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Is Your Business Compliant with the UK's Fire Door Regulations?

4th January 2024

Understanding UK Fire Door Regulations

Fire rated doors are instrumental in halting the spread of fire and smoke, protecting both people and property. In the UK, various fire door regulations apply to different contexts, such as new or existing buildings, and commercial or residential properties. For example, fire doors are mandated in all non-domestic properties, including businesses, commercial premises, and public buildings, along with blocks of flats and Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs). The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 further emphasises the importance of fire doors in communal areas of buildings, such as HMOs and blocks of flats, with specific regulations in place for fire doors in commercial or non-domestic properties.

A comprehensive fire risk assessment is required to keep your business in line with fire safety regulations. This process helps identify the need for fire doors, as well as any potential fire hazards within your premises. By understanding and implementing the necessary fire safety measures, you can minimise the risk of fire and ensure the safety of your building’s occupants. Regular fire risk assessments can further enhance the effectiveness of these measures.

The Role of the Responsible Person

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 mandates the appointment of a ‘Responsible Person’ to oversee the necessary fire safety measures in a building. This includes making sure correct fire door regulations are adhered to. The Responsible Person has a legal obligation to ensure fire doors are in:

  • A maintained in an efficient state
  • Working order
  • Good repair
  • Compliance with the necessary building regulations.

One of the key responsibilities of the Responsible Person is to conduct regular fire door inspections, as outlined in Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations, helping to ensure that fire doors remain in proper working order and meet the required fire safety standards. A proactive approach and rigorous maintenance and inspection of fire doors can help businesses foster a secure and regulation-compliant environment for their occupants.

Fire Risk Assessment Importance

Identifying the need for fire doors and ensuring compliance with fire safety regulations necessitates a comprehensive fire risk assessment. The assessment should consider the potential fire hazards within the premises, as well as the individuals who may be at risk. Once these factors have been identified, the appropriate fire safety measures can be implemented, including the installation of fire doors in key areas, such as exit routes and rooms with a higher risk of fire.

Cold smoke seals, which are part of the intumescent seal in fire doors, play a vital role in preventing the spread of smoke during a fire. It’s estimated that 42% of fatalities during house fires are due to smoke inhalation rather than direct exposure to flames. By conducting a thorough fire risk assessment and addressing the need for fire doors and smoke seals, businesses can significantly improve safety and ensure compliance with fire safety regulations.

Fire Door Ratings

Understanding fire door ratings is essential for ensuring the safety and protection of buildings and their occupants in case of a fire emergency. These ratings are a numerical representation of a fire door's ability to withstand the destructive forces of a fire. Typically expressed in minutes, FD30 Fire Doors, FD60 Fire Doors or FD90 Fire Doors, the rating indicates the door's capacity to resist the spread of fire and smoke. The higher the number, the longer the door can maintain its integrity and act as a barrier against flames and heat. This crucial information guides architects, builders, and safety professionals in selecting the appropriate fire doors for specific areas within a building, based on the fire hazards and the required protection. Proper comprehension of fire door ratings is vital for ensuring that the right doors are installed, maintained, and used in accordance with safety regulations, ultimately saving lives and reducing property damage during fire incidents.

Key Components of Compliant Fire Doors

A compliant internal fire door is much more than just a door leaf. It’s a carefully designed system, including the door leaf, certified fire door frame, and ironmongery, that works together to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. All components must be compatible and tested together to ensure the fire door will operate correctly during a fire. In the UK, fire doors must adhere to specific standards, such as BS 476-22:1987 or BS EN1634-1:2014, providing fire protection to the building occupants.

Recognising that the overall fire resistance of a door is determined by the combined performance of each component in a fire-resistant door is vital. Ensuring your fire doors are fitted with the correct components and maintained in good working order is crucial for compliance with fire safety regulations and the overall safety of your building.

Closing Devices

Fire doors, including internal fire doors, must be fitted with automatic closing devices, such as self-closing hinges or door closers, to ensure they close automatically after being opened. In the UK, fire doors are generally required to be fitted with a self-closing device in accordance with the BS EN1154 standard, with a few exceptions, such as fire doors leading to service ducts or locked cupboards.

To verify their proper functioning, regular checks of self-closing devices are required. Failing to maintain these devices can result in fire doors remaining open, rendering them ineffective in preventing the spread of fire and smoke.

Fire Door Seals

Intumescent and cold smoke seals are vital for fire-resisting doorsets, preventing the passage of smoke and flames. Surface-mounted seals can be quickly and easily fitted to doors and frames. Alternatively, grooves can be cut into the door or frame for a more secure fit.

Cold smoke seals, in particular, are designed to:

  • Prevent smoke ingress around the door edges
  • Reduce the risk of spread of smoke

Installing fire door seals as per the manufacturer’s instructions is necessary to ensure their proper fit and the correct gap between the door and frame. Proper installation and maintenance of fire door seals contribute to the effectiveness of the fire door in preventing the spread of fire and smoke, helping businesses maintain compliance with fire safety regulations.

Fire Exit Doors for Businesses

Fire exit doors are a critical aspect of fire safety in commercial buildings, enabling individuals to evacuate the building quickly and easily in the event of an emergency. In addition to the requirements for fire doors discussed earlier, fire exit doors have specific requirements, such as specifications, panic hardware, and signage, which must be met to ensure compliance with fire safety regulations.

Regular inspection and maintenance of fire exit doors, in accordance with UK regulations, is necessary to ensure their effectiveness. Ensuring that fire exit doors are in proper working order, free of obstructions, and clearly marked with illuminated signs and/or stickers can help minimise fatalities and casualties resulting from fire-related incidents.

Panic Hardware

Panic hardware is required on fire exit doors to provide easy egress in case of an emergency. In accordance with the British Standard BS EN 1125:1997, panic hardware, such as panic bars or push pads, should be installed on fire exit doors to facilitate rapid and convenient exit.

Inspecting panic hardware regularly is necessary for it to function properly and comply with fire safety regulations. By maintaining panic hardware in good working order and adhering to the relevant British Standard, businesses can provide a safe and efficient means of escape for occupants in the event of a fire.

Fire Exit Signage

Fire Exit Door


Fire exits must be clearly marked and free of obstructions to ensure a quick and safe evacuation during an emergency. In the UK, fire exit signs must comply with the BS 5499 Pt 4:2000 standard and be placed directly above the exit opening or in a place where they are easily visible and not obstructed.

Proper placement of fire exit signs is crucial for guiding occupants to the nearest exit in case of an emergency. Adherence to fire exit signage guidelines can help businesses create a safer environment for occupants while maintaining compliance with fire safety regulations.

Ensuring Adequate Fire Exits

The number and placement of fire exits in a building are influenced by factors such as the number of occupants, building capacity, and distance between exits. According to UK government guidelines, one fire exit is necessary for up to 60 persons, two fire exit doors for up to 600 persons, and a minimum of three fire exits for more than 600 people.

To ensure adequate fire exits, businesses should consider the placement of fire exits in relation to escape routes, as well as the distance between exits, which should not exceed 18 metres if there is only one escape route or 12 meters if there is only one escape route. By taking these factors into account, businesses can provide a safe environment for occupants and maintain compliance with fire safety regulations.

Fire Door Inspection and Maintenance

Efficiency and compliance with fire safety regulations require regular inspection and maintenance of fire doors. For standard occupancy, fire door inspections should be conducted every six months, while busy buildings may require more frequent inspections, such as every three months.

During inspections, it’s important to evaluate the condition of the door, frame, hardware, and seals, as well as any defects or issues identified. Proper documentation of fire door inspections and maintenance, including the date, time, work details, and inspection results, should be maintained to demonstrate compliance with fire safety regulations.

Documentation Requirements

Proper documentation of fire door inspections and fire door maintenance is necessary to demonstrate compliance with fire safety regulations. In the UK, it is recommended that fire door inspections in communal areas be conducted every 3 months, and fire doors in individual flats or units be inspected at least once a year. Documentation should include the date, time, work details, and inspection results.

Keeping accurate and current records of fire door inspections and maintenance allows businesses to remain proactive in guaranteeing fire door compliance and occupant safety. It’s crucial to keep these records for at least one year, as per the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, to ensure adherence to regulations.

Legal Consequences of Non-Compliance

Failing to comply with fire exit door regulations can result in severe legal consequences for businesses, including fines, penalties, and even imprisonment. In recent years, there have been numerous cases where businesses were fined or penalised for non-compliance with fire door regulations.

Businesses must adhere to fire door regulations and prioritise fire door checks and maintenance to avoid such legal repercussions. Proactive maintenance and upholding high standards of fire door inspection are essential in ensuring occupants are in a safe and compliant space. Not doing so could lead to disastrous consequences.

Tips for Ensuring Fire Door Compliance

Adherence to several best practices is required for businesses to ensure fire door compliance. Firstly, work with licensed contractors to install and maintain fire doors, ensuring they are using approved hardware and components. Secondly, conduct regular fire door inspections and maintenance, as per the recommended frequency, to guarantee optimal performance and compliance.

Additionally, businesses should enforce a strict policy of keeping fire doors closed and not propping them open, as this can render them ineffective in preventing the spread of fire and smoke. Lastly, providing fire safety training to employees can help raise awareness of the importance of fire door compliance and ensure that everyone plays their part in maintaining a safe environment.

Summary

In conclusion, ensuring fire door compliance is an essential aspect of maintaining a safe environment for occupants and protecting businesses from legal consequences. By understanding the UK fire door regulations, implementing the necessary fire safety measures, and conducting regular inspections and maintenance, businesses can uphold high standards of fire safety and create a secure space for all. It’s time to take action and ensure your business is compliant with fire door regulations, safeguarding the well-being of both your occupants and your business.

For more information, speak to one of our security specialists here at Security Direct.

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