What You Need To Know About Fire Doors When Conducting A Fire Risk Assessment

When a fire breaks out in a high-rise building, occupants must have time to evacuate in a safe and coordinated manner and for Fire and Rescue Services to be able to reach the scene. 

Fire doors play a crucial part in preventing fires from spreading, and they must meet current safety standards to provide the protection that is needed in high-rise premises. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the five essential practices that commercial property owners should be aware of when conducting a fire safety risk assessment for their properties, or when seeking quotes for fire door installations and maintenance.

1. The FD Rating Indicates That Fire Doors Are Tested To Resist Fire For A Minimum Amount Of Time

All fire doors in the UK must be FD rated to indicate their minimum resistance to smoke and flames, given in minutes – e.g., FD30, FD60 etc. Fire doors help to contain fires within the rooms in which they started and protect vital escape routes, such as corridors and stairways, thereby maximising the chance for residents to evacuate unharmed. By mapping out the most vulnerable areas of your building in your risk assessment, you will be able to select the most appropriate FD-rated doors at strategic locations to inhibit the spread of fire and protect the building’s occupants.

From November 1, 2019, all external fire-rated door sets MUST carry conformity marking, CE and/or UKCA (from the being of 2021), which confirms they have been robustly tested to conform with all current UK safety standards and technical requirements. UKCA-marked products (this has replaced the former CE mark during the UK’s EU membership and serves the same purpose post-Brexit) are assessed by accredited testing labs, which are regularly monitored to ensure compliance with regulations. Commercial property owners must maintain a digital record of all the fire doors in their buildings, specifying the UKCA certification, safety rating, and the names of the manufacturer and installer.

2. Fire Doors Are Designed To Resist Flames And Smoke

Fire doors are manufactured to meet exacting British safety standards and must be tested before installation to ensure they provide 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes of protection (FD ratings). 

Thicker than standard doors, fire doors feature a solid core that is effective in slowing down the spread of a fire. FD30-rated doors are usually 45mm thick, while FD60-rated doors are 54mm thick. Core materials in fire doors include particleboard and solid timber.

Some fire doors are designed to resist the spread of smoke as well as flames, so it is important to ensure that the most suitable door is installed to reduce or mitigate risk at its installation point. A professional fire risk assessment service will inform you which doors are most appropriate, taking into consideration the specific design and use of your commercial property.

3. Intumescent Seals Keep Smoke And Fire At Bay

Even a small gap around a fire door could allow smoke and fire to spread rapidly, so fire doors must be fitted with intumescent seals in a groove at the edge of the door or the door frame. When exposed to heat, these seals quickly expand to fill the gap between the door and the frame, obstructing the passage of smoke and flames and effectively containing the fire.

Because intumescent seals are highly effective at repelling smoke and flames, it is essential that they are regularly inspected for damage. If the seal is broken or worn, contact the experts at Mila Maintenance to arrange for its prompt replacement.

4. Fire Doors Must Be Installed By A Certified Installer

Although a fire door must achieve certain standards to be installed in high-rise commercial buildings, a poorly fitted door will offer very little protection if a blaze occurs. For this reason, and to maximise the protection of occupants, all fire doors should be installed by a certified professional, who has a thorough knowledge of fire safety regulations.

At Mila Maintenance, our fire door installers are accredited by the BM Trada Q-Mark Scheme and are certified to fit doors in high-rise commercial and residential properties, offering property owners the assurance that all work has been completed to the highest standards and in accordance with fire safety regulations.

5. Only Regulation-Assessed Doors Should Be Fitted In Your Property

All fire doors in high-rise buildings must comply with current safety regulations, which can be evidenced with appropriate proof of performance for the ratings that they carry. Check for a label on the top or side of the door which confirms that it has been robustly tested to meet current fire door regulations and passed the assessments.

Fire doors should be tested to several key standards:

  • Primary UKCA test: fire tested at an approved UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) testing laboratory.
  • Global Assessment: primary test evidence is assimilated into a single report to define the scope of the fire door, including door frame components; ironmongery; fire, smoke, and acoustic controls; glazing; acceptable increases in dimensions or door set configurations.
  • Third-Party Certification: for example, Q-Mark Fire Door Manufacture or Certifire, which ensures that the manufacturing process is monitored and audited regularly.

Contact Mila Maintenance To Find Out More

If you are unsure where fire doors are required or need expert advice about how fire doors can maximise the effectiveness of your building’s fire risk management and safety strategy, please call Mila Maintenance today on 0808 100 8881 or send our team a message today.

Download The Fire Door Safety And Regulations Guide

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