Door Group, a unit of ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, is highlighting the lack of fire safety in education environments, calling for urgent action to improve fire door standards, after new Home Office figures show an alarming lack of fire safety systems.

Between the financial year 2022/23, 673 educational buildings in the United Kingdom were affected by blazes[1]. Additionally, these statistics also reveal that 627 of these establishments did not have a fire safety system in place.

Fire doors are one of the most important safety features in a building, and regular product specifications or dedicated fire door inspections are essential to fully ensure health and safety measures are met.

Doors in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities are subject to extremely high levels of traffic, and subsequently a higher level of misuse and abuse, which can then lead to functional problems resulting in non-compliance. 

As a leading provider of compliant fire doors, Door Group emphasises the urgent need for enhanced fire door standards to safeguard the lives of students, educators, and staff members.

Robust fire door systems play a pivotal role in containing fires, limiting their spread, and facilitating safe evacuations in emergency scenarios. By advocating for stricter regulations, promoting advanced fire door technologies, and offering comprehensive inspections, Door Group strives to mitigate the risk of fire-related incidents in educational settings.

Fire Rescue Services attended over 622,000 incidents in the year ending March 2023, marking a significant 7.8% increase compared to the previous year[2]. Alarmingly, just over 1,000 school buildings are believed to contain combustible materials similar to those used in Grenfell, encompassing 923 school buildings and 80 university buildings.

Brian Sofley, Managing Director at Door Group states: “Through our fire door inspections service, our BRE qualified engineers have found the level of compliancy in schools to be extremely low. In one school, for example, we inspected 164 fire doors and reported that 163 were not fire compliant.

“The concerning presence of fires in schools stresses the necessity for comprehensive fire safety measures with a holistic approach. It’s not just about specifying compliant solutions, they need to be managed correctly with regular inspections and maintenance. This information should be accurately recorded, in line with the ‘Golden Thread’ approach outlined in the Building Safety Act.”   

Door Group is committed to raising the standard of fire door safety in schools, providing a fully comprehensive inspection which can be carried out every three, four, six or 12 months to suit specific requirements.

Following inspections, Door Group then offer detailed reports containing advice and recommendations on necessary improvements, with the knowledge that identifying any potential issues that could impact safety and product performance can be lifesaving. If any issues do occur, a tailored repair proposal is issued to include anything from replacement doors to a regular maintenance program. Door Group inspectors are BRE-certified and will ensure that all fire doors inspected meet all necessary standards and regulations.

[1] Home Office Official Statistics: Fire statistics incident level datasets: (using data for categories – College / University, Pre School / Nursery / Infant / Primary School, Secondary School, Student Hall of Residence)