All modern buildings that are built or refurbished have a legal requirement to provide a fire safety plan. This is the case for multi-occupant buildings of a domestic nature, commercial and large retail spaces, schools, universities and hospitals. If you are responsible for the management of fire safety in a building it is vital that you have chosen the correct type of fire doors for your specific purposes and location.

With fire doors specifically it isn’t just good enough to purchase and install any fire door. There are a few different conditions that you should look out for, and by speaking to fire door specialists they can advise you on what works best in terms of fire safety when it comes to your particular building and its use. A fire door in the emergency section of a hospital will look different to a fire door used in a block of student flats. Despite this, they have to be of a certain quality, and a standard high enough that helps to prevent the spread of fire, smoke and gases, and helps to provide an effective escape route in the worst circumstances where a fire has broken out in a building.

There is a legal requirement that a fire door comes to you with a proof of standard from the supplier. This proof of standard relates to its ability to resist the spread of fire as stated above. The manufacturer of a fire door must be able to demonstrate that the manufacturing process adheres to all strict guidelines from the industry and that they have gone through rigorous and high standards of testing procedures.

If you have this, and you have fire doors installed within your property, it is important that you regularly inspect and investigate whether the fire doors are functioning to a high enough standard. If they are not you will be legally obliged to either repair or replace the fire doors in order to keep the occupants safe.

The first thing to look for is the label or certification that demonstrates that that specific fire door is legally certified and meets all industry standards and guidelines. If you cannot find this label anywhere on the door there is a good chance that the door does not meet the required standard and should be replaced.

If the design and structure of the fire door has been changed in any way, the certificate attached to it will become void. If the door appears to have been trimmed at any section, or has been amended to include the installation of any glass, or if the certification markings have been removed, the fire door is no longer up to scratch.

There will, of course, be gaps around the door. Typically there should be a gap no bigger than 2-4mm between the door and the doorframe around the sides and the top of the door. Any wider than that and smoke can pour through the gap in the worst circumstances. In terms of functionality it is important to check whether the locks, latches, hinges and closers are all in fine working order, and that they are all CE marked to prove quality.

James Noah

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