What are Fire Doors?

what are fire doors

What are Fire Doors?

Fire doors are essential for passive fire protection of commercial buildings. In the event of a fire, fire doors are designed and manufactured to withstand the spread of fire and smoke alike.

Fire doors help establish safe escape routes and delay damage to the building. In this article, we will take a look at what a fire door is, how they work, and answer some common questions about fire doors in general.

Fire Doors – How Do They Work.
Fire doors only slow the spread when they are fully closed. Fire-resistant doors can be installed in a building’s interior or external walls to help compartmentalize the building.

Fire doors are essential for providing safe routes for people to exit the premises. They also offer the fire department and fire brigade additional time to reach the scene and get the fire under control.

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Types of Fire Doors.
Fire-rated doors can be custom-made to suit a specific application, whether it’s for a hospital, school, workplace, apartment complex, or retail store. The following are some of the most popular fire-rated doors that are available.

Glass fire doors with steel hinges. Hinged glass doors are aesthetically appealing and provide a crystal clear view. The steel frames are strong and long-lasting, and they may be made in a sleek profile to fit into modern architectural designs.

Glass fire doors with hinges made of aluminium. Hinged doors come in single or double leaf designs.

Sliding aluminium glass fire doors. Sliding fire doors are perfect for situations when space is limited. They can be designed as single or double leaf automatic doors.

Wooden fire doors. Timber fire-rated doors, including double action doors and automated sliding doors, may be specially designed to your requirements.

Fire doors – How they are made.
The door leaf, as well as the door frame and any associated hardware such as handles, locks, and vision panels, make up a fire door. Fire door sets are built of a variety of materials, the most common of which is aluminium.

single fire doorAluminium. This is a suitable option for doors that need to be light and for applications that need a high level of cleanliness. Doors that are installed in external walls benefit from weather protection provided by the aluminium.

Steel. Steel is robust, often outlasting the building in which it is installed. Steel not only has strong fire resistance, but it also has a high level of security.

Glass. Modern building designs that wish to maintain a high visual standard while following fire safety rules might benefit from fire rated glass doors.

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Fire Door Regulations.
According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all fire doors must meet strict standards. The complete door assembly, which includes the door frame and any related hardware, must be checked for compliance. Annual inspections of fire doors are required to ensure that they are always compliant with fire regulations.

Door assembly fire ratings.
structural adequacy: Structural elements can withstand a force in a fire. Doors do not have a number since they are not structural construction elements.
The integrity of a fire-rated door relates to how long it can withstand flames and smoke passing through it during a fire.

When a fire door is exposed to flames or heat, insulation stands for how long it takes for it to reach a critical temperature.

Fire doors with a rating of 60/60 for example, indicates the door passed the insulation and integrity tests for 60 mins. According to regulations, fire-rated doors must meet specific requirements for the type of building in which they are being installed.

Fire Door Questions & Answers.

Why are fire doors important?

Smoke has a greater impact on people than the fire itself. Because they can withstand smoke and fire, fire doors are a lifeline in the event of a fire. Smoke seals, for example, around the door edge and frame seal gaps to prevent smoke from coming in, preventing inhalation.

When exposed to heat, fire strips, called intumescent strips expand to several times their original size, which seals the gaps surrounding the door, thus containing the fire and smoke. They’re a critical component of your building’s fire safety strategy.

How long do fire doors keep fire and smoke at bay?

This is determined by the fire door rating, which specifies how long the door can withstand fire. The most common British Standard ratings (as stated in BS 476-22) require fire doors to provide fire resistance for 30 and 60 minutes, respectively.

fire door testHowever, you can get ratings that allow for up to 120 minutes of fire resistance, but the bare minimum is 30 minutes. The type of fire door that should be installed depends on the building’s architecture and the nature of its day-to-day operations.
It’s vital to realise, though, that fire doors aren’t indestructible. A fire door can only function well if it is kept shut, undamaged, and well maintained.

Can a fire door be kept open?

Fire-rated doors should always be closed to prevent it from spreading. Unless an automated closing system is fitted, most fire doors stay closed at all times. Fire-rated doors should not be propped open by anything, such as a doorstop or an obstacle as this will compromise their capacity to protect a building and its people in the event of a fire.

In situations when there is a high volume of traffic, automatic fire doors may be preferable. A magnetic mechanism is commonly used to keep automatic fire doors open. A fire alarm system or smoke detection device will signal the door to close automatically in the event of a fire. No obstructions must be put in front of the door at any time, allowing it to close and lock as needed.


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Is it okay to paint a fire door?
Fire safety doors are available in a variety of finishes, including MDF face and PLY face, both of which can be painted. Among the other options are:

  • Decorative bolection moulding

     

  • Completly capped galvanised faced

     

  • Completly capped stainless steel faced
  • Capped all-round colourbond faced

     

  • Capped at head galvanised faced

     

  • Capped at head stainless steel

     

  • Veneers (decorative)

     

  • Capped at head colourbond faced
fire door hardware

Are fire doors a legal requirement?
This is determined by a variety of factors, including the building’s type or class. If you have a fire door in your property, it must comply with fire door regulations. 

The list of essential safety measures and kinds of maintenance required will be published with the Certificate of Final Inspection if the building was built or renovated after July 1, 1994.

Although there will be no occupancy permit in existence if the building was built before July 1, 1994, the owner is still responsible for ensuring that any safety equipment, safety fittings, or safety measures are maintained and function properly.

How often must fire doors be serviced?
Fire door maintenance/inspection is recommended every six months by British Standards (namely BS 8214 and BS 9999). However, the best course of action is to have a risk-assessed recommendation that is customized especially to your building requirements. For example, your business may get more foot traffic than others, necessitating more regular inspections.

During your Fire Risk Assessment, your Fire Risk Assessor will advise you how often your fire doors should be maintained.

Following the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017, several repair initiatives and inquiries into passive and active fire prevention are underway around the United Kingdom. Following one building surveyor’s findings, the Fire Industry Association highlighted a significant lack of maintenance records, missing or incorrect fire escape signage, and even instances where fire doors had been locked or had the intumescent seals painted over, rendering them useless.

As a result, if you don’t examine your fire doors on a regular basis, they might become entirely useless without your knowing. Just because fire doors are installed doesn’t guarantee they’re in good functioning order; they, like anything else, require regular maintenance.

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) click here.
If you would like to arrange a free fire risk consultation, contact us

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

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