Safety Checklist For Commercial Security Doors
Of all the safety aspects installed in commercial and some residential buildings, the fire doors themselves are often taken for granted. They are essential in preventing the spread of heat, flame, and potentially fatal smoke in the unfortunate event of a fire outbreak which could cause damage to the property as well as potential injury and loss of life to occupants. There may well be fire safety doors throughout the building at strategic places, as well as at the building entry and exit points. These commercial security doors are vital to the welfare of the people inside and therefore need to be regularly maintained and checked. Here are some aspects of fire door maintenance to consider:
With Whom The Responsibilities Lie
Before we look at the actual checklist it is worth remembering where the responsibilities for these important safety checks lie. Whilst the initial responsibility is with the contractor/developer/Project Manager of the initial construction to ensure these features are installed wherever required, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 2005 calls for a ‘suitable’ person to be appointed to regularly consider these safety issues as part of the Fire Risk Assessment process. Careful and regular inspection of these commercial security doors must be performed, and any fault or defects discovered to be addressed immediately.
A Helpful Checklist
Here is a quick checklist of the different aspects that need monitoring:
Wedged Open – For any fire door to be effective in preventing the spread of heat, smoke and flame, the door MUST be closed. Therefore wedging a fire door open, for any purpose, MUST NOT be allowed.
Automatic Closing – In the same vein, all fire doors must be fitted with an automatic closing device. This is to ensure that the door shuts once passed through without the person having to remember to manually do it. Self-closing door mechanisms should be fitted and be always functional.
Hinges And Latches – Whilst not obvious safety features as such, these operational door parts must be maintained in full working order. Ensure all hinges have the correct number of screws and that they are regularly tightened and that the handle and lock work efficiently.
Doors And Frames – The frames and the door fixture itself must always be secured and functional. Check for any damage to the door or any warping. There should be no holes, spaces, or gaps that could compromise the door and that smoke could filter through in the event of a fire outbreak. It is always worth checking the door lock to ensure there are no keyholes or such which could provide a gap.
Glazing – Many commercial security doors will be solid structures with no glazing – however, in environments where the fire doors need to be so, check that the glazed panels are of the required specification and that the beading securing them in place is firmly affixed and unbroken. In the event of any of these glazed panels needing to be replaced, ensure that the new panel is of equal specification as the original.
Exposed Gaps – One of the most vulnerable parts of any fire doors for commercial buildings is the ‘settle gap’ between the frame and the door itself. There needs to be a gap of sorts for the door to move into and out from when in everyday use, but there is a minimum limit allowed. If you can see daylight through any gap around the door, then you have a problem as this can allow smoke through, and this will need addressing immediately.
Intumescent Seals – There will be seals fitted in and around the fire door to prevent the spread of smoke, heat, and flames. These are intumescent seals specifically designed to expand and fill any gap around the door when exposed to direct heat. Over time these seals can be worn through use or damage and should be checked and maintained regularly. Any compromised seals should be immediately replaced.
Certification And Signage – All fire doors for commercial buildings should be properly certificated and display the relevant official signage. These should be labelling on the doors (often on the top or side) that authenticate the door as being appropriately fire proofed, rated, and tested. These commercial security doors should also carry relevant warning signage pertaining to fire exit routes and/or emergency lighting.