Accelerated development of fire door inspection software

Early pilots with Regenda Group and Torus highlighted a number of important technical challenges for Propeller to resolve, as well as several practical and logistical challenges that organisations will face next year in rising to the higher standards of the FSA 2021.
Engineer inspects fire doors, with realtime reporting using PROP-FS

Under intense scrutiny in 2021 with the passing of the Fire Safety Act 2021, fire safety compliance has also been a key focal point for development at Propeller Powered, leading provider of cloud-based compliance software.

Ahead of the FSA and the 2023 Building Safety Bill including the anticipated fire door frequency announcement, Propeller has worked with several social landlords on initial pilot projects. These projects have been conducted with the simple aim of completing a detailed asset register and undertaking initial fire door inspections using PROP-FS, Propeller’s new proprietary tech specifically designed to help social landlords to understand and manage fire door compliance within their housing stock.

As Mike Bradley, account director at Propeller explains, “To deliver the best possible solution, we needed to fully understand the difficulties that landlords face when registering fire doors and inspecting large volumes of doors. Our motivation throughout has been to develop the most efficient solution that saves landlords time and simultaneously provides a robust, auditable register.”

Key learnings from pilot projects

Early pilots with Regenda Group and Torus highlighted a number of important technical challenges for Propeller to resolve, as well as several practical and logistical challenges that organisations will face next year in rising to the higher standards of the FSA 2021.

As Mike explains “Our goal was to deliver an app with a completely customisable asset registration process, including a QR code and a complex inspection process for properties with large quantities of doors and frequently poor mobile phone signal. During our first trials, it wasn’t uncommon for it to take up to ten minutes to assess and register a single door, and the volume of data being captured and transferred was also presenting issues in upload to central register.”

Meanwhile, for landlord organisations, the difficulties lay largely with access to all the necessary assets. To fully assess a fire door, it’s crucial to see both sides of the door which therefore requires access to residents’ homes. And to gain access, communication with residents is key. Feedback from the fire and rescue service local to one of the pilot schemes has also been incorporated.

50% additional time saving within first year of use

Having returned to several the original pilot sites with an improved version of the app, initial results are very promising. “Our development team has made a number of adjustments to the app to tackle the issues that were raised from the original trials. Most recent reports using the improved version indicate that the registration and inspection process has been reduced by over 50%, and data transfer is now far more reliable even in areas of poor signal,” says Bradley.

Propeller is now looking to undertake further field trials to continue the rapid research and development program and further streamline the process while accounting for a wide variety of sites and buildings. Any organisations interested in joining the pilot programme in order to support the development of this important aspect of building safety are invited to contact Mike via LinkedIn for further information.

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