Why Are Fire Doors Required?

If you own, manage or run a commercial business, residential building or any kind of public premises, it’s your responsibility to ensure it has all the necessary fire safety precautions in place.

In addition to fire alarms and fire extinguishers, it’s also essential that your building has fire doors in place. In fact, it’s a legal requirement for all businesses, commercial premises and public buildings to have fire doors installed and properly maintained. 

In this article, the team here at Millennium Fire Protection will outline everything you need to know about internal fire doors, why they’re necessary and the fire door regulations you must adhere to.    

What are fire doors?

Fire doors play a crucial role when it comes to keeping people and property safe in the event of a fire. They’re primarily designed to keep a fire in one place, compartmentalising the blaze and allowing people the opportunity to safely and swiftly evacuate the building. By keeping the fire in one place, it is also limiting the supply of oxygen to the blaze, potentially slowing its growth. 

These products often come with seals on the edges and along the bottom of the doors to stop harmful smoke from escaping into corridors and other rooms.

Most fire doors are manufactured to prevent a fire for between 30 minutes and one hour depending on the type you have installed. 

Where are fire doors required?

While not all internal doors need to be fire doors, it’s important to recognise where they’re necessary. 

Due to the vital role they play in preventing the spread of fire, fire doors should be installed in all doorways that lead to escape routes.

In blocks of flats or houses of multiple occupation (HMO), fire doors are necessary at the entrance point of any communal areas. For example, the front door of every flat must be a fire door. 

As well as this, any room that contains hazardous substances that could trigger a fire should have a fire door in place. This could include IT server rooms, boiler rooms or rooms that store flammable substances.      

Fire door checks 

According to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, business owners, building managers and landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure their premises are safe. This includes having the correct fire safety products in place. 

It’s not enough to just have fire doors installed — because of their importance, regular fire door inspections are also necessary. Fire doors should be inspected at least once every six months by a competent and responsible person within your organisation.

When carrying out fire door inspections, make sure to check the following:

  1. Fire door labels – All modern doors will come with a label on the top or side of the door that states it’s a certified fire door. If the fire door is not certified, then it may not meet fire door regulations, meaning those within the property are not safe. Older fire doors may not feature these labels, but a fire safety company will be able to inform you if it is safe or not. Many fire doors also come with wired glass windows, but if clear windows are installed they should feature an etched marking (usually in the corner) that will confirm the glass is fire resistant. 
  2. Measure the gaps – Fire doors are designed to contain a fire for as long as possible, and any gaps must be less than 4mm in order to efficiently do this. As part of your inspection, you should measure these gaps to ensure they’re the appropriate size. You can use a £1 coin to do this, as they’re around 3mm. If the gaps are too big or uneven, you may need a replacement. 
  3. Check the door seals – The seals on fire doors are important in order to prevent smoke from escaping a room. If seals are damaged, people could be at risk and it’s important to replace seals as soon as possible if this has occurred.
  4. Make sure it fully closes – Test that the door fully closes by opening it and letting it shut by itself. A fully working fire door will swing shut itself, but if it doesn’t, or stops halfway, then it won’t be effective at preventing a fire from spreading. Fire doors should also never be propped or forced open by you or your staff. If a fire occurs and a door has been purposely kept open, it will not be able to stop the spread.
  5. Check hinges – Make sure all your fire doors’ hinges are in good working order. If hinges are not fully fixed to the door, have missing or broken screws or are dirty or leaking, the integrity of the entire door will be compromised. If you notice any faults with the hinges, you must address them immediately. 

At Millennium Fire Protection, we provide a whole host of fire door services across Harrow, Ealing, Watford and beyond. This includes fire door inspections and repair and replacements. If you require fire door installation or any other fire safety product or service, we’re here to help. Get in touch with our team today to find out more.