Fire Doors – Investing in the latest technology to ensure resident safety

First Published: 25/09/2020

Matt Platt, Head of Assets and Complaince at Johnnie Johnson Housing, shares news of how the company is investing £5million in its fire door replacement programme, to ensure we use the latest technology to keep our residents safe.

With COVID-19 forcing more people than ever to stay at home, life-critical building components such as fire doors are as important as ever.

Fire doors play an incredibly important role in ensuring the safety of our residents, and in 2019 we committed £5million to replace fire doors across our stock over three years. The programme of replacement also started in 2019 and we recently appointed contractors to continue this work through 2020 and 2021.

As part of the fire door replacement programme we wanted to ensure that we used innovative design to future proof  the fire door sets, and these included:

1. Introduction of a Salto Geo locking system; a keyless lock that can be operated with a fob or wristband  providing one-handed easy access. This decision alone has resulted in not only positive resident feedback but also value for money savings. These savings have been made by removing the need to replace locks.

2. Installed entrance-way barrier matting within residents’ homes, sitting directly behind the fire door.  Through our surveys we have identified that over the years fire doors have been adjusted to accommodate residents’ individual floor finishes, such as carpet or laminate, by installing the matting and taking responsibility for its future maintenance we can be confident that the integrity of the fire doors is upheld.

3. Installing asset tags on the doors so that we can easily record fire door inspections in the future.

All our fire doors are fully certified and installed by third-party accredited contractors.

Across our stock we operate a risk-based model to our fire-risk programmes and our ongoing risk assessments include compartmentation surveys. These surveys scrutinise the fabric of the building; we invest heavily in ensuring our building’s integrity is not compromised.

Day-to-day management of our buildings and communal spaces is key to supporting our all-round approach to fire safety.  Our front-line teams do a fantastic job in communicating key fire-safety messages to our residents and carrying out critical checks such as ensuring fire escapes remain free from obstacles. We also use compliance management systems to record our findings and identify and track trends.

In addition, our residents are connected to Astraline, our telecare monitoring service, which operates 24 hours a day, every day. Astraline also monitors early warning notifications from every fire and smoke alarm and activates the emergency services. Our Partnership Agreement with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has really helped in delivering a consistent approach across the 27 local authorities we operate in.

At Johnnie Johnson Housing, we firmly believe that true compliance is demonstrated by an holistic approach to fire safety, with both passive and active fire-safety measures, together with strong day-to- day management of our homes. Our residents’ safety is our number one priority.