FIRE DOORS – THEIR NEED, THE PRODUCTS AND THEIR INSTALLATION REQUIREMENTS
Fire Doors their importance as a fire safety passive measure and what you should look for in the correct protection and installation requirements by competent fitters.
Fire doors form part of your buildings defences from fire, they also offer a way to protect escape routes if you ever need to escape in any emergency situation.
Fire doors, their locations, types and resistance rating are widely misunderstood, and their importance is critical to protecting escape routes and dividing buildings into fire compartments (similar to the way a submarine has water tight hatches throughout its length).
BUILDINGS FIRE STRATEGIES
The definition of a fire strategy is ‘the way a building operates under the condition of fire, it includes ‘passive measures i.e. fire doors, walls floors etc and active measure such as fire alarms emergency lighting etc. Every building should have a designed fire strategy and also a fire risk assessment. This is required by the Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005.
BUILDINGS WHERE FIRE DOORS ARE LOCATION
You will find fire doors located in:
Buildings where persons are employed to work
Buildings where members of the public will visit
Private housing (three storey and above).
The key is that a competent person should have identified specifically where the fire doors should be located to achieve that part of the fire strategy of the building.
Fire doors generally have a sign on them identifying they are fire doors and are signed either:
‘Fire door keep shut’.
‘Fire door keep locked’
There are generally two fire resisting standards of fire door:
30 - minute fire resisting (44mm thick)
All fire doors should now have combined heat and cold smoke seals fitted to either the door edges or within the frame/lining. These intumescent seals expand under an amount of heat and ‘pop’ to seal any gap between the door and frame to prevent the passage of fire and particularly smoke. These seals are vital to the safe operation of the fire door and should be kept maintained in good condition.
There should be no more than 3-4mm gap between the door and its frame/lining, 5mm at its head and 8-10mm at its base.
DOOR ASSEMBLY – DOOR SETS
A fire door assembly is one where the components may be supplied from alternative suppliers, a door-set is where all components are supplied from one source and the door and frame/lining are manufactured together and fitted prior to leaving the factory or prefabricators.
FIRE DOOR IRONMONGERY AND SELF CLOSERS
All handles locks hinges and self-closing device should be certified to British Standards. The hinges should also be installed with intumescent pads behind and there should be three hinges with the top two being within the top third of the door (as the weight of the door under fire conditions is taken at the top third).
All fire doors should be kept closed unless they are fitted with an approved hold open device such as a ‘dorgard’ or ‘swing-free’ closing device linked into the buildings fire alarm system.
All fire doors should meet BS 476 Pt. 22. The main third part accreditation organisation is the British Woodworking Federation (BWF). They manage and monitor the ‘certifier’ scheme for companies to register with. There is also the Fire door installation scheme (FDIS) where individuals take a diploma to be able to carry out fire door surveys and also to supervise fire door installation works.
INSTALLATION OF FIRE DOORS
All installations should be carried out by suitably qualified and experienced fitters. The code of practice for fire door installations is BS 8214 2017. (fire door assemblies). There are a number of companies claiming to be experienced fire door installers but following investigations have been found to lack the necessary skills, so be careful on your chosen installer.
Once completed your installation should be certified with a third party approved installer such as FIRAS which is the certifier certification scheme. Ensure there is an audit trail of where the doors and any ironmongery have been purchased from and the products certification. Any good and competent installer will issue these certs as a matter of course.
ROUTINE MAINTENANCE AND INSPECTIONS
All fire doors should be inspected on a 6 monthly bases and records kept of any issues raised and when those issues were resolved. Details can be logged in your fire safety log book kept on site.
Remember that fire doors can mean the difference between life and death and they will serve you well if they are installed and maintained correctly. Never wedge a fire door open and always ensure that they are maintained to close fully onto their rebates with good quality self-closers and seals to stop heat and smoke spread.
For further information, help and advice please do not hesitate to call one of our expert fire door engineers who will be only too happy to answer any questions you may have.
Follow this link to see first hand, how to install a door set (door and frame) in an exceptionally quick time, saving time and saving labour costs.