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An Overview of fire doors

A fire door set is a type of passive fire protection system used in commercial buildings. The purpose of a fire door is to prevent the spread of fire and smoke by maintaining a fire compartments integrity, and to provide a safe means of escape in the event of a fire.

Fire doors are constructed from fire-resistant materials, such as timber or steel, and are designed to maintain their integrity for a specified period of time, typically 30 minutes or more. They are equipped with self-closing devices and smoke seals to prevent smoke from entering the protected space, and may also have vision panels, secondary locks, and other features.

Fire doors are an important component of a building’s fire protection system, working in conjunction with other passive fire protection systems, such as fire-resistant walls and partitions, fireproofing materials, and fire-resistant doors and windows, to contain and prevent the spread of fire and smoke.

While fire doors are a passive fire protection system, they can be used in combination with active fire protection systems, such as fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and fire suppression systems, to provide a comprehensive fire protection solution.

Fire doors are a type of passive fire protection system that play an important role in preventing the spread of fire and smoke in commercial buildings, providing a safe means of escape, and working in combination with other passive and active fire protection systems. Building owners and managers must ensure that their fire doors are properly installed, maintained, and tested to ensure their effectiveness in the event of a fire.

Below is a typical fire door identification label it states “Fire door certification invalid unless installed and maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and this label is retained unmarked and not removed”

The performance of a fire door is based on several components working together in a fire scenario. A door set may be called fire resisting if the complete design has been subjected to a full-scale fire resistance test to one of the current test standards for non-loadbearing elements:

– BS 476: Part 22: 1987

– BS EN 1634 -1: 2008

The individual components should be fire tested in a controlled environment as a complete set to ensure their overall performance. As the doors on site display numerous defects and a collaboration of various types of ironmongery any remedial works carried out would not be a certified solution. Excessive gaps at the base of door leaves can be reduced by the addition of hardwood lipping to the bottom edge but this would be classed as a best endeavours repair.

Unless a door can be identified as “complete as tested” we would always recommend the door set is replaced in its entirety with a certified door set. We acknowledge preservation may supersede fire safety in this instance and best endeavours could be applied to reduce the risk, but this would have to be managed by the client.

What are fire doors and why do they matter?

Fire doors are a really important element of your fire safety strategy. Used correctly, they stop fires from spreading through a building, giving people time to escape and the Brigade time to attend and potentially save your premises.

Getting the right fire doors in place is an important responsibility, though you may also need to consider active measures such as fire detection and sprinklers.

Why do you need to provide fire doors?

  • They are specifically designed to withstand fire for a set period of time; usually 30 or 60 minutes
  • They are a legal requirement for flats which open onto communal areas shared with other tenants. This is to make sure crucial escape routes are protected if a fire breaks out.
  • They are designed to automatically close behind you in the event of fire, holding flames back and stopping the spread of the fire and toxic smoke into escape routes, corridors and other flats in the block.

Property owners are required by law (The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) to make sure premises reach required standards of fire safety.

What’s the difference between a Fire door and a normal door?

If a fire door is properly made by a BWF certified manufacturer, with compatible parts, and certified by an accredited third party, it should hold back a fire for 30 minutes or more. However, the components – hinges, seals, handles and glazing – are as important as the door itself. This is because, in a fire, doors can warp, move, and allow smoke and fire through the opening. The seals and the gaps between the door frame and the wall are vital too. They also stop smoke and fire spreading as quickly If a fire door isn’t properly installed, or you don’t use all the right seals and components like letterboxes that are fire-safe too, it can fail in less than 5 minutes. London Fire Brigade recommends only accredited professionals install fire doors.

Who is responsible for fire doors?

If you are responsible for a property, you are responsible for the performance of the passive fire protection in the building to keep the people who use it safe, this includes fire doors. The types of properties this affects is almost all buildings, places and structures other than individual private homes. Property manager’s responsibilities include shared areas in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), blocks of flats and maisonettes.