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Your Complete Guide to Fire Doors

September 25, 2023

Your Complete Guide to Fire Doors

In the realm of building safety and security, fire doors stand as a crucial defence mechanism against the devastating force of fires. These unassuming heroes often go unnoticed until a critical moment arises. As part of our ongoing dedication to promoting fire safety and to mark the start of Fire Door Safety Week 2023, we’re delving into the basics of fire doors, dispelling some common misconceptions, explaining the CERTIFIRE fire ratings system, and shining a spotlight on our extensive range of fire and duel certified steel doorsets in this fire door guide.

Imagine a fire breaking out in a building. In such a stressful situation, every second counts. Fire doors are designed to contain fires, giving occupants more time to evacuate and first responders more time to control the blaze. Their primary function is to prevent the rapid spread of fire from one area of a building to another.

Components of a Fire Door

Fire doors consist of various components, each serving a crucial role:

Door Leaf: This is the main part of the door, made from steel in our case, which has been designed to withstand the heat and pressure of a fire.

Fire-Resistant Core: Inside the door leaf, there is often a fire-resistant core material which provides insulation and helps maintain the door’s structural integrity during a fire.

Smoke Seals: Our smoke seals have been specifically designed to help block the passage of smoke and are located around the perimeter of the door leaf.

Door Frame: The door frame is the structure that surrounds the door opening. It’s typically made from fire-resistant materials, such as steel, and is designed to support the door and maintain the fire resistance of the assembly.

Hinges: Fire door hinges are designed to resist fire and heat. They are essential for allowing the door to close automatically in the event of a fire.

Self-Closing Device: A self-closing device, such as a door closer, is typically installed on a fire door to ensure that it closes automatically after it’s been opened.

Door Hardware: This includes handles, locks, and latches, and is an important consideration for fire doors. We have a range of hardware options available across our fire-rated range to suit a variety of needs.

Vision Panels: In some cases, fire doors have vision panels (windows) to allow visibility through the door. Our panels are made from a fire-resistant material and are positioned to meet safety standards.

Signage: Clear and appropriate signage is crucial to identify fire-rated doors and convey their proper usage. All fire doors should display one of three signs: “Automatic fire door keep clear,” “Fire door keep locked shut,” or “Fire door keep shut.” Choosing the right signage depends on your specific door type and its intended use.

Thresholds: Fire doors may have fire-rated thresholds to ensure that there are no gaps at the bottom, which could allow the passage of smoke or flames.

Fire Door Furniture: This includes additional optional items like kick plates and push plates, which can be added to the door to protect it from damage and wear.

Door Gap Protection: Special devices or materials can be used to seal the gap between the door leaf and the frame, ensuring that no gaps compromise the door’s fire resistance.

Fire Certifications

CERTIFIRE is an independent third-party certification scheme that evaluates the quality and performance of fire doors and other fire safety products. The CERTIFIRE mark signifies that a product meets the highest industry standards for fire safety.

In 2022, our entire range of security certified doors achieved external fire CE Certification. The doorsets were tested by independent certification body Efectis, and the accreditation covers the performance of the product in relation to its resistance to fire, and self-closing and release ability.

Bradbury Group external fire doors also hold the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) Marking, which possesses rules very similar to those in place for the CE mark. All products produced for UK use must now carry the UKCA mark.

In August 2023, the Department of Trade announced that CE Marking for construction products being sold and installed in the United Kingdom will be recognised until 30 June, 2025. Full details of the change can be found here.

Understanding CERTIFIRE Ratings

CERTIFIRE’S official rating of a door is represented by FD and then a number (30, 60, 120, or 240). This number represents the total number of minutes a door maintains its structural integrity in the event of a fire.

FD30: 30 minutes

FD60: 60 minutes

FD120: 120 minutes

FD240: 240 minutes

Most of Bradbury Group’s fire doors are certified to FD240. To achieve this accreditation, the products were subjected to a furnace test, withstanding temperatures in excess of 1100oC for four hours.

CERTIFIRE ensures that fire doors and components are manufactured to consistently high standards. This quality assurance means you can trust the fire doors bearing the CERTIFIRE mark. And in addition to fire resistance, CERTIFIRE ratings also consider a door’s ability to control the spread of smoke which is crucial for maintaining visibility and air quality during a fire.

As an independent certification scheme, CERTIFIRE’S ratings are based on rigorous testing conducted by leading experts in fire safety.

Compliance with Fire Door Regulations and Requirements

Whether you are involved in new construction or working on an existing building, it is crucial to adhere to various fire door regulations. These regulations should remain a primary consideration throughout the entire process, spanning from the selection and installation to the ongoing maintenance of your fire doors.

For those engaged in new construction projects or extensions to existing structures, compliance with Approved Document B of the UK building regulations is mandatory. This comprehensive document encompasses all aspects of fire safety.

On the other hand, if you are responsible for updating an existing building, you must strictly follow the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order: 2005, commonly referred to as the RRO. The RRO provides detailed guidance on your obligations and even outlines potential consequences for non-compliance with the essential rules and regulations.

Following the tragic incident that took place at Grenfell Tower, an inquest was launched to prevent the recurrence of a fire akin to the one that transpired back in 2017. As a result, from 23 January 2023, those designated as responsible for multi-occupancy residential buildings in England of 11 meters or more in height are now legally obliged to:

  1. Conduct quarterly inspections on all fire doors within the shared areas of these buildings, including an examination of their self-closing mechanisms.
  2. Perform annual inspections on the entrance doors of individual flats, including the assessment of their self-closing mechanisms, to the best of their abilities.

More detailed guidance around these recently implemented laws can be found in the official government guidance document.

Which Door is Right For You?

Fire door models serve different purposes, so it’s crucial to clarify your specific needs before making a selection. Here are some common styles to consider:

Standard Internal Fire Doors: If your goal is to enhance fire safety without additional requirements, standard internal fire doors are suitable. Opt for at least FD30 fire doors, with the option to go up to FD240 for enhanced protection. These doors can withstand fire for a maximum of four hours and are designed to control fires and smoke, allowing safe evacuation during emergencies.

Fire Doors with Noise Reduction: For environments where noise control is essential, consider fire doors with acoustic ratings. These are particularly useful in settings like stadiums, recording studios, or sports halls. Our M2MAC range offers noise reduction and can also be fire-rated if needed, providing a dual-purpose solution.

Architectural Fire Doors: These fire doors blend fire safety with aesthetic considerations. Doors like our Capital45 can be customized to match your architectural plans while offering fire resistance up to FD240.

Secure Fire Doors: When security is a priority, choose secure fire doors like our M2M2 range, certified to LPS 1175: Issue 7 Security Rating 2. These doors provide protection against opportunistic attacks and can also achieve CERTIFIRE ratings up to FD240.

High Security Fire Doors: Ideal for areas prone to vandalism or break-ins, high-security fire doors like our M2M4 are certified to LPS 1175: Issue 7 Security Rating 4, capable of withstanding forced entry using heavy-duty tools. They can also achieve CERTIFIRE accreditation up to FD240, offering up to four hours of fire resistance.

When Are Fire Doors Mandatory?

Fire doors are legally required in a wide range of settings, including nearly all commercial establishments, most residential accommodations like apartment buildings and sheltered housing, and even some larger owner-occupied homes.

The specific locations where fire doors must be installed can vary depending on the unique layout of each building. However, the overarching principle behind fire door placement is to compartmentalize a structure. This means that fire doors serve to impede the unrestricted spread of an active fire and the accompanying smoke throughout a building. Typically, it is advisable to use fire doors in areas where fires are more likely to originate. For instance, these areas may include kitchens, spaces with fireplaces, or rooms containing electrical or flammable materials.

Moreover, there are specific circumstances in which fire doors are always obligatory. These include installations in loft conversions and between a residence and an attached garage.

Myth Busting: Common Misconceptions

Myth 1: Fire Doors Are Only Necessary in Commercial Buildings

Fire doors are not exclusive to commercial buildings. They are just as crucial in residential settings. Fire can occur anywhere, and fire doors can make a significant difference in preventing its rapid spread, giving occupants valuable time to evacuate safely. Every building, whether commercial or residential, should have proper fire protection measures in place.

Myth 2: Keeping Fire Doors Open Is Fine

According to The British Woodworking Federation’s ‘Fire Door Safety Week 2022’ report, 15% of respondents said they thought closing a fire door would stop it working. In reality, this is a dangerous practice. Fire doors are designed to close automatically in case of a fire, creating a barrier to flames and smoke. Propping them open compromises their effectiveness, allowing fire and smoke to spread more easily.

Myth 3: Fire Doors Are Maintenance-Free

Based on more than 100,000 fire door inspections carried out by FDIS’s approved inspectors in 2021, 75% of fire doors failed to meet the required standards. More than half of those that failed did so due to care and maintenance issues.

Over time, seals and other components may wear out or become damaged, compromising the door’s effectiveness. Routine inspections and maintenance are essential – and sometimes legally required – to ensure that fire doors are in proper working order. Check out our Fire Door Maintenance video here for some tips, or read the official GOV guidance document here.

Myth 4: Fire Doors Are Always Ugly and Unattractive

This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. Our range of fire-rated doors come in various styles and finishes, allowing them to blend seamlessly with the building’s aesthetics. Our modern fire doors are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing.

We’re Here to Help

Fire doors are not just functional; they are lifesavers. By understanding the basics of fire doors and relying on our range of certified products, you contribute to a safer environment for yourself, your employees, and your loved ones.

At Bradbury Group, we are committed to your safety. Our specialized, bespoke doors not only save lives but also protect property and ensure compliance with legal requirements. If you have any questions or need assistance in choosing the right fire doors for your building, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Together, we can make a significant impact on fire safety, protecting lives and property from the devastating effects of fires.

For more information about the Fire Door Safety Week campaign, visit their website.


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