General

The Law on Maintaining Fire Doors

Fire doors are probably one of the most important elements in the fire containment strategy of a building design. However, in the use of a building they can be overlooked in terms of correct use and quality control within the context of the fire safety risk assessment. fire doors with glass

The law relating to fire safety in non-domestic premises requires that UK building owners ensure their properties comply with fire safety legislation. Building owners are requested to carry out annual risk assessments on their premises including ensuring that fire and escape doors are of the correct specification, have the right hardware fitted and are properly maintained. They must also be able to produce the documentation showing the products are suitable for their application. Contractors are at risk of prosecution if fire doors are not correctly specified and maintained.

Buildings are divided into compartments separated by fire resistant walls and doors. These serve as a building’s passive means of fire protection as they help suppress a fire by restricting the flow of oxygen as well as the spread of fire through the building. Fire doors allow people to escape from buildings. When a buildings fire risk assessment is carried out, these doors are tested as a complete assembly that includes the frame, seals, hardware and glazing. The routine assessments are done to ensure they will do their job in the event of a fire. They are tested and then given a rating based on how long they can maintain their integrity in a fire. Ratings range from 30 to 120 minutes.

There are fire doors available to suit a wide range of applications and styles. Most are made from timber with steel ones generally specified for industrial use. Today, all newly installed doors are pre-installed with intumescent seals that swell up and seal the door in the event of a fire. The configuration of the door is an important consideration as it has an impact on the hardware used. Correctly specified, fitted and maintained hardware plays a vital part in the effectiveness of fire doors. Hinges, seals, handles and door closers make the doors operate easily during everyday use and save lives in the event of a fire. As smoke is the major enemy to human life in a fire, all doors should also have smoke seals included in their configuration.

Door closing devices ensure that the door closes reliably and stays shut. The reason for this is that fire doors are to remain closed at all times when not in immediate use. This helps to ensure that, should a fire break out in the building, flames do not spread from one part of the building to another before fire fighters can bring the blaze under control. Door closers are either surface mounted or concealed, and are so-named due to how they are installed on (surface mounted) or within (concealed) the door.

Many fire doors contain a vision panel, and it is critical that the glass used offers the same amount of fire resistance to that of the door. The glazing must be installed using the correct fire rated bead including intumescent. If not included, then the glass will slump and fall out of the aperture within minutes in the event of a fire thus rendering the door useless.

 

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