What Goes on Behind Closed Fire Doors?
16th September 2019
With Fire Door Safety Week right around the corner, we thought that now would be the perfect time to talk about the importance of fire doors for any building project and how our professionals at MacConvilles can help you.
Do You Know Where Your Fire Doors Are?
Chances are, you will come across fire doors every single day, both at home, work and when out and about, but when was the last time you gave them a second glance? You might not have registered the doors you walk through every day even have a purpose in an emergency situation. However, these doors could very well be the difference between life and death in a fire.
It is important these doors are never propped open or obstructed, since their fire-proof nature will help to contain a fire in one room.
Equally, they are an important means of escape should you ever discover a fire in the building.
Unlike a typical door, fire doors represent a much more complex operation for construction contractors. Their importance in fire safety means they should be specified, fitted and maintained correctly. It is not just a case of choosing the right door for the job – they need to be considered from the outset, as each building is compartmentalised at the planning stages, in order to ensure it is always possible to delay the spread of a fire. Fire doors are required by la
w and are an essential addition to any building.
Building Regulations for Fire Doors
It is not enough to simply have a few fire doors dotted around the building – they must be suitably rated and positioned as set out in Building Regulations (Part B).
With thoughtful placement these doors create escape corridors and compartmentalise the building in order to contain and slow the progression of fire and smoke.
The selection of fire door should be specified and installed.
Every fire door will be required to be certified. It is the manufacturer who tests it in a furnace to ensure it does the job it needs to do and is fit for purpose. The door will be rated on the length of time it will be able to last in fire conditions, from a minimum of 30 minutes up to higher specification steel doors providing at least 4 hours protection.
And every fire door requires a fire-resistant surrounding frame, intumescent seals lock and hinges. Together under high temperatures these work to prevent smoke from infiltrating through the door and frame.
Maintaining Your Fire Doors
If you do not currently have fire doors in your own home, there are only a few circumstances where it is legally necessary to have them installed, for example, if you have an internal garage or your property is above three storeys (even for a simple loft conversion in a two-storey.)
However, if you are the landlord of properties, it is your responsibility by law to ensure fire doors are fitted at appropriate points. Once installed, and surrounded with the proper fire door signage, it is vital to maintain these doors so that they are always fit for purpose.
Fire doors should be checked on a regular basis. If there is any evidence of damage, it should be repaired immediately.
The size of the gap around the head and jambs should be measured regularly too – the space should be no larger than 2-4mm.
Keep an eye on the seals and hinges, checking for damage at least every six months.
Finally, make sure your door is always able to self-close properly. Remember, it should never be held open unless you use a device that is connected to your smoke alarm, immediately allowing the door to close should it be activated.
If you need any more help or advice regarding fire door safety in your home or workplace, feel free to contact us at MacConvilles. We ensure fire doors are installed as a priority within all our construction projects, keeping our buildings legal and safe at all times.