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Internal Fire Doors in Flats: Understanding the Latest Regulations

Internal fire doors serve as a vital barrier against the spread of fire, protecting lives and properties in an emergency. Whether you are a homeowner, landlord or property manager, it is essential to understand your fire responsibilities and ensure compliance with internal fire door safety regulations. In this enlightening blog post, we delve into the world of internal fire doors in flats to confidently equip you with the knowledge to navigate fire safety requirements.

What is an Internal Fire Door?

An internal fire door is specially designed and manufactured to restrict the spread of a fire within a building. In a flat or apartment building, these doors are installed strategically in stairways, corridors, or communal areas, compartmentalising a fire to one room and enabling residents to evacuate safely. 

Internal fire doors must offer at least 30 minutes of fire resistance. FD30 doors are standard in most residential buildings for separating hallways and staircases from individual flats to provide 30 minutes of protection during a fire. 

Internal Fire Door Components

All internal fire doors must be tested and certified. They should comprise several components that consolidate their purpose as a fire door. An FD30 fire door should be fitted with elements that also provide 30 minutes of fire protection:

  • Frames - The frame should be purchased alongside the door to ensure they are both manufactured and tested using correctly specified materials

  • Intumescent Sealant - This acrylic substance will be placed between the door and frame. It is designed to swell upon contact with heat to prevent smoke or fire from passing out into another room, enabling compartmentalisation.

  • Closers - Unlike external fire doors, internal doors do not need to be fitted with automatic closing mechanisms. However, it is advisable to install a closer to compartmentalise a fire; the door should remain closed.

  • Hinges - Standard internal timber fire door sets should have at least three Grade 13 hinges. However, this depends on the manufacturers' test evidence and the required fire resistance.

  • Vision Panel - Not all internal fire doors will have a vision panel, but for those that do, fire-rated glass must permanently be installed as per the manufacturer’s test evidence.

The Latest Fire Door Regulations in Flats

The Fire Safety Act 2021

The Fire Safety Act 2021 states that fire doors are legally required in residential premises with at least three storeys. This act works under the scope of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which identifies the fire safety regulations that must be implemented in flats and apartments as passive fire protection (PFP).

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 provides a minimum fire safety standard for all non-domestic properties, flats, apartments, and HMOs. This order states that a landlord, homeowner or building manager must be appointed as a ‘Responsible Person’ to ensure that the fire protection measures in a building comply with legal requirements.

A Responsible Person must:

  • Conduct regular fire assessments 

  • Devise a fire evacuation plan

  • Install fire doors and fire equipment in alignment with the evacuation route.

  • Conduct regular inspections 

  • Carry out necessary maintenance and repairs 

The Fire Safety Regulations 2022

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 were introduced under Article 24 of the Fire Safety Order. Regulations made under this article impose requirements on the Responsible Person of a building to mitigate fire risks in a building. 

This regulation was introduced after the Grenfell Tower Incident, which states that fire doors leading to individual fire doors should be inspected annually. In contrast, internal communal fire doors must be checked quarterly to ensure they provide the required level of fire protection.

Placement of Internal Fire Doors

Fire doors should be situated in areas that allow residents to escape easily via designated evacuation routes as outlined in the fire risk assessment. In the event of a fire, the fire should be compartmentalised to one area within the building, with the fire doors placed strategically from each flat to the exit. 

As per the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), flats on the ground floor do not require fire doors as long as they can escape via a window or another door.

Flats Above 4.5m 

For flats above 4.5m, Approved Document B, as per the Fire Order, establishes the requirement of fire doors to separate individual flats from hallways, stairwells, and communal areas. Ideally, FD30 doors will be installed in flats or apartments of this height to provide 30 minutes of fire protection.

Flats Above 11m

In flats above 11m, it is recommended that each habitable room is fitted with an FD60 fire door to provide 60 minutes of fire resistance, providing valuable time for occupants to evacuate. As per Fire Doors (Regulation 10), responsible persons must undertake quarterly checks of all fire doors in residential buildings over 11 metres in height. The regulations also require responsible persons to supply residents with information on the importance of fire doors for building safety.

The Importance of Internal Fire Doors

Fire Containment

Internal fire doors act as barriers that compartmentalise a building, preventing the spread of smoke and fire from where it has originated. By containing a fire in one place, evacuations can occur more safely and efficiently, and firefighters can effectively combat the blaze.

Protection of Escape Routes

Internal fire doors installed in stairwells, corridors and communal areas provide crucial protection for occupants trying to escape a building during a fire. These doors maintain a clear pathway for evacuation by containing all smoke and fire in one area of the building.

Passive Fire Protection

Fire doors are a pivotal part of a building's overall fire protection strategy. When combined with other fire-stopping measures, such as fire barriers and curtains, their effectiveness is enhanced. Using a range of passive fire protection measures makes for a comprehensive fire prevention and mitigation approach.

Property and Asset Protection

Internal fire doors are ideal for protecting a building and any assets and safeguarding lives. Controlling fires in one area minimises property damage, reducing the financial impact of fire-related incidents.

Internal Fire Door FAQs

Can internal fire doors be upgraded or replaced if they no longer meet the requirements?

Yes, suppose your fire doors become worn to the point that they no longer offer the advertised level of fire resistance. In that case, upgrading or replacing them is vital to ensure you comply with legal requirements.

What is the difference between a fire and a standard door?

Unlike standard doors, fire doors are designed and constructed with fire-resistant materials that enable them to contain a fire in one area for a designated period.

Can I install a fire door?

It is recommended that a certified fire door inspector should align and install your fire door. An incorrectly fitted fire door may not provide the level of protection necessary; therefore, it is recommended to leave it to the professionals to ensure maximum fire safety.

Maximise Fire Safety in Flats with London Fire Solutions

London Fire Solutions has decades of experience manufacturing, testing, installing and maintaining fire doors. We are dedicated to ensuring your flat has the highest quality internal fire doors to maximise fire safety in your building. Fire safety is at the heart of everything, so trust our expert team. Contact us to learn more about internal fire doors.

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