Owners ignoring damper testing

Many building operators remain confused about their responsibilities

CIBSE Journal November 2017 CIBSE marketing opt in tick

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.