Fire doors play an essential role in fire safety, and as such they are a legal requirement in ALL non-domestic properties. They are also requirements to install a fire door in certain domestic situations. In order to ensure that your fire door is operating as it should be, as well as complying with all fire safety regulations, we have compiled answers to some of your most frequently asked fire door questions.
1. What is a fire door?
A fire door creates a barrier which resists the development of a fire. They are designed to withstand and hold back fire, heat and smoke for a stated period of time. This is vital in two circumstances and can help to isolate a fire to a specific room to prevent the spread of fire and smoke to other areas. They can also act as a vital barrier to stop the spread of smoke and heat into a room which you are in. This will assist the emergency services, including the fire brigade – in helping make rescues, and to isolate and neutralise a fire.
2. Where should fire doors be fitted?
The regulations require that a building is divided into compartments, protecting escape routes, such as corridors and staircases. In domestic dwellings above two levels, every door leading to the stairwell (at all levels) must be a fire door, where the door leads to a habitable room. (i.e not a bathroom or w/c). Fire doors are also required in loft conversions; between house and integral garage; and between the business and residential elements in a mixed-use building. For non-domestic buildings, guidance is divided into two sections based on horizontal and vertical escape routes.
3. What is the difference between an FD30 & FD60 fire door?
Fire door ratings are stated in minutes and reflect the number of minutes of resistance to fire, smoke and heat.
FD30 provides 30 minute’s resistance.
FD60 provides 60 minute’s resistance.
4. Do Fire Doors have to be CE marked?
Internal doors / doorsets do not have to be CE marked at present but will be required when the harmonised standard for doorsets (EN 16034) comes into force.
5. How often do you need to inspect fire doors?
BS9999 recommends six monthly inspections and includes guidance on some of the main inspection criteria, but you are responsible for ensuring an adequate inspections and maintenance routine is in place.
6. Should fire doors have a self-closer device?
Yes, all dedicated fire doors, other than those to locked cupboards and service ducts, should be fitted with fire door closers.
7. Can you have glazed fire doors?
Yes, you can but any glass needs to be of the right type. If a glass panel is part of a fire door, a special glazed glass needs to be used. This is to ensure consistency in the doors ability to guard against fire.
8. Do you need door seals?
Yes, these are designed to expand under heat to shut of all gaps in your doors thereby preventing the passage of smoke and fire to other parts or compartments of the building.
9. Can I cut my fire door to size?
A fire door can only be trimmed by the amount permitted on the manufacturers fitting instructions and fire door certificate. Resizing doors outside of the limitations set on the fire door certificate invalidates certification and may compromise safety.
10. Is it OK to fit a roller bolt catch to a fire door?
The Code of Practice covering door hardware for Fire and Escape Doors states in reference to roller bolt catches:
This form of latch cannot be relied upon to give a retaining action and indeed can actually prevent a door from closing fully in to the frame. Their use on fire resisting doors is therefore NOT recommended. It should be noted that some latches, where withdrawal of the latch is via a handle/turn, use a roller rather than a bevelled bolt. Such devices can provide a positive retention of the door leaf but it is important to ensure that the rollers of such devices are made of a material high enough melting point (greater than 800C, or 900C for steel doors over 90 minutes resistance) to meet fire test requirements.
11. Are concealed, uncontrolled door-closers suitable for fire doors?
Approved Document B (ADB) covers defines a self-closing device in Appendix E. This definition would cover a controlled CE marked closer but any uncontrolled jamb-mounted closer would be unlikely to comply. If the latch rests against the strike, it is probable that there would not be sufficient strength in the device to push the door home into the frame. A closer tested to EN 1154 is usually at its strongest in this position, and would usually have little trouble in pushing the door over a latch from a standing start. This is why the Code of Practice: Hardware for Fire and Escape Doors says ADB’s requirements are not met by uncontrolled jamb door closers.
12. Which fire doors are compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)?
A DDA fire door must provide a minimum width of 900mm clearance and have suitably placed vision panels.
13. How heavy are fire doors?
Our 45 mm fire door will be approx 50kg.
14. Where is signage required?
Correct signage is required on all fire doors installed in non-domestic buildings. Signs should be put on both sides of the door and must clearly indicate that the door is a fire door and any further instructions required such as “Keep Closed” or “Keep Locked”. Standard signs are generally available from re door stockists.
15. Finally do fire doors have to look boring?
Thankfully fire doors do not have to look functional or boring. All of our internal doors can be made into fire doors, we also have glazed fire doors available.