We are Fire doors specialists in supplied and fitting doors.
What is a fire door?
How do fire doors work?
In brief, fire doors are there to save lives. They can vary greatly in design but all serve the same purpose of preventing loss of life and property in the event of a fire. Their construction enables buildings to compartmentalise and delay the spread of fire from one area to another. The two most important functions of a fire door are that, when closed, they can form a barrier to stop the spread of fire but, when opened, they can provide a means of escape. A well designed fire door will delay the spread of fire and smoke without causing too much hindrance to the movement of people and goods. The most common categories of fire doors are FD30 and FD60 fire doors which offer 30 and 60 minutes fire protection respectively.
Fire doors also contain several clever features to help them in their function:
Solid Timber Frame
The door itself is usually made from a solid timber frame and sometimes they are covered in fire-resistant glass for additional safety. This glass is made to be able to withstand exposure to heat in a fire test for at least 60 minutes before the temperature gets too high and the material begins to soften.
Edge Intumescent seal doors
Around the edges of the door will be something called the intumescent seal. This seal is designed to expand when temperatures reach beyond 200°C. Through this, the door helps to provide a seal for the gaps between the door and doorframe.
Threshold seals are also another helpful feature of fire doors. They are located at the bottom of the door and they seal under the door to prevent the flow of smoke and fire.
How are fire doors constructed?
FD30 (30 minutes) fire doors are usually 44/45mm thick whereas a standard door thickness is 35/40 mm.FD60 (60 minute) fire doors are the most commonly used in commercial settings and they are normally 54mm thick. Specially constructed fire doors can have a rating of 4 hours or more.
Most fire doors have a solid core construction. Popular materials include particleboard, flaxboard, magboard and solid timber.
The assembly of a fire door can vary greatly. One example of fire door construction is timber framing around a core of a laminated veneer. Others may have a lipping, which is 5-20mm thick, around the core with a veneer on top. However, there is no preferred construction method, as long as the desired fire rating is achieved.
When are fire doors required?
Fire doors are required in almost every building in the UK. The requirements, ratings, and locations of the fire doors varies depending on the type of building and its fire risk assessment. For private premises, it is advised to install fire doors where the risk is most imminent. This could be the kitchen or rooms which house a lot of electrical devices. If your property is a new build, it should have been subject to regulations ensuring certain doors are fire doors. In domestic homes more than two storeys high, there must be a fire door separating the stairwell and every habitable room. This includes all rooms on all levels. For mixed use buildings, the business and residential sections must be separated by fire doors.
The guidance for non-domestic is a lot more complex. In addition to horizontal and vertical escape routes, all fire doors in non-domestic buildings are required to have the correct signage on both signs to indicate it is a fire door. You can read more about non-domestic regulations on gov.uk.
Fire door maintenance
Due to their importance in protecting lives and property, it is imperative that fire doors receive regular inspections and maintenance. The frequency of this maintenance depends on a variety of different factors, including the age and condition of the door. It has been suggested that a minimum six month inspection is needed. If you own a commercial or non-domestic property, there are strict regulations and guidelines to follow, ensuring the doors can withstand certain heats. Fire doors should always be fitted correctly by a competent installer, as they’re a carefully engineered fire safety device. Likewise, if you are a landlord, you have a responsibility, under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 (FSO), to ensure your properties and tenants are safe. A landlord is viewed as the ‘responsible person’ and thus has a legal responsibility to their tenants, meaning can be criminally prosecuted if they do not fulfill their duties.
Five step fire door check:
If you suspect a building you’re in has a faulty fire door, don’t walk on by. Report it. You could save a life.
Look for a label or plug on top or sides of the door.1. Look for a label or plug on top or sides of the door.
Check the gaps around the top and sides of the door. Make sure they are consistently less than 4mm when the door is closed.
Check the intumescent seals around the door frame, make sure there’s no sign of damage.
Check all the hinges are firmly fixed and that there are no missing or broken screws.
Check the door closes firmly on a latch without sticking on the floor or the frame.