When Are Fire Doors Required?
Fire doors form an essential part of passive fire protection in any commercial building as they help to hold back a fire. This is useful for two reasons, the first is that it can protect evacuation routes, allowing for people to avoid areas where the fire is present and exit the building. Secondly, where people are trapped in a building, fire doors can help hold back the path of a fire, allowing enough time for rescue services to arrive and tackle the blaze or remove people from the building.
Fire doors will often be made of a number of materials, including timber, steel and gypsum, in order to create a barrier to a fire. They also come with additional features such as intumescent seals, smoke seals and fire-resistant glazing.
This month, we’ll outline which regulations fire doors fall under, how to check them and the services we offer at City Fire Protection to help you with your fire door requirements.
Fire door regulations
Commercial and non-domestic buildings are required by law to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – or RRO as it’s sometimes known. This requirement falls to building managers and owners to ensure fire safety principles are upheld to protect people and assets.
These requirements set out that a building should have “appropriate means of escape in case of fire”, which is where fire doors can be utilised. How many doors and the level of resistance will be down to the size and nature of the building. A small building with a simple escape route may have no need for doors, while other buildings – particularly where larger or taller – will require a certain number and arrangement of fire doors.
The required performance and fire rating of doorsets are set-out in The Building Regulations 2010, specifically Approved Document B, Appendix C: Fire doorsets. The required fire resistance of a door is dependant on the position of a door in a building, taking into account things such as whether it is fitted in a compartment wall separating buildings, for example. Table C1 of Appendix C details these provisions and the required fire performance. The most common ratings are FD30 and FD60, giving 30 minutes and 60 minutes fire resistance respectively. Where the fire rating has the suffix S – in the case of FD30S and FD60S – those doorsets should have cold smoke seals and intumescent strips incorporated into the assembly.
For the installation of timber-based fire doors assemblies, there is the British Standard BS 8214 to ensure they are correctly fitted from the beginning, while we also ensure our fire doors meet BS 476-22 for compliance with fire rests and resistance.
How to check fire doors
The building owner or manager must satisfy the regulations when it comes to fire doors, which means checking periodically that fire doors are in the right condition and meet the standards set out by law, but how can you do that?
A fire inspection from a professional engineer can provide you with details of whether your doors meet the right standards and give you peace of mind that they will perform properly to help save lives.
There are also a number of visual checks you can also do yourself to ensure the fire doors in your building are in good condition, including checking the certification of a door, checking that the gaps around fire doors are less than 4mm, checking for any damage to the doorsets and hinges and ensuring doors are never wedged open so that they can close properly and smoothly.
The government’s advice to building owners – released back in 2018 (updated in 2019) – is to consult their fire risk assessment to know if their doors meet the current standards. While an FRA will involve an assessor checking a sample of your fire doors, checking inspection and maintenance records, it should be noted this is not a full inspection. Depending on the detail of the records and the result of the sampled doors, a fire door survey might then be recommended.
How City Fire can help
If you’re a building manager or owner and you’d like to arrange a fire risk assessment – including advice on fire doors – City Fire Protection can help. We also supply and install internal timber fire doors to the correct British Standards outlined in this article, with fire resistance of 30 to 120 minutes available to meet the differing complexities found in commercial premises. We even offer fire door inspection services for your commercial fire doors to help you protect people and assets.
Wherever you’re based in London, Croydon or the surrounding areas, look no further for your fire door experts. Contact us today or use our quick quote form to tell us what you’re looking for.