Many building owners and managers are still putting their occupants at risk by failing to have fire and smoke dampers tested correctly, according to specialist damper-compliance firm Indepth.
Despite growing awareness of fire-safety issues, many building operators remain confused about their responsibilities, the company said. ‘Ventilation ductwork is a major potential weak spot because it contains critical fire-safety equipment that is out of sight and, therefore, regularly overlooked,’ added Indepth managing director Richard Norman.
‘Under UK standard BS9999, dampers should be tested at least once a year, and in ventilation systems – which are likely to accumulate dust more quickly – or in high-risk buildings, tests should be carried out even more regularly.’
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, which came into force in 2006, stipulates that a ‘responsible person’ must ensure all components of the fire-safety system in a building are kept in ‘efficient working order’ and ‘good repair’. They must do a fire-safety risk assessment and put in place a maintenance regime. Failure to do so can result in a £10,000 fine and two years in prison for the designated responsible person – as well as closure of the building.