Blog Article

The Importance of Fire Doors

Fire Risk Assessments | Trident Fire Compliance
Published: 15th January 2024

Fire-rated doors are an important part of the fire precautionary measures in buildings. They are designed to subdivide the building and floor levels into separate compartments and prevent or limit the spread of fire and smoke within the building.

They are especially crucial for complex premises and escape routes, where cross corridor fire doors can be often seen. Not only this, but they also need to be functional and let pedestrian traffic move around the building with ease without compromising compartmentation. Fire-rated doors are complex and essential in so many ways but yet got under-appreciated.

Fire-rated doors are not effective by themselves. They also need to be properly maintained and checked by either the responsible person or a competent person to ensure that they work as intended in the event of emergency and that they comply with the fire risk assessment of the building. If any of the fire-rated doors are not maintained, or are not respected, the fire could spread easily from one compartment to another, causing significant damage.

The government has introduced a new regulation, the Fire Safety (England) Regulations2022, to ensure that sufficient routine checks are in place for blocks of flats above 11 metres in height. There are several guidance documents published to aid this process, such as the fire door guidance that provides a checklist and advice on how to comply with the new regulation.

We at Trident Fire Compliance can assist you with your fire-rated door needs and set a bespoke plan to ensure that the fire doors are periodically inspected in line with their usage rate and location. We can also provide you with a bill of quantity for any remedial works that may be needed after the inspection, which will help you with the tendering process and workload management.

The Common Issues

One of the common issues with fire doors is that they are often left wedged open, which defeats their purpose and creates a fire hazard.When the fire alarm sounds, in an emergency, most people will not remember to remove a wedge from the door and let it close. In that state of fight or flight, most people will make their way quickly to the nearest exit without any other consideration. They wouldn’t know (at that time) that they left that door wedged open and compromised the compartmentation strategy.

If you need to keep a fire door open for convenience or accessibility reasons, you should use a bespoke product that can hold the door open and release it automatically when a fire is detected. These products are called fire door retainers or fire door hold opens, and they are connected to the fire alarm system or a smoke detector in some way that allows them to operate without any human input. They are easy to install and use, and they ensure that fire safety is continually maintained.

Another issue with fire doors is that they may wear out or get damaged over time, especially if they are used more often due to their position/location within a building (i.e.staircase fire doors). In all cases, you should undertake a thorough assessment of the fire door, considering factors such as age, type, condition, location, frequency of usage, etc.Based on the assessment, you should decide what actions are needed, such as repairing, replacing, or upgrading the fire door, to ensure that it meets the fire safety standards and regulations.

It is imperative to consider how important fire doors are (as well as all fire compart mentation measures). They are essential in providing a safe means of escape for people in the building should a fire occur. Their purpose is to hold back the effects of fire to make it safe for people to escape, and allow the fire and rescue service to attend the site and combat the fire. They are also there for business and asset protection. By keeping these doors well maintained, and shut in a fire, fire will not be able to spread uncontrollably and will likely be contained to a confined area. This will prevent further damage to the building and it’s contents and limit the cost of repairs, and getting businesses back up and running.

It is also worth noting, that maintaining fire compartmentation adequately is a requirement by law, but also insurers. Insurance companies will want a building to be adequately fire compartmentalise and protected in a fire. If there is evidence that these systems are faulty(such as doors being wedged open), or not maintained, and fire spreads uncontrolled then there is a high chance that the insurer could refuse to pay for any repairs because compartmentation was not maintained by the building owner. If a fire causes significant damage to a building (such as spreading to multiple floors) this could be very costly to the builder owner.

Get in touch

We at Trident Fire Compliance can help you with your fire door needs and provide you with the best fire door solutions for your building. We can inspect your fire doors and advise you on how to comply with the fire safety regulations and standards. We can also advise on any remedial works that may be needed, to ensurethat your fire doors are safe and effective. Contact us today to discuss your requirements and get a free quote.

About the author

Anett Nemes

Anett is a Fire Protection Consultant at Trident, with over 10 years of experience within the property and fire safety sector. She is committed to keeping up-to-date with the latest fire safety practices and legislative changes, to ensure that our clients receive the best service and our organisation remains at the forefront of safety standards.

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