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  • Darren Young

Fire Doors in Your HMO: Why They Matter and How to Afford Them

Updated: Feb 3



image of a fire door and material breakdowns

Life-saving heroes lurking in plain sight? 

Your HMO's fire doors are exactly that – silent guardians against the devastating spread of flames. But what if these crucial barriers are old, damaged, or simply not up to code? Replacing them all might seem like a budget-breaker, but fear not!

This blog is your guide to navigating fire door upgrades and replacements on a shoestring, ensuring your tenants' safety without taking a financial hit.

First things first, identify the culprits:


  • Check your doors against HMO fire safety regulations. Internal bedroom doors might not need to be fire-rated, but all escape routes and compartmentation doors must comply with BS 476 Part 22. Look for markings like "FD30" indicating the fire resistance rating.

  • Don't underestimate minor damage. Warped frames, gaps around the edges, or damaged seals can significantly reduce the door's fire resistance. Even chipped paint can be a sign of deeper issues.

  • Upgrade or replace? Minor problems like faulty door closers can often be fixed. But extensive damage or non-compliant doors warrant replacement.


Now, let's get budget-savvy:


  • Upgrade like a pro: Wooden doors in good condition can be revitalized with intumescent paint. This magical paint expands in heat, sealing gaps and protecting the core. It's surprisingly affordable and can upgrade your doors to a 30-minute fire rating.

  • DIY the upgrade: If you're handy, consider replacing the door core with a pre-fire-rated one. Remember, proper installation is crucial, so consult a professional if unsure.

  • Embrace the kit life: Prefabricated fire door kits containing seals, letterboxes, and other fire-rated hardware offer a cost-effective way to upgrade multiple doors.


Replacement Fire Doors on a budget:


  • Shop around: Compare prices online and consider buying second-hand fire doors in good condition. Local building merchants or hardware stores may also offer deals.

  • Prioritize function over fancy: Opt for basic, solid-core fire doors over elaborate designs. You're after safety, not aesthetics.

  • Grants and schemes: Some local authorities or housing associations offer financial assistance for fire safety upgrades in HMOs. Check your eligibility for such schemes.


Remember:


  • Safety first, always. Don't compromise on fire protection for affordability. Upgraded or replaced doors must comply with BS 476 Part 22 and be installed by qualified professionals.

  • Think long-term: Upgraded fire doors can lower insurance premiums and provide peace of mind – a worthwhile investment in your tenants' well-being and your wallet.


Bonus tip: Encourage fire safety awareness among your residents. Conduct regular fire drills, educate them on proper fire door usage, and remind them to report any damage or concerns immediately. A proactive approach to fire safety is truly priceless.


By following these tips, you can ensure your HMO's fire doors are life-saving heroes, not budget villains. Protect your tenants and your finances – embrace the power of upgraded and replaced fire doors!

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