Fire doors provide critical protection within a building, such as escape routes (stairs and corridors) and separate different fire hazards in a building. They ensure rooms are compartmented, helping keep fire and smoke in the area in which it starts and protecting occupants (and contents) elsewhere in the building.
Fire doors are an important part of a buildings passive fire protection system and are fundamental to the fire strategy for the building. The reliability and performance of correctly specified fire-resisting doors are often undermined by inadequate installation. It is important that installers with the necessary level of skill and knowledge are used. Accreditation schemes for installers of fire-resisting doors are available (see below). The failure of doors under fire conditions usually occurs either at the gap between the door and the frame, or at one or more of the points where hardware is fixed (particularly at the hinges or lock positions) or, in the case of glazed doors, at the line of the junction between the glazed area and the rest of the door. For this and other reasons, it is particularly important to ensure that fire doors installed on site conform, in dimensions and workmanship and to the manufacturer’s specification for the appropriate fire resistance test report or assessment. All fire doors should be clearly marked (usually on top of the door leaf) with their declared fire resistance period. Any fire-resisting glass should be identifiable on the glass itself with a permanent mark that provides the glass manufacturer’s name, product name and if required, it’s impact classification. Registers of approved fire door repairers/installers can be found via:
FDIS (Fire Door Inspection Scheme)
BWF (British Woodworking Federation)
BM TRADA Q-Mark Fire Door Installation scheme
IFC certification Ltd
Warrington fire UKAS Certifire list of certified companies
Fire doors are often located on a buildings normal circulation routes and are subject to normal wear and tear and damage caused by repeated use especially in highly trafficked areas. Damage to the door leaf, frame, hardware and fixings are common causing the door to fail to self-close resulting in a breach to the fire door barrier. Article 17 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that fire safety provisions are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. Good practice is to inspect fire-resisting doorsets on a six-monthly basis (or more frequently in highly trafficked areas) as part of a programme of planned preventive maintenance to ensure fire doors are maintained in good condition. In particular, it should be ensured that intumescent seals and cold smoke seals are undamaged, door leaves are not damaged or excessively bowed or deformed, gaps between the door leaf and the frame are 3mm ± 1mm and hinges, securing devices, self-closing devices and automatic release mechanisms are operating correctly. Additionally, it should be ensured fire doors are not prevented from closing in the event of a fire and should never be propped or wedged open. Staff should be encouraged to remove door wedges or obstructions and report any faults. Any fire doors which do not close positively, are damaged or found with missing equipment should be noted and repaired. It is important any damaged or missing intumescent strips and cold smoke seals are replaced for a like-for-like product. All fire doors (other than lift entrance doors) should be marked with the appropriate fire safety sign (shown below) according to whether the door is to be kept closed when not in use, to be kept locked when not in use or held open by an automatic release mechanism.