Escape Routes Practised

Apartment Blocks:

24thAugust 2015.

Last week we looked at compartmentation within this apartment complex.

This week we will look at Escape routes:

While carrying out my initial survey of each apartment the very first thing that came to my attention was the entrance door to the apartment. When I knocked on the apartment door the tenant had great difficulty in opening the door. The first tenant could not find the keys and when the keys were found the lock’s proved difficult to open, then the security chain had to be removed. If this was an emergency situation it would have been even more difficult. Current standards do not allow keys to be used on the inside of an escape door, instead you must have thumb turn locks and no security chain. While I appreciate that people will see the need for security and that is why there are so many locks and chains on an entrance door, they must also look at their safety in the event of an emergency situation.

For these two bedroom apartments fire doors were not required within the apartment due to the short travel distance from each room to the front entrance door of the apartment.

On the other hand the three bedroomed apartments did require fire doors within the apartment. The three bedroomed apartments have a very large entrance hallway so fire door sets were required, including self-closures and fire seals on each door.

The protected stairway enclosure and the lobby leading from each apartment also require fire door sets. The existing door sets needed upgrading to enable them to comply with the fire safety certificate. The fire seals had to be replaced with smoke and intumescent seals. The doors and door frames had to be adjusted to enable them to close and seal properly. Locks on these type of fire doors are not allowed. On any fire door frame you must not paint over the fire seals as this will prevent them from operating properly when heated. On each escape route the walls must be capable of achieving a class 1 rating. This means that the wall or wall covering must not be capable of catching fire.

If you need to contact me for advice feel free to do so.

John Harrington. BEng, MIFireE, MIEI.