Fire doors may be ‘passive’ protection systems, but they must be actively maintained to ensure they provide the highest standards of safety when needed. UK Fire Safety regulations stipulate that fire doors must be inspected frequently, especially in newly occupied properties. But how do you check fire doors and what you should look out for? This is what we discuss in this article.
Checking Fire Doors Efficiently: 4 Basic Fire Door Checks
1) Certification Labels
Fire doors must be manufactured to strict standards, and they should come with a label that attests to their quality and fire rating.
To make sure a fire door is certified, check its top edge, where certification labels are usually affixed by the manufacturer. The label should state fire resistance in minutes, expressed as FD30 (30 minutes), FD60 (60 minutes), FD90 or FD120 (90 and 120 minutes respectively).
The gap between the door and the frame should be minimal. Otherwise, fire and smoke can quickly spread across a building. To ensure a fire door offers protection and at the same it can open and close smoothly, get a gap gauge and check that gap space is within the following allowances:
– No larger than 5mm around the door’s top and sides (ideally between 2mm and 4mm).
– No larger than 8mm at the bottom.
– In addition, gap space should be constant all around the door (so for example, it shouldn’t jump from 3mm to 5mm).
Top gaps can be amended by re-hanging the door at the appropriate height, so you may be able to get this fixed by building maintenance. However, excessive side gaps often require new frame padding, and sometimes you may need to fit a new door.
To comply with fire check door regulations, there should be no loose screws on door hinges. Fire doors should have at least 3 hinges and the hardware should bear CE markings (or the equivalent post-Brexit UKCA mark for newer doors).
You should also make a note of any oil stains, rust, and any visible damage to the hinges.
4) Closing Mechanism
One of the requirements that must be observed at all times is keeping fire doors closed when they’re not in use. This is so they can prevent flames and smoke from spreading should there be a fire.
Obviously, this means that fire doors should have a fully functional closing mechanism. When inspecting them, you should be able to close them easily without resistance and they should stay closed.
There are several different closing mechanisms used on fire doors, but the same rules of thumb apply when inspecting them:
– Look for loose parts in the closing mechanism.
– Ensure there are no oil leaks or rust.
– The door shouldn’t slam shut but it shouldn’t close too slowly. Most fire doors should fully close in approximately 8 seconds.
At Mila Maintenance, we offer bespoke fire door maintenance and repair plans for social housing and local authority accommodation. If you’re a housing association building or fire safety manager and need a reliable partner that can guarantee safety and compliance, we’re here for you. Please call 08081008881 to find out more.
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