Who Is Responsible for the Fire Doors in a Building?
Fire doors are an integral part of a complete passive fire door system. When installed, monitored and maintained in compliance with legislation they will provide optimum deterrent to the spread of fire in a building and ultimately saving lives and minimising risks for building owners.
Legislation dictates that the building owner is responsible and must provide documented evidence of certified installation and a regular maintenance schedule.
Why Use a Certified Surveyor / Installer for Your Fire Doors?
By using a certified company, you are ensured that the survey/service uses only certified and tested products and the service is supported by documented and certified evidence that the installation complies with legislation.
Definition of a Fire Door
Appendix B of the building Regulations B Car defines a “Fire Door” as follows:
B1 A fire door is a door or shutter, provided for the passage of persons, air or objects, which together with its frame and furniture as installed in a building is intended when closed to resist the passage of fire and/or gaseous products of combustion, and is capable of meeting specified performance criteria to those ends.
Total Solution for Fire Doors in a Building
A responsible building owner will include the following approach to monitoring and maintaining fire doors in their buildings.
- Surveying all fire doors to ensure compliance with legislation
- Upgrading and installation of new fire doors as identified in the survey.
- Subscribing to a maintenance programme that will ensure ongoing compliance with legislation
Fire Doors Surveying
It is important to realise, when surveying a Fire Door that it includes an inspection of the complete door assembly which includes:
- The door Leaf
- The door frame
- Ironmongery (hinges, latches, closers)
- Door Seals
A checklist will include:
- Check if the Door is a fire door
This is usually indicated with a tag on the door, applied by the manufacturer
The door should have signage that indicates to users that it is a fire door
All door Hinges, Locks, latches and ironmongery should be working correctly and installed in compliance with manufacturers tested instructions by certified installers. Fire doors require a minimum of 3 hinges, with no missing screws to ensure it operates correctly and must be CE marked.
Gaps around the doors should not exceed 2mm – 4mm.
- Intumescent strips and smoke seals
a. Seals must be sufficient to operate as designed to expand and seal gaps and prevent smoke and toxic gases escaping – please see the image on this page.
b. Intumescent Strips should be fitted as per manufacturers tested instructions. These strips will react in the case of a fire to expand and seal to the fire door and will delay the escape of smoke and toxic gases.
c. Drop seals and brushes
d. Once fitted by experienced installers in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, these will again deter the spread of fire.
- Mechanical Door Closers
a. Must be a certified door closer and fitted as per manufacturer’s recommendations and testing
b. Fire doors should never be left in the open position, unless it is fitted with a ‘hold open’ device. A mechanical door closer will ensure the door will automatically close the door. Only certified closers that are tested for the specific fire door should be used. These closers should be monitored to ensure that they operate as intended.
- Mechanical ‘hold open’ devices
These units are fitted to doors to facilitate the mechanical “hold open” feature on a fire door and ensure it automatically closes as required by legislation.
Maintenance of Your Fire Doors
Once a survey is completed by a certified installer the building owner is then responsible to engage a certified installer to carry out the required new installations/ upgrades to comply with the legislation.
Using a certified installer will guarantee that the works will be carried out in compliance with their certification and legislation. i.e., BMTRARA 3rd Party
Certification. It will also guarantee that materials used in the installations/ maintenance will always be tested to BS 476 Pt 22 or BS EN 1634 standard ensuring optimum performance in the tested environment.
Data Sheets for all certified and tested products used in the installation will be supplied to the owner along with the installers’ cert for their certifying body.
Ongoing Fire Doors Maintenance
A building owner, having invested expenditure in carrying out the above works to a certified standard, would be prudent in continuing to protect this investment by employing an ongoing maintenance programme to maintain the standard and upkeep of the fire doors in their building.
Certified surveyors and installers will use industry specific software to document all of the above works completed as per the survey.
They will be in the best position to monitor and inspect the works they have completed for any further remedial works required, due to wear and tear or user abuse. This will ensure continued compliance with legislation and ultimate safety for the users of the building.