Once the relevant permission is obtained to carry out fi re upgrades, such as Listed Building Consent (required for all types of works on a listed building which affect the structure’s unique fabric), it’s important to understand the intricacies of installing different types of fi re doors and screens.

Temporary fi re doors While temporary fi re doors are just that, they still require careful consideration of the surrounding building fabric. The most important thing to consider when installing these types of doors is the fi xing details. For example, we’ve developed a bespoke fi xing method which avoids having to create additional fi xing directly into the building fabric.

Historic fi re doors When upgrading existing historic fi re doors, avoid ironmongery that isn’t CE marked or fi re rated. Often, these doors have been poorly upgraded or maintained for a number of years, so they must be handled delicately. Depending on the severity of the damage, skilled conservation carpenters should be hired to carry out the work either on site, in a mobile workshop or in an offsite workshop environment.

Glazed fi re screens With the aid of a fi re consultancy team, glazed fi re screens can be secured to historic opening and door surrounds.

Comprehensive design and project testing is required for fi re screens before the system can be manufactured, and as every site is different, this can prove to be challenging at times.

Further, clients will sometimes change the specifi cation measures of the glazing, causing the glass to be extremely thick. This, in turn, requires the frame that is holding the glass in place to be made thicker as well, calling for new considerations to be made and additional labour.

New fi re doors When historic fi re doors cannot be repaired or upgraded, new doors will need to be installed. This can prove to be a challenge at times due to both expensive burn tests, if the door construction has not been tested, and costly development of spindle moulds to replicate the details of the original doors.

Finally, with any type of fi re safety upgrade, stakeholder liaison and adequate access to the space is key. The project team needs to make sure its workers are set up in a manner which enables fl exibility and allows the client to maintain normal building function and operation. This is especially important if the site experiences consistent heavy footfall, such as a government building, place of worship, department store or tourist attraction.

Taking necessary measures There are a range of measures, in addition to the installation of fi re doors, which must be taken in order to reduce the risk of fi re.

These include the development and implementation of a robust fi re strategy, taking the building’s current use


into account, and carrying out ‘hot’ works away from the building when possible. They also involve building occupiers maintaining regular testing and improvement works, and employing competent contractors who have well-developed systems in place to plan, monitor and manage the fi re safety work.

“It’s essential the correct

tools and knowledge are applied when improving

the fi re safety features of a historic building, otherwise the fabric can be left in an even weaker state than it was originally in.”

It can be done Fire safety repairs may seem like a daunting task, especially when conducted in older buildings. However, these buildings are where fi res are most easily started and quickly spread, which means it’s essential the proper precautions are taken to minimise this risk.

Fireproofi ng a historic building is by no means a simple process. But with the right team and expertise, fi res can be avoided, and history can be preserved for both current and future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

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