A Guide to Fire Door Regulations for Commercial or Industrial Properties

A Guide to Fire Door Regulations for Commercial or Industrial Properties

Property owners in the UK are legally obligated to install fire doors in all premises except private homes to prevent the spreading of fire and ensure that people can exit safely. Fire doors that are not properly installed can become ineffective within five minutes, endangering property and lives. To help property owners meet this requirement, we have put together this comprehensive guide detailing all the necessary information for installing fire doors correctly, including relevant fire door regulations.

Fire Doors – What are They?

A fire door is a critical component of a larger system designed to help quickly contain a fire. When properly installed and maintained, it can help impede the spread of smoke and flames between two rooms for an extended period of time. This gives people inside the building more time to evacuate safely. Fire drill training course

In order to be classed as an emergency door, it must satisfy all fire safety regulations and standards established by the local fire code or the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Fire rated hardware and frame.
  • Automatic Fire rated door closer
  • The door must endure extreme heat for either 60-120 minutes.

Fire Door vs Regular Door

Regular doors are intended to create divisions between rooms, block sound, and keep out unwanted intruders. Fire doors however, are specifically engineered with fire-resistant ratings that can help prevent the spreading of flames and smoke in a building.


Identifying a Fire Door

One of the best ways is to look for the mandated signage, typically a sticker (blue) with white text that reads ‘keep shut – Fire door’

Fire safety hardware is essential for ensuring safe exit from a building in the event of a fire. Intumescent Seals are an essential element, as they prevent the spread of fire.

The door should close automatically and securely from a partially open position, and any hardware must be fire-rated and must not lock from the outside. Hinges must be made from steel, be fire resistant, and the opening should be installed with a fire-resistant sill made from a substance such as stone which is not flammable.

Fire doors should also feature fire-resistant steel frames, and the gap between the fire door and its frame at the head and stiles must not exceed 3mm, with the clearance between the fire door and the finished floor being between 3mm and 10mm.


Wooden fire doors
Wooden fire doors, usually composed of a solid centre of timber, magboard, particleboard or flaxboard, with various reinforcement methods applied. These methods include using a timber frame with an outer laminate, directly gluing plywood to the centre without a frame, or adding a lipping along the edge of the core with a layer of veneer. 

Prehung fire doors
Installing pre-hung fire doors can be a great way to cut time and costs on major construction projects. These doors come with the frame and architraves already attached, making them easy to fit once all the construction has been completed. Not only does this save time, it also helps to reduce the risk of damage to the door, helping you meet fire safety standards.

Double fire doors
Double fire doors must comply with either BS 476-22:1987 or BS EN 1634-1:2014 standards in order to ensure maximum safety and protection. These two-way swing doors are ideal for larger buildings with high occupancy, as they provide a greater degree of security than single fire doors.

These types of doors offer superior protection against fire, smoke, and security threats when compared to non-metal doors. They are capable of providing up to four hours of protection. This is compared to the thirty to sixty minutes offered by doors that are not made from metal.

This fire protection is verified through testing procedures specified in BS 476-22:1987 or BS EN 1634-1:2014.

Steel fire doors are also more managable to maintan and incredibly durable, making them ideal for use in high-traffic areas such as kitchens, hospitals, and other industries that demand a high level of hygiene.

Glass fire doors
Pyropanel glass doors are quickly becoming increasingly popular as an option for internal doors that meet fire safety regulations, because of their more attractive appearance compared to steel or wooden fire doors.

All glass fire doors must use fire-rated glass, which has been tested and approved to act as a barrier against flames and smoke. Some fire-rated glass also serves as a heat barrier.

Fire rated glass is capable of withstanding temperatures far greater than normal glass, up to 900°C. This is of particular importance when it comes to commercial property fires, which may reach temperatures of 600°C or more. To ensure that your fire doors abide by safety regulations, it is essential that they are fitted with fire rated glass.

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Fire Door: The Ratings

Emergency exit doors are designed to withstand fire and stay cool for a certain period of time. For example, 60-30 unit can protect against fire for half an hour, while staying cool for an additional 30 minutes. This dash (-) indicates the door is not weight bearing and provides insulation from fire.

The fire resistance of a door is determined by testing and rating its structural adequacy, integrity, and insulation. These ratings show how much time the door can support a load, withstand flames, and prevent a rise in heat.

The two forms of fire doors:

Sole Occupancy: 1 hr rated. and Common Property: 2 hr rated.

In order to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, fire doors must be certified by an accredited testing authority.

Fire Door Regulations.

External & internal fire door regulations: An outside fire door can be classified as a fire door as long as it adheres to the regulations. These regulations include clear signage and a way of opening the door from inside the building. This should be included in a comprehensive fire safety plan. 

The external fire door doesnt need to be fire proof like an internal fire door, which is designed to compartmentalize a building to provide an escape route in the event of a fire for the duration specified in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

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Fire Door Maintenance – How often?

Fire doors must be inspected at regular intervals by a profesional in accordance with Building Codes. Generally, these inspections should occur at the intervals below:

  •  6 months. Common Property Doors.
  •  12 months. Sole Occupancy Unit Doors.

You should verify what regulations your local council has in place concerning buildings, as the rules might be different based on your location.

Who is a Qualified Person?

A qualified person for fire safety work is one who has obtained a permit from a local government.  fire risk assessments

Who is Responsible?

Employers must guarantee that the workplace environment for their staff does not create a substantial risk of harm. If they do not adhere to this obligation, Occupational Health Services can take action through filing a complaint, conducting an inspection, and/or initiating legal proceedings. Who is responsible for fire safety in the workplace

The installation of emergency exit doors is the responsibility of:

  • A person who offers accommodation for a fee.
  • A voluntary or charity sector.
  • A contractor.
  • A person with a business, or an employer with premises.

Regulations for Installation

By law, theres no need for a specific qualification or certification for the fitting of emergency doors. However, even a tiny gap or crevice between the frame and door, seal or glass can make the emergency door ineffective and unable to meet safety standards like BS 476-22:1987 or BS EN 1634-1:2014. It is therefore, recommended to hire a competent and experienced specialist to guarantee that the emergency door is installed correctly.

Fire door regulations: Frame
For optimal fire protection, it is recommended to purchase a certified fire door frame from a door supplier or a business that is licensed to make them. If fitting a new frame is not an option, intumescent seals may be used to fill the gap of no more than 3mil.

Fire door regulations: Maintenance
Emergency doors should be maintained and inspected at regular intervals in order to ensure that they are functioning properly. For commercial buildings, inspections should occur every six months. However, industrial and residential properties should take place annually.

Fire Doors: UK standards
The design and installation of components used in walls must be met in order to comply with either BS 476-22:1987 or BS EN 1634-1:2014. These standards provide the specifications that must be met in order for fire doors to be effective shold a fire break out. They must be tested in a prototype setting to ensure they meet these standards.

Fire Exit Doors and Fire Doors. Whats The Difference?

Most doors labeled as “fire doors” are actually fire exits, which are subject to regulations regarding their use in emergency situations. These doors feature push handles, allowing them to be operated as regular entrances and exits when the building is functioning normally. However, in order to be used as fire exits, they must be opened using the push bar handles.

Fire Door Regulations: Conclusion

Having gained an understanding of the fire door regulations in the UK, there should be no difficulty adhering to the guidelines when it comes to ensuring your commercial property is up to code.

To ensure that your building remains safe, you must read all of the approved documents from the UK government’s website. Doing so will help you avoid any potential oversights and protect the people in your building.



If you would like to arrange a free fire risk consultation, drop us a message here

My Fire Safety. Co-Space, 25 Town Square,
Stevenage, SG1 1BP. 0800 999 11 25

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