News & Events

Why Are Fire-Rated Doors Important?

13th September 2023

What is the Purpose of a Fire Door?

Fire-rated doors play a pivotal role in preventing the spread of fire and smoke, protecting lives and property, and providing safe evacuation routes in case of emergencies. These specialised doors are designed to compartmentalise a building, creating barriers to impede the spread of fire, and slowing down its progress, providing occupants with valuable time to evacuate safely. Indeed, fire doors save lives, making them an essential component of any building’s safety measures.

Constructed from fire-resistant materials such as:

  • timber
  • glass fire doors
  • steel
  • gypsum
  • vermiculite boards

An office fire door can withstand fire for a minimum of 30 minutes, while a steel fire door can withstand fire for up to 240 minutes or more.

Fire proof doors are legally required for all non-domestic properties, blocks of flats and houses of multiple occupation. A responsible person must be appointed to manage all of the fire safety precautions of a business and reduce the risks of any fire spreading.

Passive Fire Protection

An essential component of a building’s passive fire protection system, fire-rated doors work alongside fire alarms and other safety measures to ensure safety during a fire. These doors typically have a fire-resistance rating of 30 minutes (FD30) or 60 minutes (FD60), which are crucial fire safety precautions in buildings.

When replacing a fire-resistant door, it is imperative to use a fire door designed to withstand fire for the specified duration. The label on fire doors provides essential information, including the manufacturer, date of manufacture, and fire rating.

Compartmentalisation

Compartmentalisation is a key aspect of fire-rated doors, as they divide a building into sections to limit the spread of fire and smoke. Acting as fire breaks, these doors restrict the propagation of fire and smoke, offering overall fire safety in conjunction with:

Fire alarms

Fire extinguishers

Fire sprinkler systems

Fire-resistant walls and ceilings

It is crucial to ensure that the fire door’s windows or glazing are tested and installed by a specialist in compliance with fire safety regulations.

What Type of Fire Door Do I Need?

The types of fire doors required in any building are determined by the fire risk assessment. This is an in-depth review of the premises, which will highlight any fire risks and make recommendations to reduce overall risk. These recommendations include types of internal fire doors to use and where they should be placed.

FD30 (Fire Door 30 minutes) are typically manufactured from solid wood and are available in a range of finishes. FD30 doors are the most popular and are typically installed in low-rise buildings and offices where speedy fire evacuations are a possibility. FD60 doors need to be 54mm thick and are typically fitted in high-rise buildings where evacuations will take longer. An FD240 is a steel fire door offering four hours of protection. Typically FD240 doors are fitted in basements, schools, industrial environments and commercial buildings.

There is a wide variety of external fire doors and internal fire doors available to suit any aesthetic. These include fully glazed reception doors, wooden FD30 and FD60 exterior fire doors and steel doors.

Fire Door Components and Features

Fire-rated doors are much more than just a door leaf; they include essential components like smoke seals, intumescent strips, and fire-rated hardware. Regular inspection and maintenance of these components are critical for ensuring the door’s longevity and proper functioning, ultimately helping to save lives in the event of a fire.

Door Leaf

The door leaf is the large, swinging panel that is typically attached to the door frame, and it serves as the primary component of a fire door. Constructed from materials such as wood, metal, or composite materials, door leaf designs are designed to provide a specified fire resistance period of time, typically 30 minutes or more.

To be considered fire-rated, door leaf must meet certain fire safety standards and regulations.

Smoke Seals and Intumescent Strips

Smoke seals and intumescent strips play a vital role in sealing gaps between the door and frame, preventing the spread of smoke and flames. Smoke seals are designed to fill gaps between the door and frame to prevent smoke passage, while intumescent seals expand upon exposure to high temperatures in order to impede the spread of flames and smoke.

These components, acting as fire safety devices, are essential in maintaining the door’s performance during a fire.

Fire-Rated Hardware

Fire-rated hardware refers to components and accessories installed on fire doors to maintain their fire-resistant properties. These include:

Hinges

Locks

Latches

Other door hardware that has been tested for fire resistance and is specifically designed for use on fire doors

These components ensure the door’s structural integrity during a fire, maintaining the fire-resistant integrity of the door assembly.

Adherence to legal requirements and regulations is essential to ensure the effectiveness and reliability of fire-rated doors in terms of installation, maintenance, and inspection.

Legal Requirements and Regulations

Legal requirements and regulations govern the installation, maintenance, and inspection of fire-rated doors to ensure their effectiveness and reliability. In England, Fire Safety Regulations 2022 require periodic inspections of fire doors in multi-occupied residential buildings that are taller than 11 metres. These inspections must be completed regularly in order to ensure compliance with the law. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers all other fire safety regulations for business and domestic premises.

Proper fire door installation, including the decision to install fire doors and maintenance of fire-rated doors, is crucial for their performance during a fire and should be carried out by qualified professionals.

Installation and Maintenance

Proper installation and maintenance of fire-rated doors are crucial for their performance during a fire and should be carried out by qualified professionals. It is important that fire doors are regularly maintained to ensure their longevity and proper functioning, ultimately helping to save lives in the event of a fire. It's recommended to inspect fire doors every three months.

In case of damage, it is possible to repair fire doors if the damage is minor and does not affect their fire-resistant properties, but it is advisable to consult with a fire safety expert to determine the extent of damage and the best course of action.

Inspection and Certification

Alongside regular inspection and certification, manufacturers are required to have the design of their fire doors and frames evaluated together as a unit at an accredited fire door testing centre to comply with stringent industry standards. These fire product testing regulations were updated in November 2019, following the Grenfell inquiry.

Customisation and Aesthetics

Fire-rated doors can be customised to suit the architectural style and design of a building without compromising their fire-resistant properties. Various finishes, veneers, and decorative elements can be applied to fire doors, creating a visually appealing finish while still preserving the fire-resistant qualities of the door.

These doors can be designed to fit any aesthetic, from traditional to modern, and can be tailored to suit any required style.

Glazing and Windows

Fire doors can be fitted with windows or glazing such as our Fully Glazed Fire Rated Door, providing additional light and visibility. However, these must be tested and installed by a specialist to ensure they meet fire safety standards.

Glazing is the process of installing glass in windows, doors, or any other fixed openings, as well as the glass inside a window, which can be single, double, or triple-glazed.

Painting Fire Doors

Painting fire doors is possible with regular decorative paint or varnish, but care must be taken not to paint over hinges, hardware, or seals, as this can diminish the door’s fire-resistant properties. It is essential to apply the paint in thin coats to maintain the door’s efficiency and not to compromise its integrity.

Heat or chemical paint should be avoided, and it is crucial to adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines and best practices for painting fire doors.

Fire Door Best Practices

To ensure the overall safety of a building during a fire, it is crucial to follow fire door best practices, which include regular inspections, proper installation and maintenance, and adherence to fire safety regulations. The label on fire doors serves as an essential source of information for building owners, operators, and occupiers, providing details on the manufacturer, date of manufacture, and fire rating, which can help ensure proper compliance and maintenance.

These labels are also important for ensuring that the fire door is suitable for the intended purpose.

Summary

In conclusion, fire-rated doors are an essential component of a building’s fire safety strategy, offering passive fire protection and compartmentalisation to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Proper installation, maintenance, and inspection are crucial for the doors’ effectiveness, and adherence to legal requirements and regulations ensures their reliability. Customisation and aesthetics can be incorporated without compromising their fire-resistant properties, providing both style and safety.

Remember, fire doors save lives. By understanding the importance of fire-rated doors and following best practices, you can contribute to a safer environment for everyone in your building.

Get in touch with Security Direct today to discuss your glazed and steel fire door requirements.

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