Although many may not notice them, fire doors are a fixture of day to day life. Whether in the workplace, educational buildings or even communal areas within residential buildings, fire doors are everywhere. The reason behind this is simple, they save lives. They help to contain fires within compartments and in doing so allow escape via unaffected areas. With such an important function, it is imperative that fire doors are installed correctly and regularly checked for faults. Here are just some of the ways in which you can ensure that your fire doors are fully functional and safe.
Who is responsible?
When it comes to fire protection, the ‘responsible person’ is usually the landlord, building owner or company manger. This person is responsible for ensuring that fire doors are installed and routinely checked.
Choosing a reputable company to install your fire doors is an important step. You should discuss your options with them prior to installation as there are different types of door to choose from. Customers can choose from FDKS and FDKL options which include doors which are designed to remain shut and those that are required to be locked at all times. Also, different doors provide fire protection for different durations of time. Commonly, this includes anywhere from 30 minutes up to 120 minutes.
The type of seals which are installed can also be different. Fire doors can contain fire protection seals, smoke protection seals or both.
Fire doors should be certified by the manufacturer. This is basically a promise from the manufacturer that the door has been made and installed to the specific standards laid out by the customer. Certification should be visible with a label on the door, explaining the protection level and overall fire performance.
Fire doors are only effective if they are functioning correctly and therefore should be inspected regularly. The responsible person can check their own fire doors for obvious faults but a complete inspection should be carried out by a certified fire door inspector. When looking for an inspector, make sure they hold a CertFDI qualification. As well as completing a full check of all of your fire doors, the inspector should provide you with a report of their findings.
It is recommended that fire doors are inspected every 6 months but this is dependent on the building in question. Some buildings such as workplaces and schools will require more frequent inspections due to the greater degree of traffic within these areas.
It may be necessary to install fire doors with glass panels, in order to combat lighting or visibility issues. If this is the case, a specialised fire-proof glass should be used in order to protect the integrity of the door. This type of glass can withstand fire up to 30 minutes thanks to a unique design which radiates a large proportion of the heat. It is possible to install glass panels which can withstand fire for longer but this can only work with smaller windows.
Upgrading standard doors into fire doors is not as popular as it once was but can be the only option in certain situations. If this is the case, only some types of doors are eligible and this should be kept in mind. For example, suitable doors need to be framed and contain a solid core and panels. The thickness of the door is also important, as well as the joints and fixings.
If you have any questions or worries about installing or maintaining a fire door, then please ask.