Regulations Regarding Fire Doors and Door Closers
Regulations Regarding Fire Doors and Door Closers
There are many regulations that apply to the installation and certification of fire doors, and ensuring your business is up to specification can be a daunting task. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005 states that anyone who is in control of the business, or who has a degree of responsibility or control over certain areas or systems, is responsible for ensuring these standards are met, and as such has a duty to:
a) Take such general fire precautions as will ensure, so far as is reasonably practical, the safety of any of their employees; and
b) In relation to relevant persons who are not their employees, take such general fire precautions as may reasonably be required in the circumstances of the case to ensure that the premises are safe.
After assessing the potential risks and hazards in your business, the next step is to identify escape routes and obtain the relevant safety equipment, a vital component in this being fire doors. A fire door however, is greater than the sum of its parts – it must be configured, assembled and installed properly to officially become a ‘Fire Door’. Fire doors are usually made of solid timber, although a number of finishes can be applied. Any glazing must be done with a fire resistant glass, most typically Georgian wired and clear glass. Fire doors must adhere to the following regulations, as stated by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005:
a) Emergency routes and exists must lead as directly as possible to a place of safety;
b) In the event of danger, it must be possible for persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and as safely as possible;
c) The number, distribution and dimensions of emergency exits must be adequate having regard to the use, equipment and dimensions of the premises and the maximum number of persons who may be present there at any one time;
d) Emergency doors must open in the direction of escape;
e) Sliding or revolving doors must not be used for exits specifically intended as emergency exits;
f) Emergency doors must not be locked or fastened that they cannot be easily and immediately opened by any person who may require to use them in an emergency;
g) Emergency routes and exits must be indicated by signs; and
h) Emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case if failure of their normal lighting.
As smoke is the major cause of death and injury when a fire occurs, most fire doors are required to also provide a smoke control function, in addition to preventing the spread of fire. As such, most doors are required to provide a smoke control function, and all fire doors must be fitted with intumescent seals, which expand greatly with heat, serving to close the gap in the door frame and contain any smoke and flames. It is vital that these are fitted correctly so that not only will they seal this gap as much as possible, but also that they will not hinder the full and effective closure of the door.
All hardware relating to the fire door must be up to fire rated standard (e.g locks, hinges etc). In addition to this, it is illegal for a fire door to be left open as this will allow faster spread of the fire and smoke, and as such the door must be fitted with an automatic closing device, or a door closer. Door closers serve to ensure that all doors are closed at a safe speed behind you, and are effective both for fire safety and access control, ensuring that doors to restricted areas cannot be accidentally left open. There are a number of door closers available, from the popular surface mounted for steel, timber, aluminium and glass doors, to concealed overhead and concealed floor closers. Door closers, installation and maintenance needs to adhere to the door manufacturers recommendations, and be fitted properly, thus it is recommended to seek the advice of an expert.
Section 14: ‘Emergency routes and exits’, The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005
Fire Door Inspections
Why are fire doors important?
Fire doors are part of a buildings passive fire protection system and are fundamental to fire strategies for buildings. They provide critical protection within a building, such as escape routes (stairs and corridors) and separate different fire hazards in a building. Effective fire doors ensure rooms are compartmented, to help keep fire, and possibly smoke, in the area in which it starts, to protect occupants (and contents) of other compartments safe and to protect escape routes.
What is a fire door and what is a final escape route?
A fire door is a collection of components that includes the door leaf, frame, seals and essential door hardware, which are referred to in the door’s fire test evidence. This is called a fire door assembly and use of the wrong components may have a significant impact on the overall performance of the fire door.
A final escape door is the door used, in the event of an emergency, to exit the building and to reach a place of safety. It must operate correctly and be fitted with the correct hardware. Correct signage is also a mandatory requirement for fire doors and escape doors.
How often should I have my fire door inspection?
As with any other life-saving product, a fire door should be checked regularly to ensure it functions correctly and is ready to use. It should be considered in exactly the same way as testing a smoke alarm or a fire extinguisher.
Any slight alteration to the door or its surroundings can affect the performance of a door. The Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings BS9999.2008 recommends periodic checks should be carried out at least every 6 months, or more regularly depending on the traffic using the door. The type of building you are responsible for and who occupies it will influence the frequency of fire door inspections required. Some buildings, such as schools and hospitals, are subject to heavy traffic and the doors have a hard time often being subject to repeated misuse.
**Remember, you are responsible for ensuring adequate inspections and maintenance routine is in place, doors must be correctly maintained and prosecution under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order can take place if you fail to do so.**
Our Fire Door Inspection Services
We offer a free security survey and subsequent quotation for regular fire door inspections within your establishment. To arrange this please contact our office on 01483766569 or email us at email@example.com
During a fire door inspection, our technicians inspect each component of the fire door assembly including:
- Door leaf
- Door frame
- Locks and levers/handles
- Panic hardware devices for external final fire exit doors
- Any form of access control locking devices.
- Door closer (self-closing devices)
- Hold open devices
- Intumescent door strip and cold smoke seals
- Glazing (vision panels)
- Fire safety signage
- Gaps around the doors and threshold gaps
- Finger guards.
Upon completion of fire door and final fire exit door inspections, a report is produced detailing the condition of each door and listing the areas of non-compliance, which creates a database and asset register for future ongoing inspections.
For your peace of mind, all of our technicians are DBS checked, HM Government approved and have valid CSCS approval.
What you read in the sections above is related solely to fire door regulations, but let’s not forget that the speed of doors can cause injuries. If a door closes to fast it can trap fingers or catch heels as people walk through.
There aren’t any specific regulations which state that protection such as finger guards must be fitted. However, there’s a catch. Because of the way in which safety legislation is written, it’s established practice to fit them in certain situations. They should always be fitted in crèches, nurseries, indoor play areas aimed at young children, and the areas used by the first two-year groups of primary school. For other types of premises, managers will need to assess the risk. As past cases show, not installing them could result in prosecution.
Finger trapping risks increase where the door is heavy, in an area where children congregate or are susceptible to being blown by a gust of wind. If you believe there’s a significant risk of this type of accident, you should strongly consider installing guards. Fortunately, they can usually be fitted using simple hand tools and basic carpentry skills. The guards cover the hinge area of the door.