Why we’re seeing more door closers mounted externally
For the past year and more, councils/housing groups have increasingly been fitting door closers externally on their tenants’ apartment entrance doors. This enables them, without the need for internal access, to check that these essential elements of fire safety are intact and operational in conformity with BS9999 (which sets out measures to control or mitigate the effects of fire).
This new trend followed the passing of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, which gave tenants the right to legally compel their landlord to fix various hazards, including ones relating to fire safety. The Act came into force for new tenancies on 1 March 2019 and for existing tenancies on 20 March this year. Very quickly, aggressive claims management companies latched on to the prospect of a surge of business and began offering ‘no-win, no fee’ deals to tenants, targeting councils and housing associations for compensation pay-outs.
Understandably, housing groups are keen to protect themselves from the prospect of these claims as far as they can. Ensuring that they have rigorous inspection processes helps to achieve this, but gaining internal access to each apartment is very time-consuming to arrange and fulfil. Although some periodic access to apartments to check that door seals and other aspects are still operational is unavoidable, mounting door closers externally means these key parts of overall building safety can be regularly and much more easily checked. (External closers became even more advantageous during the pandemic in 2020, as they could be inspected without any need to compromise social distancing.)
Rutland has been at the forefront in enabling closers to be mounted on the external side of doors. We have developed a special bracket to facilitate this and conducted primary testing to ensure it passes all fire safety requirements. This and other products, along with our expertise, have been used by housing groups including Bolton Council, Coventry Council and Citizen Housing Group not only to protect their tenants in the event of fire but also to help themselves by minimising the possibility of legal action.