WE DON’T TALK RUBBISH, WE PUT A DOOR IN FRONT OF IT!
Brett Barratt, MD at Warrior discusses the challenges and importance of bin door specification
Bin stores – the problems
A number for years ago I was involved in the investigation of a tower block fire in Birmingham which had started in the bin store room on the ground floor. It was unclear how the fire had started but the smoke travelled up the chutes and out on to the landings of the 7th, 8th and 9th floors, for some reason missing out other floors in the block.
The smoke on the landings was bad enough but it transpired that the seals on the individual flat doors were not sufficient and smoke infiltrated into the flats on these floors. Residents had to be literally cherry-picked from their balconies to be rescued from their smoke filled homes.
Bin store rooms in communal housing are prime targets for anti-social behaviour and arson attacks, whether caused with kids messing around because they are bored or more serious deliberate attacks. I was made aware of a case at Whitefriars in Coventry where an individual put lit paper down the bin chute when he was in his own flat! The fire brigade were called out around thirty times in one month to the same block for the same reason.
Importance of bin store door specification
The above cases made me realise the importance of bin doors, often overlooked as part of the overall security and safety elements of communal living. Not only are bin stores subject to arson attacks as described above but from other anti-social behaviour in general, such as wilful vandalism. I have also experienced a case where a rough sleeper was sleeping in a bin store room and despite the noise of new doors being fitted the person slept through the whole installation! At one point we even checked whether he was still alive!!
Why a stainless steel bin store door?
At Warrior we strongly advise that stainless steel should be specified for bin store doors with the same careful assessment carried out as would be done for communal entrance doors. Generally bin doors are louvred to allow air to circulate, but a stainless steel louvre doors is still robust and will withstand any stress it is put under.
Another reason for specifying stainless steel for bin doors is that the large bins are heavy and are often knocked in to the doors, for example when refuse is being collected. An aluminium bin store door would not stand up to being knocked by the bins and often bins are used to push through the bin store doors too putting them under great strain.
I have lost count of the number of aluminium and wooden louvre bin store doors we have replaced with a Warrior stainless steel alternative. Needless to say, every Warrior stainless steel bin door installed is still in use today!
Why the checking of bin store doors in critical
In the light of the tragedy at Grenfell, I feel it is important that social housing providers and councils should be checking their bin store doors thoroughly as well as the checking of the facades, sprinkler systems and other fire precautions, as widely documented.
I cannot stress enough the need for the specification of bin store doors to be taken seriously, as already this year there have been five reported fires that started in bin store rooms of residential blocks. From Kent to London, Maidenhead and Runcorn, these incidents have involved the call out of numerous fire brigades and fire fighters, the evacuation of residents, with the outcome that all the bin stores were completely destroyed. Fortunately no one has been reported hurt at any of these incidents; however there is a huge cost of clean-up and repair and disruption to residents.
Future-proofing for safety and security
I am not saying that all incidents can be completely avoided but a stainless steel louvre door on a bin store room can certainly minimise these incidents. All Warrior doors are manufactured to LPCB ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management system, which governs all processes including design, manufacture and installation, plus all doors fulfil DDA Compliance and Duty of Best Value.
My passion is to provide door solutions whatever the application that are robust to withstand wilful vandalism and misuse, as well as everyday use, whilst having the ability to close and lock after repeated attack. I also want to offer a cost effective solution by manufacturing doors that offer longevity with virtually zero on-going maintenance other than yearly testing and servicing.