As a new facilities manager, tenant or property director - you may know that fire doors are important. But, what are fire doors and what do they do?
What are Fire doors?
Fire doors are specialized doors that are designed to prevent the spread of fire. They are typically made of materials such as steel or timber and are fitted with fire-resistant seals to help prevent smoke and flames from passing through the door. In buildings with a fire protection system, fire doors are typically used in conjunction with other fire safety features, such as fire sprinklers and smoke detectors, to help protect people and property in the event of a fire.
Why Are Fire Doors Important?
Fire doors are an important part of a building’s fire safety system because they can help to compartmentalize a building, which can slow the spread of fire and smoke. This can give people more time to evacuate the building, and can also help to prevent the fire from spreading to other parts of the building, reducing the overall damage caused by the fire. In addition, fire doors can provide a safe escape route for people who are trying to evacuate a building during a fire. By blocking the spread of fire and smoke, fire doors can help to protect both people and property in the event of a fire.
Regulations and Rules Surrounding Firedoors
In general, fire doors are subject to strict safety regulations and standards, regardless of where they are located. In the UK, these regulations are set by the government and enforced by local building authorities. whether you are a property manager, owner, office manager, or facilities director it is vital that you make sure your building fully complies with fire and safety regulations.
Fire Door Regulations
Domestic structures: Each door leading from a stairwell to a livable room in a home with three floors or more must be equipped with a fire door. Any door that connects a house to an attached garage must also be a fire door. Loft conversion doors ought to have fire doors as well.
Mixed-use: Any door separating a residential area from a commercial area in a building with mixed uses must be a fire door.
Commercial buildings: Each fire door in a structure must be constructed to provide a vertical or horizontal escape route. A vertical escape route points individuals in the direction of a stairwell. A horizontal escape route is a path that leads individuals to a floor’s fireproof space. Fire doors must be installed along this path.
Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
Following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 will make it a legal requirement from 23 January 2023 for responsible persons for all multi-occupied residential buildings in England with storeys over 11 metres in height to:
- undertake quarterly checks of all fire doors (including self-closing devices) in the common parts
- undertake – on a best endeavour basis – annual checks of all flat entrance doors (including self-closing devices) that lead onto a building’s common parts.
To ensure that fire doors are installed and maintained properly, it is important to consult with a qualified fire safety professional and follow all applicable rules and regulations.
Glossary of Fire Door Terms
Fire door: A type of door that is designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through a building.
Fire resistance: The ability of a building element, such as a door, to withstand the effects of fire for a specific period of time.
Fire rating: The length of time that a building element, such as a door, can withstand the effects of fire.
Self-closing: A feature of a fire door that causes it to automatically close when it is released from its fully open position.
Automatic closing device: A device, such as a door closer, that is designed to automatically close a fire door when it is released from its fully open position.
Smoke seal: A strip or gasket that is installed around the perimeter of a fire door to prevent the passage of smoke.
Intumescent seal: A type of seal that expands when exposed to heat, sealing gaps around a fire door to prevent the passage of smoke and flames.
Fire-rated hardware: Hardware, such as hinges, handles, and locks, that is designed to withstand the effects of fire and maintain the integrity of a fire door.
Fire door assembly: A complete fire door system that includes the door, frame, hinges, hardware, and other components.
Fire door inspection: A periodic inspection of a fire door to ensure that it is functioning properly and meeting the required fire resistance standards.
Fire door maintenance: Regular maintenance and upkeep of fire doors to ensure that they are in good condition and functioning properly.