The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has issued an urgent warning to all contractors regarding the safety of fire dampers.
Inspection by maintenance contractor found that “massive dampers” were improperly installed and would not work in the event of a fire in the building.
BESA’s technical director, Graeme Fox, has urged contractors to “immediately notify the client” so that rectification work can begin.
The question revolves around the use of self-drilling “tek” screws that have been used to install an unknown number of dampers in the project. Screws have a high melting temperature and they won’t melt if the building catches fire.
” This means spring dampers will not be released to contain the fire in the area spread and ensure the integrity of the fire protection measures,” Fox explained.
“The damper must be secured by fusible fasteners so that the duct disengages, otherwise a collapsed duct may pull the damper out of place and break the seal between the fire zones,” he added.
BESA has issued a special announcement in this regard. It includes updated guidelines and statutory requirements covering the installation, testing and maintenance of fire and smoke dampers.
The document also highlights the customer’s legal obligations to ensure that their fire safety systems comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for England and Wales and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.
Fox said: “ While this is obviously a very worrying situation, we can Rest assured, as awareness of this extremely important issue continues to grow, and the frequency of fire damper inspections and testing increases, this issue is coming to our attention.”
The latest BESA technical advice can be found here.