Fire-resisting door assembly, commonly known and referred to as fire doors, can be defined as a door or shutter, together with its frame and furniture, provided for the provision and passage of people, air or goods, for which when closed, has an intended purpose to restrict the spread of fire and smoke to a predictable level of performance. The performance and criteria will be defined by the manufacture with key indicators as to whether a door is FD30, FD60, FD120, meaning its time of performance to withstand fire and smoke.
Most of the time, a fire door is like any other door until it is required to perform under certain conditions. If a fire were to break out, it is there to perform the vital and specific task of stopping the passage of fire and/or smoke. In the extreme, it may perform by holding back the spread of fire. More commonly, it will contain or limit cold smoke that will be generated by a fire, allowing people to safely evacuate to an alternative area or the entire building and prevent the effects of the fire from spreading.
Fire doors are one of the most important yet most overlooked asset within your building. Fire doors are rarely inspected correctly (if at all) until the day of a fire risk assessment. If the asset is not regularly inspected and maintained, they are less likely to perform when required to do so.
A fire door is carefully and precisely designed, manufactured, engineered and tested in accordance with British and European standards to ensure that if it is ever called upon it does what it is supposed to do, yet many site inspections reveal that even newly installed fire doors often fall woefully short of their anticipated fire-resistance performance. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding sometimes extends to people involved in the specification, procurement and installation process, along with those expected to maintain such assets. This may be because fire doors differ in two main ways from other well recognised fire safety components (such as fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems and emergency lighting) which remain passive from day-to-day use, whereas fire doors are opened, closed, wedged, bashed or otherwise used and abused on a daily basis.
Fire doors are often inspected and maintained by people with no specific training or qualifications. Fire doors often enter a building as part of a sub-contract package with little thought and attention as to how they will be managed and maintained thereafter, with little interaction with the client to determine this factor.
In addition, there is no legal requirement in the UK to mark a fire door with its performance or the name of the manufacturer, despite the fact that it is difficult for the untrained eye to establish the potential performance of a timber fire door just by looking at it. Doors differ significantly in their construction, which affects their behaviour and hence the type of ironmongery and seals needed to achieve a particular performance. The thickness of 30-minute flush doors can range from 38mm to nearly 50mm, and one-hour doors from 42mm to 58mm.
For further details on how to book your fire door inspection or to have key staff members trained on how to inspect your fire doors please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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