SECURITY SCREENS ON UNITS – The Debate Continues.

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Many Unit owners want to get the balance between personal safety and fire safety compliance right. As owners are being educated about requirements under the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 (QFSR) many have realised that the security screens installed on their front doors were illegal and further that
chocking open their front doors was also illegal. This article is to clarify what is illegal and the latest view of the fire authorities.
Why are security doors fitted to fire doors a bad idea? A fire door assembly is made up of the door, lock and a closer and frame. It is designed to keep a fire from spreading between units in a building. These assemblies are tested in laboratories and approved for use as a complete unit. Fire doors are fitted under Australian Standards and wile fire door assemblies are all approved, security screens attached to them are not. Therefore, technicians will fail a fire door fitted with a security screen.
Fitting a security door has a number of other problems ….
 Fitting a security door and the associated hinges locks frames and closers usually requires drilling holes in the existing fire door frame. This destroys the integrity of the fire door assembly and renders it less fire resistant (and therefore non compliant)
 The escape route from the unit to the assembly point outside the building must be free from obstructions. Security doors obstruct the exit from the unit especially if they are locked on a regular basis.
 Security screens also impede access to the unit by the fire brigade when an unconscious or mobility
impaired person is unable to escape by themselves.
Fire doors cannot legally be chocked open so the main reason for the security door – to let breeze in – is negated.

What does this mean? They will not be clarifying the matter, screens are not compliant but it is our understanding that the QFRS will not be issuing fines for non-compliance. We were also informed that in the situation where the safety breach is so bad that it cannot be ignored it still must go back for department approval before any fine is issued.
It seems like this is just too hot a potato for anyone to take the responsibility for a whole lot of owners having their lifestyles affected by security screens being removed. As a Body Corporate Manager we recommend the removal of security screens to eliminate the chance of liability in any way.

For more information or discussion on this item any one of our friendly staff would be happy to talk with you. Call 5448 8725 for your local Body Corporate professionals.

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