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In the realm of fire safety, one element stands out as a fundamental contributor to safety: the fire door. Where stringent regulations govern building safety, the purpose of a fire door transcends mere functionality; it is a critical component in safeguarding lives, property, and ensuring compliance.

Here are some of the benefits they can provide:

Preventing the Spread of Fire

A primary purpose is to compartmentalise the spread of fire, holding back flames and providing occupants with vital time to evacuate safely. It also allows emergency services more time to reach areas and save lives.

When is a fire-rated door required?*

Typically, the architect overseeing a project will address this question, as requirements for fire doors can vary depending on factors like building type, location, and design. Here are some instances where a fire door might be necessary and some useful links:

  • Stairway and lobby doors (between corridors and stairways): to keep these areas free from fire and smoke, ensuring safe evacuation and aiding attending firefighters during emergencies. The implementation of the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 sets out new fire door responsibilities for Responsible Persons in multi-occupied residential buildings.
  • Where a commercial or public building is a new build project or undergoing a change of use the fire doors should conform to British Standards (See Below) and the local authority building inspector may request evidence of compliance. Approved Document B contains an appendix covering fire doors and states performance requirements.
  • In existing buildings, the Regulatory Reform (Fire safety) Order 2005 applies and compliance is mandatory. It covers public buildings, places of employment, entertainment, and leisure.

* Please note that the bulleted examples provided are not exhaustive and may not apply universally. It’s important to verify and specify fire safety measures through collaboration with architects, building control authorities, fire regulations, or other relevant stakeholders.

Maintaining Escape Routes

In emergency situations, every second counts. Fire doors play a pivotal role in maintaining clear escape routes by slowing down the progress of an outbreak, allowing occupants to navigate the building and reach designated safe zones or exits. This scenario is particularly synonymous with high-occupancy structures such as schools, office blocks, hospitals, and apartment complexes, where large numbers of people may need to evacuate swiftly and orderly.

Grey stairwell door showing the purpose of a fire door

 

Promoting Peace of Mind

For building occupants, the presence of professionally installed and maintained fire doors offers invaluable peace of mind. Knowing that measures are in place to mitigate fire risks and facilitate safe evacuation instils confidence and fosters a sense of security. This psychological aspect underscores the importance of fire doors beyond their tangible functions, highlighting their role in fostering a culture of safety and preparedness.

Specifying your fire-rated door

In the event of a fire, time is of the essence. Selecting the right fire rating in line with your fire risk assessment and evacuation plans can enhance safety and protection. Here are some hints and tips:

Internal fire-rated doors

Look for doors specifically designed for internal use which are fire-rated for durations ranging from 30 to 240 minutes according to BS EN 1634-1 standards. They can be smoke-rated to BS EN 1634-3, and personnel door-sets customisable to individual specifications with options for hardware, frames, thresholds, and panels.

External fire-rated doors

Look for independently third-party tested doors which can deliver up to 3-hour fire resistance, and which are CE marked to EN 16034 and BS EN 14351-1 standards. We recommend 1.2mm galvanised steel skins which are interlocked and bonded for enhanced durability and security. Also, bear in mind they can be configured as single leaf, double leaf, or leaf and a half, providing versatility for use as both personnel and emergency exits.

In conclusion, the purpose of a fire door in the UK transcends mere functionality; it is a cornerstone of fire safety and regulatory compliance. By preventing the spread of fire, maintaining escape routes, and enhancing building resilience, fire doors play a pivotal role in safeguarding lives and property. Investing in quality fire doors and adhering to established safety standards are essential steps towards creating safer environments and mitigating the devastating impact of fire-related incidents.

For further technical help on fire-rated steel doors contact our experts on 0800 048 0780.

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