Last edited 14 Jan 2018

Fire doors in buildings

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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.

Approved document B, Fire Safety, Volume 2, Buildings other than dwellinghouses, defines a fire door as:

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 different circumstances is set out in Table B1 of Appendix B to the Approved document, 'Provisions for fire doors'.

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.

According to BRE's Installing fire doors and doorsets (GG 86), fire doors serve three main purposes:

  • 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.

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