The Risks Associated with Unregulated Fire Doors
Fire doors can be critical in the event of fire, ensuring safe escape routes and effective building compartmentation. Due to their importance, fire doors have numerous associated standards concerning the installation, material, and maintenance of fire doors. Faulty fire doors that don’t meet standards, could spell disaster.
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In this blog, our accredited experts at CPFP explain the risks that unregulated fire doors can pose to people. It is critical that responsible persons understand the importance of having certified fire doors that meet standards, installed by verified professionals.
Are Fire Doors Regulated in the UK?
The Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FIDS) specifically works to improve the standard of fire doors across the UK. In fact, in 2019, FIDS found that more than three quarters of fire doors in UK buildings were not fit for purpose. This means that the majority of fire doors in the UK did not pass inspections and were therefore not suitable for application, raising questions about the safety of unchecked doors.
Regulations concerning fire doors are outlined in the Building Regulations, as well as Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005. It is the role of the Responsible Person to ensure that premises are fitted with fire doors where required that are correctly installed and maintained to remain ‘fit for purpose’ as stated in Article 17 of the Fire Safety Order 2005. The requirement for fire doors in non-residential buildings depends on the size and method of escape.
Read our ‘Fire Door Regulations Explained’ blog to find out more.
As the above blog explains, there are numerous regulations concerning fire doors. This includes BS 8214, the code of practice for fire door installation, maintenance, and specification of timber-based doors; BS EN 1154, the standard for controlled door closing that ensures the automatic closing of doors; and BS 476-22:1987 and BS EN 1634-1:2014, which specify tests that measure fire resistance ratings for doors.
All fire doors are subject to these standards and inspections in order to be certified as fire doors. Doors that do not meet standards and regulations are not deemed ‘fire doors’ and will be subject to legal repercussions. Best practice when it comes to existing fire doors that do not meet standards is to replace and fit new sets.
See more: Passive Fire Protection Regulations, Standards & Accreditation
Benefits of Fire Door Regulation
It is important that building owners and other Responsible Persons take their responsibility to others seriously. Not having fire doors, or having poor ones, can massively increase risk to life. Due to regulation of fire doors and possible prosecution and fines for non-compliance, those in charge are far more likely ensure proper management of fire doors and consequently save lives. The same goes for installers – see below.
All doors labelled as fire doors must perform consistently to ensure safety. The minimum fire resistance of fire doors is 30 minutes. The consistency ensured by regulation means that the expectations of buildings users are matched by the performance of the door. In the event of a fire, building users of any building are assured of this minimum amount of fire resistance.
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Without standards, any door could be labelled a fire door. This could give a false sense of security and lead to disaster. The verified, identifiable certification of regulated fire doors gives security and confidence in the credentials of fire doors, as above.
In accordance with the regulation of fire doors and specific requirements, only a skilled joiner and fire door experience can fit them. This is beneficial as it prevents just anyone giving it a go, ensuring a better installation and therefore function. This also ensures that those who do install fire doors do a good job as the onus is on installers to do it properly otherwise they can face legal repercussions.
Unfortunately, in our line of work, we find at CPFP we are often called upon to rectify previous poor work. Our skills and certified services give those who have been subject to cowboy or inadequate traders assurance of proper, professional Passive Fire Protection (PFP) measures. Find out if your PFP provider is certified with our helpful guide to PFP provider certification.
Overtime, the quality of all things deteriorates and therefore performance degrades, including fire doors. The required maintenance of fire doors, stipulated in regulations, ensures that any issues are spotted early. Regulated timely inspections and maintenance keeps fire doors functioning optimally for as long as possible, with lifesaving consequences.
Faulty Fire Door Hazards
There are plenty of hazards presented by faulty fire doors. Below we list some of the most common hazards.
There should be 2-4mm between the door and the frame. A gap larger than this risks allowing smoke and fire through. Although actual fire may be held back, gaps can reduce the success of compartmentation and encourage the spread of toxic smoke.
Poor Fire Resistance
If not tested according to specified tests in relevant standards, fire doors may not be able to resist fire for as long as advertised. This could lead to the spread of smoke and fire, as well as the compromise of fire escape routes, hugely increasing risk to life.
Also, the materials used can affect fire resistance. For example, if unspecified glass is used, this may shatter.
Non-Automatic Closing Mechanisms
Fire doors must have automatic closing mechanisms to ensure that the door secures a compartment when in use. These mechanisms can also help prevent the door from being wedged open (which it never should be), else the door is redundant in stopping the spread of smoke and fire.
Fire doors should have intumescent seals which expand in high temperatures to fill gaps, preventing any seepage of fire or smoke through gaps between the door and frame. If not done properly, or inadequate materials are used, toxic smoke could spread with devastating effects.
Certified Fire Door Installation and Maintenance Bristol and Beyond
Keep your premises safe and compliance with CPFP.
Our team of IFCC accredited fire door installers, maintainers and inspectors ensure complete, compliant fire doors. We don’t just install your fire doors – in fact, we offer a 24-month service package with all new fire door installs, including inspection and sign-off of your fire doors every 6 months, keeping your building compliant over time.
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We install, inspect, repair, and maintain a full range of certified PFP measures from cavity barriers to penetration sealing and much more. Having worked in hospitals, residential flats, schools, offices and more, we are extremely experienced, reliable, and competent contractors.
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