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Last edited 01 Aug 2018
Fire doors in buildings
Fire safety for building occupants is maintained through the provision of adequate means of escape in the event of a fire and by ensuring the fabric of a building does not contribute significantly to fire growth in the early stages following ignition.
A door or shutter, provided for the passage of persons, air or objects, which, together with its frame and furniture as installed in a building, is intended (when closed) to resist the passage of fire and/or gaseous products of combustion and is capable of meeting specified performance criteria to those ends. (It may have one or more leaves and the term includes a cover or other form of protection to an opening in a fire-resisting wall or floor, or in a structure surrounding a protected shaft.)
The performance required of fire doors in dwellinghouses is set out in Table B1 of Appendix B of Approved document B1, Fire Safety, Volume 1, Dwellinghouses.
- To maintain the integrity of means of escape in the event of a fire.
- To isolate areas within a building that represent a significant fire risk.
- To provide access through compartment walls.
Article 17 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that a maintenance regime is established to ensure equipment such as fire doors are kept in an efficient state and Article 18 requires that the responsible person appoints competent person(s) to assist in undertaking preventive and protective measures. This includes ensuring fire resisting doors and escape doors are correctly installed and maintained, with inspections carried out every 6 months.
In 2015, on their third anniversary, the FDIS reported that 61% of fire doors inspected had problems with fire or smoke seals, nearly a quarter had unsuitable hinges and many fire doors had bigger gaps between the door and frame than the required 3mm.
NB: On 16 May 2018, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire MP updated Parliament on the fire door investigation undertaken by the Grenfell Tower independent expert advisory panel following the Metropolitan Police discovery that a fire door installed at Grenfell Tower designed to resist fire for up to 30 minutes failed after just 15.
In July 2018, Brokenshire reported that fire doors from five suppliers had failed to meet fire performance standards, and suggested that this highlighted broader potential failings within the industry.
For more information see: Grenfell fire door investigation
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Automatic release mechanism.
- Grenfell fire door investigation.
- Fire compartment.
- Fire detection and alarm systems.
- Fire Door Inspection Scheme.
- Fire Doors (DG 524).
- Fire in buildings.
- Fire protection engineering.
- Fire resistance.
- Free-swing door closer.
- Hold-open device.
- Installing fire doors and doorsets (GG 86).
- Means of escape.
- Protected escape route.
- The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
- Types of door.
- Self-closing device.
- Width of doors stairs and escape routes.
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