A Helpful Guide To Fire Rated Doors
The effects of a fire outbreak in a building can be devastating and sometimes fatal – all buildings should have the most effective fire safety precautions in place, whether it be in a residential, commercial or industrial environment. Fire rated doors can play an essential role in providing thorough fire safety for a building and can help prevent potential tragedy. Here are some aspects of fire rated doors and their role and importance for you to consider:
The Point of Difference with Fire Rated Doors
A fire rated door is one that is specifically designed and manufactured to provide resistance to fire and its’ dangerous elements in the event of a fire outbreak within a building. Fire doors contribute to the passive fire protection of any building in which they are installed. A normal door within a public building, such as offices or shops, acts simply as an entry and exit point between different partitions within the building – these doors will normally be constructed of standard materials which are not fire-proofed and will NOT be fire resistant! Fire rated doors are constructed of a combination of fire-resistant materials such as steel, toughened glass, aluminium and treated timber which will slow – or even stop – the spread of fire, heat, and smoke.
Fire Door Ratings Explained
There are different ratings for fire doors and the environment in which they are to be installed will dictate which type to choose. Most commercial fire doors are either FD30 or FD60 – an FD30 fire door is designed and constructed to provide up to 30 minutes resistance to flame, heat, and smoke in the event of a fire outbreak. In many public buildings, such as schools and hospitals, FD60 fire doors are often installed – these fire rated doors will resist the fire elements for up to 60 minutes, thus containing any smoke, flame, and heat in the area of the initial fire outbreak. This allows a greater time for a full and safe evacuation of the building and extra time for the appropriate emergency services to attend and deal with the fire professionally. There are fire rated doors of even greater resistance available should the circumstances and environment require them.
What is an Intumescent Seal?
A vital component of any fire rated door is the intumescent seal. The most vulnerable area with a fire rated door is the gap between the door and the frame – flame and potentially fatal smoke can pass through these gaps if they are exposed. These seals, often accompanied by a ‘brush’ or ‘flipper’, will expand when exposed to heat, thereby sealing these gaps, and preventing the spread of heat and smoke for the appropriate time of the selected fire door rating.
Where Do You Need To Use Them?
Fire rated doors are often mandatory in certain types of building – any building consisting of more than two storeys in height must have certain doors that are fire resistant – houses of multiple occupation and ALL apartment blocks or flats MUST have these doors for the protection and safety of any residents. All public and commercial properties should have fire rated doors installed in the appropriate areas.
You Don’t Need to Compromise on Aesthetics
Installing safety does not mean sacrificing the look of the door or the rooms in which they are present – many fire door manufacturers and suppliers provide bespoke finishes in a range of materials and relevant door furniture to finish of the aesthetic appearance of the fire door, providing both safety peace of mind and the stylish look you want for your building.
Proper Installation and Maintenance
Without the presence of a specifically designed and manufactured fire rated door, smoke and fire can spread rapidly throughout a building – but the presence of fire rated doors alone is not enough – it is imperative that these doors be installed properly and professionally by qualified suppliers and fitters. Once professionally installed, these doors must be inspected and maintained at regular intervals to ensure ongoing safety standards – any default or damage discovered must be dealt with at the earliest opportunity to maintain the integrity of the door and the safety of the building and its’ occupants.
It is important to note that ALL fire rated doors installed in a building should ALWAYS be kept closed and access to them should NEVER be hindered or obstructed in any way!