fire escape route in property

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  • fire escape route in property

    Hi, can anyone tell me if break glasses for keys have been outlawed? I have a few doors where they do not have the internal thumb turns that enable anyone to open from inside.

    Previously I have fitted break glasses with a key for an emergency where someone does not have a key, I have now had a council inspection where they said this is now illegal and I must have thumb turns?

    Anyone heard of this? What are you meant to do with large wooden doors where thumb turns can not be fitted?

  • #2
    Generally keys in boxes are not accepted on final exits doors as keys can be miss placed and locks altered and the key when required no longer fits the lock. This would obviously cause a delay in evacuating the premises. What type of premises is it and are the keys in boxes on all final exit doors? If so I would advise an alternative a simple draw bolt may be accepted or an electromagnetic locking device although these would be more expensive.

    The legalities come from Article 14 (1)(f) of the Fire Safety Order 2005 “ emergency doors must not be so locked or fastened that they cannot be easily and immediately opened by any person who may require to use them in an emergency”

    Comment


    • #3
      Some door's are of the older type ie. large wooden ones with mortice locks, as it is only one dwelling I have been fixing break glass keys near the locks so if there was an emergency they can still get out. On most of my properties we have thumb turns but it is only on these older doors where thumb turns can not be fitted.

      Obviously replacing all of these doors is quite costly measure but will be done eventually. I know the break glasses are not perfect but are better than nothing.

      Many thanks for your advice on this subject, any info is greatly appreciated. Surely it could be argued that if a break glass is there containing a key then it can immediately be opened as it takes 3 seconds to break the glass and grab the key?

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a back door that locks via yale type std lock and a
        mortice lock, which of course is locked with the mortice lock.

        I cannot get out of my back door in a fire unless I have a key. Same with front door.
        Front and back doors ARE the fire exits, and they are locked
        with motrice lock.

        One flat I was in only had a mortice lock on the front door to the
        flat. Council inspected it for other issues, ( no door on kitchen,
        no common area smoke alarms, but no problem with the mortice lock
        )
        I could not get out of my front door in a fire unless I have a key.

        Give your tenants a key !

        Or just fit small bolts to the doors inside so you dont need a key.

        R.a.M.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Ram, they all have keys, the idea is if your keys are in the kitchen and this then sets alight you must be able to get out without having to go into the burnign kitchen where they may not be retreavable.

          I have had numerous council inspections and they never pull me up but last week someone who was not even a tenant phoned the fire brigade from inside a block of flats saying they were trapped so as you can imagine I have had everyone round, fire brigade and council, there was a key for emergencies in a break glass but they said this was no good and now illegal.

          There is no law regarding this but the problem comes if there is a fire and you are then liable. Most people tend not to worry about this but when your buying a lot of property and start looking at hundreds then sooner or later you will have a fire, although I am still praying I don't.

          You should have an exit strategy and mortice locks are very dangerous without at least a break glass, in a big fire you would choke before getting out and if your keys are in the fire area, best leave them in the back of the door!

          Comment


          • #6
            1) are you saying a stranger/visitor was in the building and trying to
            get out via a fire exit, and not by the front door ?

            2) Or are you saying there is a front door ( communal area / hall )
            after some one has left the flat, and the front door only has
            a mortice lock ?

            R.a.M.

            Comment


            • #7
              yes was the main door in, I do not even know who's flat they were in but must of left and then could not get out the main door

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by hech123 View Post
                yes, was the main door in,
                Then reversing my previous advice, you NEED a normal style,
                yale type lock on the door, and remove the mortice lock.

                The current doors are probably too thick for these, but that's
                no problem.
                A GOOD chippy wil be able to chisel out a recess ( reducing the
                thickness of the wood ) where a Yale type lock can go, on
                the inside face of the door.
                Gets done all the time.

                Yes ? ?
                R.a.M.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Under the council's system a yale lock fails on security, you fix one problem and creat another!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hech123 View Post
                    Under the council's system a yale lock fails on security, you fix one problem and creat another!!
                    If it were me, I would say to the council.
                    There are thousands of similar properties, private and HMO that have
                    entrance doors with just one Yale type lock.
                    If you are not satisfied with a motice lock with key for every resident,
                    and a key hanging up next to the door ( behind glass so the buggers
                    don't steal it,) and not happy with a yale type lock to replace
                    a motice lock, which by the way is an insurance recommendation,
                    then please visit the premises and give me a part number, a picture,
                    and a supplier of a lock that will satisfy your excessive needs.

                    That way you have shown willingness to comply, but to comply
                    only with information they supply, as they MUST know what they
                    need, therefore they should show you what you need.

                    R.a.M.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Normal type is a euro lock (thumb turn) but some older wooden doors these are difficult to fit, I will get round to getting them all up to spec and changing doors if I have to, its just such a nightmare though and can be costly.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hech123 View Post
                        Surely it could be argued that if a break glass is there containing a key then it can immediately be opened as it takes 3 seconds to break the glass and grab the key?
                        The concept of doors being “readily available without the use of a key” really comes from the likely human behaviour of people in fire situations. In real fire situations people panic and haven’t got the time to fumble with break glass boxes and keys in locks, seconds really can count. The same applies when I have inspected care homes etc in the past with coded number locks on final exit doors which for the same reasons are not permitted even with a simple code like 1,2,3,4. Care staff in panic situations have been known to forget a simple code like this.

                        Can you confirm what type of property it is? Also if you did have a break glass key box what do they break the glass with? Are you intending to provide a hammer?

                        If the premises is a HMO and the Local Authority are enforcing I doubt you would get any movement on this issue….sorry.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ram View Post
                          If it were me, I would say to the council.
                          There are thousands of similar properties, private and HMO that have
                          entrance doors with just one Yale type lock.
                          If you are not satisfied with a motice lock with key for every resident,
                          and a key hanging up next to the door ( behind glass so the buggers
                          don't steal it,) and not happy with a yale type lock to replace
                          a motice lock, which by the way is an insurance recommendation,
                          then please visit the premises and give me a part number, a picture,
                          and a supplier of a lock that will satisfy your excessive needs.

                          That way you have shown willingness to comply, but to comply
                          only with information they supply, as they MUST know what they
                          need, therefore they should show you what you need.

                          R.a.M.
                          This would seem like a reasonable approach to the LA to me.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Many thanks for your reply Darren. I have various properties I use this on, there is not usually a hammer but these break glasses are designed for keys and the slightest push shatters them. In 90-95% of my properties we have thumb turns and always in HMO's but in the odd terrace or block of flats I do have these.

                            I can see they are best to be looked at and I will do this over time now after hearing all the replies. They are pretty sufficient but as I work through my properties improving various things these are one of the things I will look at. To be fair many landlords have mortice locks and very few even offer a break glass, I see from hundreds of properties I view, I am amazed at how little safety most of the landlords I see have in place.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              a link to one of these break glasses on amazon - http://www.amazon.co.uk/BREAK-PLASTI...9397947&sr=8-2

                              Seems strange places still sell them if they are illegal, possibly for commercial I suppose.

                              Comment

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