Does your Fire Escape Need Repairs or Replacement?

Does your Fire Escape Need Repairs or Replacement?

If a fire escape anywhere on your property is either damaged or in bad shape, it becomes a visual eyesore. What is probably more important is that it becomes a fire hazard. Over time, the slats, steps or railings can become wobbly or go missing, the anchorages may come loose or the metal may be rusted at different places. In most instances, this takes place because of poor fire escape maintenance and over time, the issue will only get aggravated.

When it is properly maintained, the fire escape on your property should last for as long as the structure itself.  This installation is exposed to the elements, just like all the other outdoor elements of the building are. And since it’s fabricated from metal, is prone to deterioration and rust. However, unless the fire escape installation is coming loose as a whole, it’s not really likely that you will have to get it entirely replaced.

The Checks

Have an engineer examine the installation; the loose anchorages of the fire escape should be checked to assess if they are structurally sound. The engineer should make note of all bent/loose/missing parts including:

  • Treads
  • Slats
  • Railings
  • Bolts
  • Supporting steel angles & beams
  • Cracked/missing bricks or caulking around the penetrations
  • Flaking paint
  • Rust or any sharp pieces/edges of metal
  • The drop ladder will also have to be checked for signs of deterioration
  • Hand scraping of the fire escape
  • Removing rust between connections
  • Replacement of bolts which require replacing
  • Repair/replacement of all worn steel
  • Re-cementing connections to the structure as required
  • Shut all major connections with silicone to prevent the build-up of rust
  • Hand painting all  treads, rails & supports
  • Beam replacement if required
  • Caulking of joints
  • Welding or bolting of loose treads, platform slats, railings, handrails & other metal pieces

Fire Escape Repairs

If the damage is not too severe and the engineer signs-off the fire escape as being safe, you can carry out the repair work as required; this could include:

You will not require a Department of Buildings’ permit for refurbishment of the fire escape unless more than 10 sq ft/ 4 linear ft of masonry are going to be replaced. Once you have got the fire escape repairs done, ensure that fire escape maintenance and inspections are carried out on a regular basis.

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