limited.read more
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The team at Park City offer us the right level of service needed to confidently run a small business. They keep us up to date with UK policy HR requirements, help us manage any staff changes or... issues and policy documents. The team are informed, friendly and remain professional in my experience.read more
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The DS Group have been working with Park City now for a number of years and we have found their HR services to be invaluable. The service received is always to the highest professional standards and... they have assisted our business in becoming more efficient and effective in all HR matters.My consultant Sam Parcell is always on hand to help answering any questions quickly and professionally and she offers vital guidance, advice and support to us.We as a company will continue to use Park City’s services for many years to come and we cannot recommend them enough!Tracy Norton-Mead, Operations Director at the DS Group.read more
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We have worked with Park City for almost 10 years and have built up a great professional relationship over the years. The team are so friendly and helpful, and nothing is ever too much of an ask for... any of them. Our main HR contact is Carley, who is lovely, and she is very prompt in dealing with any queries we have regarding our 100+ staff. We would highly recommend their services for any local business.read more
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