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Importance of fire damper testing for offices and tower blocks highlighted by Grease Gone

22 December 2020

VENTILATION SYSTEMS deep cleaning specialist J&I Grease Gone has moved to highlight the importance of regular testing and maintenance for fire damper systems located in offices and tower blocks.

Commercial buildings including office blocks and tower blocks all operate under a strict Health and Safety code to which the management teams of such structures must strictly adhere. The safety of occupants – and, of course, workers – within any building is always of paramount importance.

Despite this rather obvious consideration, many building owners are not fully aware of what exactly needs to be done on a regular and, importantly, an annual basis to ensure that a given building is ‘up to code’.

When it comes to BS 9999:2017, there have been specific updates with regards to fire damper testing, which in itself is of particular importance. In point of fact, the testing of fire dampers isn’t just an ‘essential’ in office blocks and tower blocks. Rather, it’s critical.

Fire dampers are potentially life-saving solutions that have been designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke in the event that a blaze should occur. Typically, they’re situated in ductwork and can be either mechanical or electronic in nature. Mechanical fire dampers will spring shut and stop the spread of fire through the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, whereas an electronic fire damper will close and prevent not only fire from spreading, but also smoke.

Testing procedures

While many buildings are fitted with fire dampers during the construction phase, not a great many of them are actually maintained correctly for the simple reason that, given their location in the ductwork, fire dampers can be difficult to access. Attention is often afforded to more visible fire safety equipment such as alarms and even sprinklers, while fire dampers can continue to be ignored.

Regular fire damper testing realises peace of mind and, with the help of a professional cleaning company, needn’t be an issue at all for building management and fire safety teams. Fire dampers need to be tested on a regular basis. In fact, they should be tested upon installation as well as every year thereafter.

Should fire dampers go untested for whatever reason, there could be deadly consequences. In the event of a fire, unmaintained fire dampers could lead to the easier spread of fire, preventing people from having enough time to evacuate the building, whether it’s an office building or a residential tower block. The latter, of course, could be home to many people at any one time.

If any deaths should occur in a fire incident, the person in charge of maintaining a given building and ensuring that it remains ‘up-to-code’ could find themselves being prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter Act if dampers haven’t been tested and are proven to have failed. Insurance is also likely to be invalidated as the majority of policies stipulate that fire dampers must be tested and regularly maintained.

No liability

Fire dampers needn’t become a headache for any building owner or manager. With the help of commercial cleaning companies such as J&I Grease Gone, all it takes is a simple appointment to ensure that the dampers are tested and in good working order.

Not only will this ensure the safety of those people inside a given building, whether they be workers or residents, but it will also make certain that no liability falls upon the building’s owner/management as they will then be able to show proof of these highly necessary fire safety devices having been maintained.

*For more information on fire damper testing contact Grease Gone on (telephone) 020 88663 413 or send an e-mail to: info@jicleaning.com In addition, visit the website at www.grease-gone.co.uk