Fire doors are a passive fire protection measure we’re all familiar with. Designed to help contain the spread of fire and smoke within a building and give occupants a means of escape, they are a hugely important safety feature in any commercial property. Not only do fire doors themselves need to be up to regulation but routine fire door inspection and maintenance should be at the top of any building manager’s priority list. Failure to adhere to fire safety regulations under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 could land you in legal hot water and put tenants at risk.
How is a fire door different from a normal door?
Fire doors must conform to the highest fire safety standards and are given an ‘FD’ rating as to the length of time that they are able to withstand fire. This commonly ranges from FD30 (30 minutes) to FD120 (120 minutes), although some steel fire doors can provide protection for up to 4 hours. It’s not just the door itself which must meet the necessary safety standards. The entire fire door set – including the door surround, hinges, seals, handles and any glazed panels – should also be up to regulation.
Any problems with the door or its fixings could mean it will not be as effective as it should be in the event of a fire. Fire doors should be inspected at least every six months to ensure they are fit for purpose.
What to check for when inspecting a fire door
The door: look for a certification (CE) mark, often located on the top or side of the door. This will tell you that the door has received third-party fire door certification. There are still buildings with old fire doors that may not be up to standard anymore, so you need to be thorough with your inspections.
Hinges: fire doors are heavy, so check that the hinges holding the door in place are in good working order. Any damage or loose fixings need to be addressed quickly.
The door surround: look for any damage or cracks around the frame and how well the door sits within the surround. If you can see daylight around the edges, that needs to be corrected. Gaps will allow smoke and fire to spread, so need to be kept to a minimum – that’s less that 4mm along the edges and up to 8mm at the base of the fire door.
Handles: handles get a lot wear and tear, and could be crucial in enabling tenants to escape an emergency, so you need to ensure they are still securely fixed to the door and in good working order.
Closing mechanism: fire doors are designed to close by themselves, so you need to make sure that they close smoothly and fully. Any issues with this will leave gaps through which fire and smoke could pass.
Intumescent seals: these are the seals that run around the edge of the door or frame and are designed to expand when exposed to heat. Their purpose is to close any gaps and thereby help stop the spread of heat and flames, so any damage you notice during your fire door inspection needs to be rectified.
If you’re responsible for fire safety in your building, you need to ensure that fire door inspections are carried out regularly and properly. If you don’t have the expertise to do this yourself, it’s time to call in the fire door specialists.
Fire door inspection, maintenance and installation experts
As experienced third-party accredited fire stopping contractors, the Groom Property Fire Door team have the expertise to help you keep your tenants safe and your property up to regulation. Our accreditations include the BM TRADA Fire Door Maintenance Scheme, the BM TRADA Fire Stopping Installation Scheme, the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS), DoorCheck and the National Association of Fire Door Inspectors (NAFDI), which means you can rest assured your property is in the very best hands.
For professional fire door installation and maintenance that gives you peace of mind, find out more about our fire stopping services in South and West Wales, the South West and London and the South East of England on 01269 841416 or email: info@groompropertymaintenance.