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How Do I Know If I Have A Compliant Fire Door?

Leading Framework Legislation relating to fire doors

While the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (‘the 2005 legislation’) is still in effect, subsequent legislation relating to fire safety has since been introduced, and expand upon the 2005 legislation which is The Fire Safety Act 2021 and The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022. Building regulation differ depending upon the type of building, composition of building and height of building.

Intervening Legislation altering the nature of a compliant fire door

The Fire Safety Act 2021 came into force on 12 May 2022. It provided that a fire safety risk assessment must be carried out by a responsible person (a Responsible Person is defined in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005), and should include all doors between domestic premises and the common parts.

Prior to the Fire Safety Act 2021, flat entrance doors in multi-occupied residential buildings may not have been routinely considered as part of the fire risk assessment process. The Act itself confirmed that these are in the scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

There is a difference between the modern fire doors and the older types of doors, which some are referred to as “Notional fire doors”. The existing doors may have met earlier standards of manufacture and legislation, but it may now render them unfit for purpose.

Fire door requirements

Under the current building regulations and legislation, fire doors are required to be FD30s. This means that the requirement for structural integrity to be maintained for a minimum of 30 minutes in the event of a fire, and applies to the door and frame itself as well. Building Regulations require that the door to a flat be FD30S. This means that the fire door (FD) has minimum 30 minutes (30) of fire resistance, and is also smoke sealed (S).

For every fire door installed, you would be provided with confirmation of testing by way of the door’s test certification by looking for British Standard (BS) 476 Part 22 or the European equivalent BS EN 1634 Part 1. There are recommendations that fire doors should be checked every 6 – 12 months and you can refer to the BWF-Certifire Scheme or BM Trada Q-Mark scheme for details on the fire door certification scheme. This extends to the ironmongery or letterbox.

Identifying a fire door without a sticker

A fire door has a number of characteristics that would indicate whether or not it is a fire door. These are the same characteristics that an individual carrying out an inspection would check for to ensure a fire door is compliant.

Modern doors are equipped with intumescent strips and cold smoke seals. Older ‘notional’ doors may not have these fitted, and are often fitted into frames with a 1 inch or 25 mm door stop.

With respect to the specific characteristics:

Gaps – The gaps around the tops and sides of the door should be less than 4mm.

Structure – the door should be solid timber. If the door sounds hollow when knocked, it is unlikely to be a compliant fire door. In addition, the door and frame should be compatible.

Letterbox – if there is a letterbox on the door, it must be either solid metal or certified fire-resistant material. It cannot be aluminium.

Intumescent Seals – The seal must be heat-sensitive, preventing the spread of fire and smoke by swelling when warmed – consequently sealing the gap between door and frame. Check the frame and door profile for a thin intumescent strip running down the middle.

Hinges – There should be a minimum of 3mm.

Closing Mechanism – The door should close itself firmly from a halfway-open position and should not stick.

It is possible for a fire door to have glass in it and still be compliant. However, the glass would have to be fire-rated glass. Fire-rated glass must have what is known as an E30 rating, which means that in the event of a fire, the glass will maintain its structural integrity for a minimum of 30 minutes. The glass or glazing used must be fitted by a trained and competent individual, and should be marked with either a recognised trademark or marked with BS476-22 glass meets the requirement.

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