27 Jul 2005

No more door closers - Yippee!

We building regs watchers are well used to consultation documents spewing out of the ODPM. Building control these days is in a state of permanent flux and it is almost impossible for professionals to keep up with all the changes and amendments. Part B deals with Fire Safety and it’s constantly being tinkered with but now we have a new consultation paper in front of us, in effect a full-blown rewrite. This morning I checked into the ODPM website to see what the action was. It’s there, under Consultation Documents; Part B has been separated into two sections, one for dwellings, the other for everything else. So far so good: my interest is dwellings, so that might be half my work done. But then I download Part B consultation for dwellings and find that it’s 236 pages long. Oh, my Gawd.

Already I can feel my eyelids getting heavy at the thought of trying to digest any of this. But, I had been alerted in the press that there was an interesting nugget in here and, after a bit of digging around, I found it on p203.

"The ODPM is minded to remove the need for self-closing devices within
dwellings. This is because they can present a hazard to children; they can
interfere with the day-to-day convenience of the occupants and many of
our stakeholders tell us they are often disabled soon after occupation. The
fire safety benefits of closing doors, particularly at night, remain and it is
proposed to reinforce this message through national and local Community
Fire Safety programmes (see www.firekills.gov.uk) and other fire safety
initiatives. We would therefore particularly welcome consultees’ views on this particular proposal."

No more door closers! Yippee! That’s my view, ODPM.

What a pain in the arse they have been. I well remember back in my loft-converting days in the 1980s that we carried Perko door closers (pictured at the top of this blog) in our tool kits. They were a complete bugger to fit and, if adjusted over-strongly, they would snap your hand off when they door slammed shut. They would be fitted into the designated fire doors until the building inspector finalled; and then they were whipped off, by order of the client. My guess is that I fitted the same Perkos about six times before some Muppet decided they actually wanted to keep them.

What the other 235.5 pages have in them, I have no idea. But this one proposal certainly meets with my approval.

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