With modern fire doors sometimes it is difficult to see that it is actually a fire door, this could also be said for a ‘Fire Door Upgrade’, which you’ll often see in period building as they want to keep the look of the existing door but ‘fire proof’ it. Therefore, it is conceivable that you may have removed a fire door without even realising it was one or are in the habit of propping your fire door open because it is inconvenient. So we thought it might be worthwhile you knowing what makes a fire door important, when you need one and what standards are required.
A fire door is usually installed to ensure that the building falls into ‘compartments’, preventing the spread of fire and/or smoke throughout a building. In the event of a fire a fire doors will slow down the spread of any fire, allowing occupants of a building to make a safe exit and therefore not compromising their safety. Fire Doors will also prevent damage to the rest of a building if a fire breaks out in an area protected by a fire door.
There are different ‘levels’ of protection available for fire doors and this usually depends on where in the building they are placed and what level of fire resistance is required. Some will be expected to resist the passage of smoke while others will stop fire and smoke. You can not be expected to know this yourself without some form of Fire Door Inspection of your current building being carried out, something that we at Fire Doors Rite specialise in.
A fire door is usually made of wood with a solid board as its core, however, sometimes they are made of steel and if the door is glazed in anyway, then the glass must be fire resistant to a FRG30 level and will be etched with the British Standard 476.
When a fire door is being installed it is important to make sure it is certified to the correct level and it is self-closing, but again a fire door inspection will determine exactly what you need. The self-closing mechanism mentioned is also incredibly important because if the fire door doesn’t self close and a fire breaks out, then the very reason for having the fire door in there first place, i.e. the safety & protection of the building & its occupants, becomes irrelevant. It could also mean that your insurance could also become void.
There are three types of door closers available, these are; surface mounted, overhead mounted or concealed and to determine which one is appropriate for use in your building, you will need to ensure that you instruct a fire door inspection company that can give you a comprehensive fire door inspection report, a report that details your exact needs.
Fire doors will only operate correctly if they are hung within the correct frame material stated in the fire test report of that door and with intumescent seals, as intumescent seals will swell when heated and form a seal to stop smoke seeping in from around the edges of the fire door. Correctly installed Fire Doors by certified fire door installers will also prevent the passage of cold smoke through the gap between the structural opening and door frame. Fire doorsets supplied and manufactured by certified manufacturers and for specific purposes will generally come with the intumescent strips already installed. However, if you are building a new fire door or wanting to use an existing door, you will need to ensure that any upgrade meets the test evidence or technical material sheets provided by, intumescent seals will be the minimum requirement needed on any upgrade.
A fire door should be fitted snugly within the door frame (about the thickness of a £1 coin all the way around) and CE Rated fire quality hinges which have a high melting point must be used. It is also worth checking the fire test evidence to check which type of lock is required, there will be certain maximum sizes of lock that you can use as any hole cut into the door will reduce its effectiveness.
In a commercial building fire doors need to be a minimum FD30 level of resistance. Broadly speaking this will mean that it will stop a fire for 30 minutes.
All the information above is just a guide, as each an every scenario is unique to the building in which the fire doors need to be installed – this is why companies such as ourselves exist. We help you to ensure the safety of your building and its occupants by carrying out a detailed fire door inspection report and helping you to understand the next steps you need to take.
If you’d like to understand more about your specific needs, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help in anyway we can.