Author : Marry-Anne Bowring
UK fire door legislation now mandates inspections of apartment front doors. To determine if this applies to your building, you must know how to measure its height. The Building Safety Act passed on June 28, 2022, aims to improve the quality and safety of UK buildings, ensuring confidence in new constructions and preventing leaseholders from bearing fire safety expenses.
The Fire Safety Act 2021, enacted a year prior, requires more frequent inspections of fire doors and apartment front doors for buildings with five or more storeys or heights exceeding 11 metres, starting from January 2023. The Building Safety Act 2022 also holds builders accountable for past buildings by restricting their ability to construct new structures if they fail to address fire safety concerns retroactively for 30 years.
Both the Building Safety Act 2022 and the Fire Safety Act 2021 require building owners, or those responsible for building management, to know their building's height as it determines the fire door inspection requirements. The Building Safety Act introduces different rules for qualifying buildings based on height. This guide will help determine if your building is above or below 11 meters. If it's below 11 meters, communal fire doors must be inspected twice a year. For buildings above 11 meters, communal and apartment front doors must be checked four times yearly.
How to determine the height of a building for fire door inspection purposes
Measuring the height of a building is not as simple as counting from the bottom to the top. There are specific protocols to be followed.
The starting point for measuring is the lowest side of the building, excluding any floors below ground level. It must be noted that not all facilities are constructed on level ground. The measurement is taken from the lowest point of the ground floor.
Also, for the purposes of ascertaining the building height for fire door inspections, the roof is not counted as the highest point of the building. The height is measured from the ground up to the floor level of the highest floor where people reside, i.e., the highest floor occupied by individuals.
What is defined as a storey under The Building Safety Act measurement criteria?
When assessing whether the building is relevant by the terms of its floor count, the ground floor is counted as the first storey. The basement, or underground car park, is not taken into account.
You should determine the height of your building by establishing the lowest point to measure from.
What is the maths to calculate the building height?
Top Floor > Ground Floor + Ground Floor > DPC + DPC > Ground Level = Building Height
What is the 11-Meter Rule?
If you live in a building under 11 meters in height, the fire door inspection requirement under The Fire Safety Act 2021 is to inspect communal fire doors, including the riser cupboard, twice a year. If you live in a building over 11 meters tall, the fire door inspection requirement under The Fire Safety Act 2021 is to inspect communal fire doors, including the riser cupboards, four times a year. The perfect inspection will also include an inspection of the fire doors of all apartments.
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