A Guide To
Fire Door Regulations

Fire Doors Save Lives!

A Short Guide to Fire Door Regulations: Ensuring Safety and Compliance

Fire-resistant doors are critical components of any building, playing a vital role in preventing the spread of fire, heat, and smoke. These protective barriers serve to limit the impact of fire accidents, allowing occupants ample time to evacuate safely. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore fire door regulations to help you prioritise the safety of yourself, your staff, visitors, and your business.

The compartmentalisation of buildings is a key strategy in delaying the spread of fire between different areas. Within these compartments, fire-resistant doors act as sealed barriers. Carefully designed timber fire doors effectively slow down the progression of flames and smoke, while ensuring minimal disruption to the movement of people and goods.

When it comes to workplaces, commercial properties, and non-domestic premises, the responsibility for fire door maintenance and compliance lies with the designated “responsible person.” This can be the property owner or the individual in control of the premises for trading purposes. Examples of responsible persons include business owners, landlords, facilities managers, employees, risk assessors, and building managers.

To ensure the highest level of safety and compliance, it is imperative to conduct a thorough fire risk assessment. Seeking professional assistance in navigating fire prevention regulations is highly recommended, as experts can provide valuable guidance and support.

By understanding and adhering to fire door regulations, you demonstrate a commitment to safeguarding lives and property within your premises. Prioritise fire safety, mitigate risks and establish a secure environment for all those who work or visit your building.

Remember, the information in this guide serves as a starting point for your journey towards fire safety excellence. Continuously stay informed about updates in fire door regulations and consult with professionals to maintain a proactive and compliant approach.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire safety) Order 2005: Fire Door Inspections

Under Regulation 38, regular audits must be conducted on all fire-resistant doors in the building. For standard occupancy, perform these inspections every six months. In busy buildings, increase the frequency to every three months. Ensure proper documentation by logging the date, time, work details, and inspection results.

Complying with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is crucial for maintaining a safe environment. Prioritise fire door checks and meticulous record-keeping to ensure the safety of occupants.

Stay proactive and uphold high standards of fire door upkeep and inspection to create a secure and compliant space.

Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022

Introducing the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022: It is now more crucial than ever to prioritise fire door checks. These regulations emphasise the importance of regular inspections to guarantee the safety of occupants. By adhering to the new regulations and conducting routine checks, you create a secure environment and contribute to the overall fire safety of your premises. Stay informed, stay compliant, and keep everyone protected.

Stay informed, stay compliant, and keep everyone protected.

Is Your Door A Fire Door?

Doors

When assessing if a door qualifies as a fire-resistant door, it generally refers to the fire door leaf, which is the primary component of a fire door assembly or doorset.

To function correctly during a fire, the door leaf is installed within a flame-retardant frame and equipped with essential ironmongery.

It’s important to note that older panel doors, particularly those less than 44mm thick, are unlikely to meet the FD30 standard.

Hollow flush doors constructed with materials like egg box are not FD30 compliant. You can discern this by considering the weight of the door, as fire-resistant doors are considerably heavier than hollow doors. To gauge the weight, detach the self-closer and gently swing the door between your thumb and index finger. This will provide a good indication of the door’s weight. Using this method, it is relatively easy to identify hollow doors.

Remember, the door undergoes testing as a complete assembly or doorset and will only function properly if installed with compatible components as used during the testing process.

By understanding these factors, you can effectively determine if a door qualifies as a fire-resistant door, ensuring the utmost safety and compliance within your premises.

Fire door diagram

Closing Device

Fire doors are fitted with automatic closing devices, commonly known as fire door closers. These devices ensure that fire doors close automatically after they have been opened. Spring-loaded self-closing hinges are often used, and concealed Perko door closers with chains may also be employed to enhance the closing mechanism.

Self closing devices

Hinges

Given the weight of fire doors and the need to prevent warping, they are typically fitted with three fire door hinges. This configuration ensures stability and proper functioning. However, according to the current BS EN standard, certain circumstances permit the use of only two hinges. It is advisable to refer to the documentation supplied with the fire door to obtain specific information regarding the recommended number of hinges.

Intumescent Strips and Cold Smoke Seals

Fire Door Seals or Fire and Smoke Seals

Intumescent fire door seals are vital components of a fire-resisting doorset. These seals are installed on the vertical and horizontal members (sides and head) of the door. They can be inserted into grooves cut into the door or frame or applied as surface-mounted seals. When exposed to temperatures exceeding 200°C, usually around 10-15 minutes into a fire, the intumescent seal expands and effectively closes the gaps between the door and frame, restricting the passage of smoke and flames.

In addition to fire, the spread of smoke poses a significant threat to life and property, particularly in the early stages of a fire. To address this, fire doors may require the installation of ‘cold smoke’ seals, which prevent smoke ingress around the door edges. These specific fire doors are typically referred to as FDS fire doors. However, exceptions exist where the intentional leakage of smoke is necessary for early fire detection. For maximum convenience, combined smoke and intumescent seals are available.

Fire Resisting Glazing

Glazing in fire doors can range from small vision panels to large glazed screens, allowing for maximum light transmission and safety. Ordinary glass is prone to cracking and falling out when exposed to heat, which makes it inadequate for fire-resistant purposes. Fire-resisting glass, on the other hand, can withstand exposure to the heat conditions of a fire for at least 60 minutes before softening. This resilience is due to the fact that clear fire-resisting glazing allows only about 50% of the incident heat to be transmitted through the glass via radiation.

To delay the ignition of beading for a minimum of 30 minutes, it is customary to secure fire-resistant glass using a fire-resistant glazing system. This system firmly holds the glass in place during normal use. In the event of a fire, the system allows the intumescent material to expand, securely insulating the glass and protecting the surrounding timber.

Georgian wired glass

Fire Doors in homes

In commercial or non-domestic properties, strict regulations and guidelines govern the installation and performance of fire doors. These regulations ensure that the doors can withstand certain levels of heat and maintain their integrity during a fire.

Fire doors also offer significant advantages in private properties. When considering fire safety measures for your home, installing fire doors in areas with an imminent risk, such as the kitchen or rooms housing numerous electrical devices, is highly recommended. If your property is a new build, it should adhere to regulations that mandate the use of fire doors in specific areas. To confirm compliance, consult the property developer or relevant authorities.

It is important to note that approximately 42% of deaths during house fires are attributed to smoke inhalation rather than direct contact with flames. Therefore, it is advisable to look for fire doors equipped with cold smoke seals, which are incorporated within the intumescent seal. These seals effectively restrict the passage of smoke, offering enhanced protection during a fire.

Conclusion

Fire doors are indispensable safety features that save lives and protect property.

30 second fire door checklist

Fire door checklist
  1. Does the door close soundly against the frame?
  2. Are intumescent strips and/or smoke seals present and in good condition?
  3. Is the edge of the door or frame damaged?
  4. Does the latch engage properly?
  5. Are there any gaps larger than 3mm between the frame and the door?
  6. Is the gap at the bottom of the door greater than 10mm or 3mm on a smoke control door?
  7. Are there a minimum of three hinges and do they look in good condition?
  8. Does the door have the correct signage on it?
  9. If there is glazing in the door, does it look in good condition?
  10. Does the door closer (if fitted) close the door properly from all angles?
  11. Is the door wedged or stuck open?

Fire Door Standards

British Standards
Description
BS 476: – 20: 1987
Fire tests on building materials and structures. Methods for determination of the fire resistance of elements of construction (general principles)
BS 476 – 22: 1987
Fire tests on building materials and structures. Methods for determination of the fire resistance of non-loadbearing elements of construction
BS 476: – 23: 1987
Fire tests on building materials and structures. Methods for the determination of the contribution of components to the fire resistance of a structure
BS 476: – 31.1: 1983
Fire tests on building materials and structures. Method of measuring smoke penetration through doorset and shutter assemblies. Method of measurement under ambient temperature conditions
BS 8214: 2016
Code of practice for fire door assemblies
BS EN 1634-1: 2014 + A1: 2018
Fire resistance and smoke control tests for door, shutter and openable window assemblies and elements of building hardware. Fire resistance tests for doors, shutters and openable windows which is an alternative for BS 476 – 22: 1987
BS 8529: 2010
Code of practice for the extended application of fire performance of doorsets and shutter assemblies
BS 9999: 2017
Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management, and use of buildings

Please note that this article provides basic easy-to-understand guidance on fire safety provisions and the key fire safety information required to comply with legislation. Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. We aim to assist you to understand the fire-related terms within your Fire Risk Assessment.  It does not provide detailed technical guidance on all fire safety provisions, and you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.

Fire Risk Consultancy Services have the knowledge and experience to assist your business to comply with all legal requirements surrounding fire safety including legislation. Be sure to read our accompanying guides: Fire Alarm System Types, Fire Extinguishers, Emergency Lighting, Fire Safety Signs, also published on this site. 

Please take a moment to have a look around our website where you will find related articles and guides to all the services we can provide your business with, from providing fire risk assessments, fire safety training, fire door survey, advisory services to Articles on Fire Safety Provisions and our Top Fire Safety Tips!