It’s estimated that over 3 million fire doors are sold every year in the UK. However, there are concerns over fire door safety and that a large number of these are not fit for purpose. Why? Because they’re not installed correctly, are of poor quality, or aren’t regularly maintained. The consequence of this could be devastating. A fire door not able to contain a fire within a room or area can seriously hinder the evacuation process in an emergency.
There has been an increase of activity in recent years to raise awareness of the importance of fire door safety, most notably Fire Door Safety Week. Launched in 2013 in response to a legacy of fire door neglect, Fire Door Safety Week is an annual awareness campaign to increase public understanding of the vital role that fire doors play in protecting life and property.
There’s still a way to go though.
What are fire doors and why are they important?
A fire door is a door with a fire-resistance rating used as part of a passive fire protection system to reduce the spread of fire and smoke. Fire doors are usually made up of different components, commonly a combination of glass, gypsum, steel, timber and aluminium. They are designed to be kept closed, and any gaps between the wall and the door must be filled with a fire resistant sealant.
They are an essential part of a building’s fire safety. A fire door should be able to withstand fire for up to 30 minutes. Because they stop fires and smoke spreading so quickly throughout a building, they allow time for people to evacuate more safely and give more time for the fire brigade to attend and potentially reduce the damage to your building.
Fire Door Regulations
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 designates responsibility for fire safety of a building to a specific person or persons, depending on the premises. This is known as the ‘Responsible Person’. It is their responsibility to carry out an assessment of the risks from fire and then take steps to reduce or remove that risk.
BS5831-1:2013 is the British standard to meet for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire safety systems. BS 8214:2008 is a code of practice that offers recommendations for the specification, installation and maintenance of fire doors. This code of practice also provides recommendations on fire door inspection schedules.
Common Fire Door Faults
Regular inspections of your fire doors ensures they’re kept fault free. Here’s a few of the most common fire door faults:
- Fire doors not certificated
- Gaps between the door and the frame too big
- Intumescent/cold smoke seals damaged or missing
- Loose hinges and/or screws missing
- Handles not operating correctly
- Obstruction of doors
- Doors automatically closing properly after opening
- Insecure glass in the frame
- Incorrect or illegible fire door signage
What is an FD fire rating?
Fire doors come with an FD fire rating. This indicates how long a fire can withhold fire and smoke from spreading. The most commonly used are FD30 doors, which gives up to 30 minutes protection. FD60 provides 60 minutes protection.
It’s typical to install FD30 rated doors in domestic properties, giving plenty of time for occupants to evacuate a home.
Fire doors with an FD60 rating are more common in commercial buildings. Because these buildings are larger and usually hold more people, it gives extra time to ensure a quick and safe evacuation.
Fire Door Inspections
Article 17 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states it is a legal requirement to ensure that fire resisting doors are correctly installed and adequately maintained in order for them to be fit for purpose.
Fire doors need inspecting every six months, or in the case of a heavy use building such as hotels, every three months.
It’s recommended that your fire door inspections are carried out by a suitably qualified inspector. An inspection should include the following:
- Check the certification of the fire door
- Ensure the fire door fully closes automatically
- Ensure the door leaf sits against the door stop and has no distortion
- Check the gaps around the door are between the allowable 2mm and 4mm, and the gap between the door and the floor when it closes is no more than 10mm
- Check that door frames attach to the wall firmly and are free from damage
- Ensure intumescent seals are present and are in tact
- Ensure each door has a minimum of three hinges, all screws are present and are of the correct size
- Make sure the door closer operates properly and is free from damage
- Check that the fire door is free from damage and any glass in the door is intact
- Ensure that no fire doors are being wedged open
Fire Plus Security are experts in passive fire protection, including the regular inspection and maintenance of fire doors in London and surrounding counties. Contact us today to discuss your fire door inspection requirements on 0208 544 9732.