We've recently been faced with the reality of neglected damper maintenance and the consequences. One of the 18m > blocks in our portfolio has over 350 dampers of which we have discovered over 250 require remediation to be bought up to compliance per legislation BS- 9999.
BS- 9999 “With the enactment of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety)Order 2005, it is now the employer's responsibility to maintain their fire safety systems.”
Regular maintenance of fire and smoke control dampers is crucial for ensuring the safety and protection of buildings and their occupants. Fire and smoke control dampers are essential components of a building's fire protection system, designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke throughout the building. Neglecting to maintain these dampers can have serious consequences and put lives at risk in the event of a fire.
One of the main reasons why regular maintenance is so important is that fire and smoke control dampers can become damaged or misaligned over time. This can occur due to normal wear and tear, changes in the building's structure, or due to damage from contractors or maintenance personnel. If a damper becomes damaged or misaligned, it may not operate correctly in the event of a fire, allowing smoke and fire to spread throughout the building. In the case of our block, the dampers were installed over 20 years ago when visual evidence was not required to test the dampers function. New legislation means a photo must be taken of the shutters within the damper closing and opening, meaning a accessible hatch must be present in the damper near the shutter to allow a camera inside.
Fire and smoke control dampers are often located in hard-to-reach or out-of-sight areas, such as ductwork or plenums. We've had to install over 30 additional ceiling hatches to ensure our dampers are accessible for annual testing. Regular maintenance of fire and smoke control dampers will help to extend their lifespan and hopefully reduce the need for costly replacements. The cost for the remediation work required for our 250+ dampers exceeds £70,000!
By performing regular inspections and maintenance, issues can be detected early and addressed before they become major problems. This can help to ensure that the building's fire protection system remains effective and efficient for years to come.
Are you testing your buildings dampers annually?