A Comprehensive Guide on Fire Door Regulations
Fire breakouts are a nightmare for building owners. That is why many people take the necessary steps to protect their houses or business premises against fire. We all know a fire can start from any part of the building and spread. With the many electronic appliances we have in the buildings, a small glitch can set the building ablaze.
What Are Fire Doors?
Fire doors are designed to resist fire and prevent the flames from getting to the rest of the building. When open, fire doors provide an escape route. A fire door works best in a compartmentalised structure by sealing off the flames and smoke fumes from burning down the entire building. With the numerous benefits of fire doors, it is unfortunate that people fail to install and maintain the doors. The existence of fire door regulations in flats provides guidance on maintenance to avoid injuries in case of a fire. o you know the regulations surrounding fire doors? The following guide gives you insights on fire door regulations for businesses and homeowners, and how to implement the rules.
Why Are Fire Doors Regulated?
Fire doors provide a passive form of protection since you do not need to switch it on or off. Therefore, they need regular maintenance to ensure they are functioning at an optimum level. For instance, if you do not adhere to fire door hinges regulations, the door may not be effective in sealing off smoke fumes. The regulations ensure any potential issues are addressed to mitigate risks. Besides, fire doors are part of the building and must meet the necessary structural obligation. Some of the functional requirements include ventilation, safety glazing, and thermal efficiency.
What Is the Impact of Grenfell Disaster on the Regulations?
The Grenfell disaster was a horrifying fire incident that occurred in the UK, and many steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence of the event. Here are some of the impacts the disaster had on the regulations.
The government has updated the standard for measuring the performance of the fire doors. After Grenfell, the government evaluated the manufacturing and performance capabilities of various entries. The results were wanting. The recommendation was that building owner should update the fire doors if they are not performing well. The government insisted on adherence to building regulations and regular assessments to identify gaps in fire protection. Several doors failed the furnace test, and the companies were told to identify the problems that occurred. There are a lot of risks associated with failed fire doors, and some composite doors protect for a short time. Building owners need to be vigilant in fire protection efforts to ensure their employers and guests are safe.
What Are the Current Fire Door Regulations?
Fire doors must adhere to European standards, or the BS EN 1634 code of practice. European Standards cover testing for fire resistance as well as outbreaks of smoke. A test is only carried out on a completed doorset, for instance, the door, its frame and its features (such as locks, hinges, latches, etc.). These tests will then determine the rating of the fire door which are specified using the prefix ‘FD’ and by the amount of time it takes for the integrity and stability of the door to diminish. For example, a door might last for 30 minutes before its integrity and stability is compromised, therefore, we’d then rate the door as ‘FD30’. Below is a full list of the types of fire door ratings you might find:
- FD30 – Will provide protection of 30 minutes
- FD60 – Will provide protection of 60 minutes
- FD120 – Will provide protection of 120 minutes
- FD240 – Will provide protection of 240 minutes
- FD360 – Will provide protection of 360 minutes
Fire door regulations are different in new and existing buildings. There are also different specifications for domestic, commercial, and mixed-use properties buildings.
We manufacture all of our fire doors to withstand fire for over 360 minutes
Regulation in New Buildings
In the UK, buildings under construction or existing building under remodelling must meet the basic requirements stipulated in the Approved Documents. The laws dictate the minimum requirements for a door to work efficiently. They include ventilation, sound, safety glazing, thermal efficiency, and fire safety. The most critical regulation concerning fire doors is Approved Document B, which deals with fire safety. First of all, fire doors are mandatory in every new building to seal off sections of the building. However, before installation, the doors must meet the stipulated standards set by the authorities. To ascertain compliance, the fire door must pass an independent fire test and receive certification.
Regulatory Reforms in Existing Buildings
As the owner of the building or the person in charge, you should undertake a fire assessment on an existing building. You should also check on the functionality of the fire doors. Are the seals worn out? Did the hinges adhere to the fire door hinges regulation? Wear and tear on the seals, and loose hinges need immediate attention. The door should also close automatically. Therefore, you should ensure it has enough space to swing. If your building does not have fire doors, you should consider installing them. Remember that existing buildings are subject to Regulatory Reforms Order 2005 with regard to fire safety unlike new buildings, which adhere to Building Regulations.
Fire Door Regulations for Businesses
Any premises used for business purposes must abide by the fire safety law under the Regulatory Reform on fire safety order 2005. The adherence to the regulation is the responsibility of the owner, employer, landlord, and an occupier. Every commercial building must have a designated individual to act as a responsible person. The role of the owner or employer is to take necessary measures to prevent injury due to fire. Therefore, the person needs to conduct a risk assessment and ensure that fire safety measures are in place. Fire safety equipment also needs maintenance regularly, and it is their job to look into it. They should also be ready with a safety plan in case of a fire outbreak.
Commercial properties have unique fire regulations that should be followed to ensure safety. Regular assessments should be documented appropriately in accordance with the law. Businesses should have interior and exterior fire doors to prevent the spread of fire throughout the premises and to neighbouring properties. Interior doors close automatically when a fire is detected. Therefore, they delay the spread of fire and smoke through the corridors and the stairwell. The exterior fire doors need to be heat resistant and allow easy escape. All the doors installed must have a certification to ensure optimal performance.
Fire door regulations for businesses stipulate that the fire doors need regular inspection and repairs done quickly. Doors deteriorate over time, and at some point, you may need to replace it for adequate protection. Our maintenance services provide you with the assurance that fire doors on your commercial property will meet all fire door regulations in accordance to British and European fire safety standards.
If you follow the fire door regulations for businesses keenly, you will be ready for any emergencies and protect your business from losses.
Fire Door Regulations in Flats and Residential Properties
Our homes are prone to fire accidents. Therefore, you need to be vigilant in integrating fire safety measures. However, do you need a fire door? Yes, you do, for your safety, but it is not mandatory. However, if you are undertaking a significant remodel, building regulations will dictate the terms.
According to building regulations, you need a fire door if you are building a new house of more than three storeys. The fire doors can be installed off the stairwell. If the house has two storeys with one door leading to the garage, you need to install a fire door. Building regulations will also help you to adhere to the safety stipulations. In some cases, a building inspector will visit your property to confirm compliance. They will check if fire door signs regulations are adhered to, among others. This ensures protection in case of a fire incident. It also protects your neighbours from injury in case the fire spreads to their building.
Existing buildings do not need to install fire doors unless there is a significant renovation underway. Remember to check approval or certification from a trusted testing authority before purchase.
With many people residing in rental properties, it is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure the tenants are safe. Therefore, the building should be compartmentalised. That way, each flat stands on its own, and in the event of a fire accident, the flames will not spread beyond the affected unit. Any gaps leading to other apartments should be sealed off. Likewise, every residence should have a fire door. The fire door regulations in flats dictate that the doors should be tested and certified. An efficient fire door must have a self-closing mechanism. During installation, ensure the entry has intumescent strips and smoke seals. The property owner needs to conduct a regular assessment to determine the efficiency of the doors.
Fire Door Closers Regulations
A fire door is not just about the door. It only serves its purpose when it is correctly fitted with its hinges, frame, and closer. Therefore, do not make the mistake of installing a fire door and using the hinges from your regular door. The fire door hinges regulations should help you to know the right hinges for your fire door. Otherwise, the smoke will pass through the gaps within ten minutes of the fire.
In the past, fire door closers regulations required all doors to be fitted with self-closing devices to close the door tightly. However, the law was relaxed due to the nuisance the closers caused. Door closers are important in preventing smoke from spreading to other rooms in the property. The fire door closers regulations stipulate that the closers must be fitted to all fire doors in commercial buildings. In residential properties, the rooms on the second floor require closers.
Apart from the closers, homeowners should fit the fire doors with an intumescent strip. This seal keeps smoke in the rooms and prevents the fumes from spreading. Fire rated latches and locks are also a feature for both residential and commercial fire doors. Latches and locks are essential to most doorsets and so also need to be fire rated.
Fire Door Hinges Regulations
Fire doors are heavy and meant to withstand high temperature. Therefore, the hardware you use should be able to withstand the heat and weight of a fire door. A standard hinge will wear out fast trying to hold the weight of the fire door and closers. Fire regulation states hinges should be able to hold the weight of the door plus be heat resistant for predetermined times and withstand temperatures of up to 800 degrees centigrade. Standard hinges will melt within five minutes of a fire outbreak rendering the fire doors useless. You need a hinge made from thick steel and a large hinge area for additional strength. The right quality fire door hinge can withstand dangerous fire situations. According to fire door hinges regulations, poor fitting of the door hinges increases unwanted movement meaning the risk of toxic smoke spreading from room to room is increased.
Fire Door Signs Regulations
The fire door signs regulations state that every fire door must have signage. That means you need to label all the fire doors in the commercial building. Labels should appear on both sides of the entries in bold writing. Fire exit doors allow occupants of the property to exit without having to unlock the door should a fire break out. Fire door signs regulations also recommend providing useful instructions to the guests in the building. You can inform people to stay away from the door or to keep them closed at all times. A map on the doors will be a great save lives during an emergency. Those panicking can find their way to the fire rendezvou point easily.
How Are Fire Doors Tested?
During the fabrication of fire doors, the manufacturers must have the doors tested by an independent lab to determine its fire rating. The test involves exposing the door to high temperatures and recording its stability. If a door cracks during testing, it means the materials used in its manufacture are non-resistant to heat. It discredits the integrity of a fire door. If the door collapses, it fails its stability test. The rating is usually awarded depending on the performance in the stability and integrity test. Fire doors that pass the test get a certification. Our bespoke door fabrication allows us to test our doors for the major fire ratings including FD30, FD60 up to FD360.
Concerned about the safety of fire doors at your place of work?
Our fire rated doors are fabricated to the highest levels and are fire rated to FD 360 as standard.
This means the door will protect from fire and smoke for up to 360 minutes.
To read more about the specifications and benefits of our fabricated steel visit our range of fire doors.
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