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Behind the Scenes: Fire Door Inspections and Regulations

In the UK, fire safety regulations play a pivotal role in safeguarding lives and property. Fire doors are an essential aspect of a building's fire protection system. Stringent rules and regular inspections aim to mitigate the risks associated with fires. Building owners and managers must understand these regulations to ensure their buildings comply with fire safety regulations, protecting their occupants and property. Join us as we dive into the critical aspects of fire regulations and how to inspect your fire doors correctly.

In this article, we will cover:

The Role of Fire Doors in Passive Fire Protection

Fire doors are crucial components of a passive fire protection system. They are designed to prevent the spread of fire or smoke from one area in a building to another, providing occupants with valuable time to escape via a designated evacuation route. 

Fire doors are constructed of fire-rated materials, such as steel or gypsum board, designed to withstand fire and heat for a minimum of 30 minutes. They have a specified rating that indicates the length of time they can withstand a fire. FD30 doors have 30 minutes of fire resistance, while FD60 doors offer 60 minutes. 

To comply with legal requirements, fire doors must be designed, manufactured, tested and installed in alignment with recent fire door regulations. These regulations ensure that all fire doors can perform to the best of their ability and protect lives during the event of a fire.

Fire Door Regulations

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

The UK's cornerstone of fire safety legislation is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This order provides a comprehensive framework for regulating fire safety in commercial properties and certain residential premises. Recent updates, such as the Fire Safety Act (2021), further refine the requirements under this order. All residential properties with at least three storeys are now legally required to be fitted with fire doors.

Responsible Person

According to the Fire Safety Order, a designated Responsible Person, whether a landlord or a building manager, shoulders the responsibility of implementing fire safety measures. These duties include:

  • Conducting regular fire risk assessments

  • Devising evacuation plans

  • Installing necessary fire protection equipment

  • Ensure maintenance of fire equipment and carry out essential repairs

  • Provide appropriate training to staff members.

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022

In response to the Grenfell Tower incident, the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 introduced additional obligations for the Responsible Person. These regulations extend to buildings comprising two or more domestic dwellings exceeding 11 meters in height.

Fire doors must be installed in communal areas such as stairwells and corridors in non-domestic areas such as laundry rooms and offices. Flat and external entrance doors must also be fire doors in buildings above 11m.

The responsible person must provide occupants with information regarding fire safety and UK fire door regulations. They must know the designated evacuation route in case of a fire. 

Fire Door Inspections

Regular inspections and maintenance are crucial for ensuring the functionality and compliance of fire doors. The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) recommends inspections every six months in most commercial and residential premises. The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 state that all buildings with fire doors above 11m must receive quarterly inspections. 

How to Conduct a Fire Door Inspection

Fire door inspections must be carried out effectively so you can be confident that the door can still perform as intended. 

There are six key steps you should follow when conducting a fire door inspection:

  1. Certification: A fire door must be certified. Check if a label on the top or side of the door outlines a range of information, from manufacturer name and contact information to certification number.

  2. Self-closer: All fire doors must be fitted with a self-closing mechanism. Check if it functions properly by opening the door fully and allowing it to close. It should be able to close without any friction. Recheck it by opening it only 15cm and seeing if it closes properly.

  3. Gaps: The gap between the door and its frame should consistently be up to 4mm. To check if this is the case, you can use a pound coin, which is roughly 3mm in width.

  4. Door frame: Check to see if the frame is firmly attached to the wall and free from damage.

  5. Intumescent sealant: Fire doors must be fitted with intumescent sealant. Ensure they are in place and well attached inside the groove in the door frame.

  6. Hinges: There should be at least three hinges in a fire door, firmly secured with screws. The screws should be the correct sizes, and the hinges should be free from metal fragments and oil leakages.

Maintaining meticulous records of inspections, repairs, and replacements is imperative for compliance. Although a Responsible Person can carry out routine checks, receiving an accredited inspection on your fire doors is crucial. Investing in professional fire door inspections is a fundamental aspect of safeguarding lives and property.

Fire Door Regulations & Inspections FAQs

What standards must fire doors meet?

Compliant fire doors must adhere to British Standard BS 476-22 or European Standard BS EN 1634-1. These standards ensure fire doors have the necessary integrity and insulation to withstand fire for a specified duration. 

Do fire door regulations apply to all buildings?

Fire door regulations apply to all non-domestic buildings, including commercial properties, workplaces and specific residential properties such as apartment buildings. The scope of rules will depend on building height.

Are there requirements for fire door signage?

Yes, fire doors should be identified with appropriate signage to ensure they are easily recognised during a fire. An evacuation plan should be visible in hallways, highlighting the fire doors in the building. This will aid in the evacuation of a building during an emergency.

Expand Your Fire Door Knowledge with LFS

At LFS, our dedicated team is well-versed in navigating fire safety regulations across all buildings. Our expertise lies in the design, manufacture, installation, and testing of fire doors, ensuring strict compliance with regulatory standards and the required level of fire resistance. We are committed to putting safety first, so trust us to guide you through the legal requirements of fire doors, guaranteeing exceptional fire protection for occupants and properties alike. Sound good? Contact us today to learn more about how our services can help you.

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