Fire doors are an essential piece of safety equipment in residential apartments and supported housing buildings. Unfortunately, data from 2019 shows that more than 75% of all fire door inspections failed. There are several areas to inspect when it comes to fire door maintenance, and gaps around the fire door are one of the most important. In this article, we examine the safety guidelines around fire door gaps.
Why check fire door gaps?
Fire doors are meant to prevent or delay fire and smoke from spreading around a building. To do so, there shouldn’t be any large gaps around the door’s perimeter. But at the same time, you should allow for some space between the door and the frame.
The key here is to ensure that fire door gaps don’t exceed certain dimensions. We’ll look at the guidelines in detail later in this article. Checking fire door gaps is an important part of your regular social housing inspections because if they are too large, the door won’t be able to stop toxic smoke from filtering through, putting residents at risk. More than 50% of fire-related fatalities are caused by smoke inhalation, so ensuring gaps are minimal is crucial to safety.
In addition, in the event of a fire, large gaps let air (and therefore oxygen) into the room, and as you know, oxygen fuels fires and can cause them to spread faster.
What Do Safety Regulations Say About Fire Door Gaps?
In the UK, British Standard 8214:2016 (also known as ‘Code of practice for fire door assemblies’ ) regulates fire door safety guidelines.
The Standard states the gap allowances as follows:
– Between 2mm and 4mm for upper and side jambs. For optimal protection, you want to aim for a 3mm gap. This is approximately the width of a £1 coin, but we recommend using a fire door gap checker for more accuracy.
The 2mm-4mm range allows intumescent strips placed in the top and side jambs to be activated and expand if exposed to extreme heat.
If the gap is larger than 4mm, the expanded strips won’t provide enough of a seal. On the other hand, if the gap is smaller than 2mm, high temperatures will take longer to hit the strips, causing a delay in strip activation and a potentially dangerous situation.
– The gap between the door and the floor shouldn’t be larger than 8mm. If the door is meant to prevent the spread of cold smoke, the bottom gap should be no larger than 3mm.
At Mila Maintenance, we specialise in fire door installation and maintenance in social housing projects, care homes, and student accommodation. We have more than 30 years’ experience making sure fire doors comply with the highest safety standards. Visit our site to see what we can do for you.
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