Do Fire Doors Have To Be Self-Closing?

Self-closing fire doors are recognised a first line of defence in building safety. There are many reasons why they make a difference, and some of them might surprise you. Let’s take a look. 

What Is A Self-Closing Door?

Self-closing fire doors are fitted with a manual device that causes them to close automatically. In this way, they are different to other types of self-operating doors, such as those that open and close via a sensor. Self-closing doors usually have an external arm that contains either a spring or a pneumatic piston, as well as a special latch that seals the door in place once it is closed. Self-closing doors are often designed so that the speed of the swing is carefully controlled and are weighted to ensure that the closing mechanism works.  

Why Are Self-Closing Doors Important?

Open doors present major health and safety hazards during a fire. When air can travel from room to room, or down corridors, it can channel flames, heat, and toxic smoke in a similar way to a chimney. Often, the fire’s path follows escape routes, with potentially fatal consequences. Thankfully, fire doors can block the path and contain a fire, but only if they are closed. Therefore, self-closing doors are a way of ensuring that the building’s protection mechanisms are functional. 

Do I have To Install Self-Closing Doors?

Under Approved Document B of the Building Regulations (ADB), many of the fire doors in residential buildings are required to be self-closing. Specifically, these include subdividing the escape routes leading to exits in two or more storey buildings, the subdivision of corridors every 12m, protecting an internal staircase, and separating external escape stairs. Additionally, it is recommended that self-closing fire doors are fitted in high-risk spaces, such as communal areas and kitchens. It is strongly recommended that a formal risk assessment be undertaken to ensure that there are no hidden areas of vulnerability. 

What Are The Benefits Of A Self-Closing Fire Door?

Aside from sheltering fire escape routes, self-closing doors offer a range of additional benefits. They have been shown to extend the life of doors by reducing wear and tear, which can reduce maintenance costs. They also offer guaranteed levels of integrity, ensuring that the door performs to standard. This will become particularly important from January 2023 onwards, when property owners will be subject to much tighter rules regarding fire safety, inspections, and standards. 

How Can Mila Maintenance Help?

At Mila Maintenance, we are certified by BM TRADA to restore the fire resistant performance of doors which may be damaged or out of tolerance.  We can also replace non-compliant doors with a fully-certified Fire Door. Our experienced team can carry out inspections, testing, and installations, and can also offer guidance. To learn more about self-closing fire doors, please speak with one of our fire door experts today. 

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Image source: Pixabay

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