In the UK, fires in the workplace are common and around 22,000 fires occur in the workplace yearly. Fire doors play a key role in the safety and fire protection of business premises. Due to the importance of having correctly functioning fire exit doors, they must meet several specific regulations including accessibility, sound, ventilation, fire safety and safety glazing.
Fire doors are manufactured to withstand the spread of fire for a certain amount of time, normally 30 minutes. This gives people enough time to escape the premise. They include an engineered component which includes the frame, door leaf and any fixtures and fittings. They can be strong or made with a particular core, often flax board, or a wood composite material.
Fire-rated doors must be installed properly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction and include the specified hardware store and other facilities which represent the door set as initially tested as this is critical to the door’s achievements in the event of a fire.
Because of the critical importance of fire doors, there are numerous regulations concerning them. These range from their application, and their fire resistance. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in repercussions for those responsible, as well as ineffective fire doors, leading to disaster.
Fire Door Responsibility – Fire Safety Order 2005
The Fire Safety Order 2005 meant employers, property owners, building owners, and facilities managers can be Responsible Persons. It is the responsibility of this person to keep people safe and ensure the building, and its fire protection elements, are up to standard. Among the multiple responsibilities of the person in charge, they must enforce that there is a safe passage for the employees or building users in case of a fire.
The escape routes must be as fast as possible, unhindered, and safe from the fire. Maintenance for fire doors must include looking for gaps in the frame where smoke could seep through (less than 4mm when closed on the sides of the door and 8mm on the bottom is permissible). Also, they should check the fixing and condition of hinges to ensure effective opening and closing mechanisms, and verify intumescent seals are intact. As there is no legal requirement for certification or qualification of installers, maintenance and proactive Responsible Persons can make the difference between ineffective, non-compliant fire doors and safe fire doors.
The Fire Door Placement – Building Regulations
Fire Doors must be situated in a range of premises from the shape, size, and design of the building. These will all affect how many fire doors are needed. The overall placement of fire doors in commercial properties is determined by the Fire Safety Order 2005, within Approved Document B: 2006.
Instructions on fire doors within non-domestic buildings depend on whether escape routes are horizontal (i.e., corridors) or vertical (i.e., stairs). See Approved Document B for full guidance. Although, some domestic properties are legally required to include fire doors. In homes more than two-storey high, there must be a fire door separating each liveable room from the stairwell. Fire doors are mandatory for a house with two stories and a garage. However, fire doors are legally required in homes with multiple occupations.
Fire Safety Products
Hinge and Lock Paper – The hinge and lock paper is essential for fire-rated doors because the intumescent paper expands on being heated and protects the door furniture from overheating. The paper is easily cut to fit locks, door closures, screws, and hinges of a fire-rated door.
Draft Seals – Intumescent fire door seals and smoke seals are installed into a rebate on the dire door frame so when the door is heated, the intumescent paper expands and fills the gaps with a flame-tight seal for 30 – 60 minutes. The fire door seal is essential for the workplace, to protect employees as it gives people enough time to escape.
The Fire Rated Acrylic Sealant – Is a ready to use sealant. The sealant is used on fire walls or partitions when maintained. The intumescent qualities allow the material to char and swell under heat conditions, producing a fire, and smoke resistance seal.
The Face Fix Doors – Face fix doors provide a physical barrier, as well as a visual deterrent, whilst looking professional and neat.