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What is a Fire-Rated Door and Do You Need One?

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Fire doors are life-saving.
These doors are designed to withstand the roaring flames and have been tested against the elements. These doors allow buildings to contain fire and slow down its spread.

Fire doors are a vital safety feature that can make the difference between life or death. Fire doors serve two important functions:

They can be closed to prevent the spread of fire.
They can be opened and used as a way to escape.

Fire safe doors are vital in protecting lives and should be inspected regularly. The frequency of inspections will depend on many factors including age and condition. A minimum of quarterly inspections may be required when the new Fire Safety Bill, as recommended by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry in Phase 1, is implemented. Worryingly the Fire Door Inspection Scheme, FDIS, recently revealed that three quarters (75%) of all fire doors inspected for 2019 were found to be unfit for purpose.

There are specific guidelines and regulations that must be followed if you have a commercial property. Because fire doors are a highly engineered fire safety device, it is important to have them fitted correctly by an experienced installer.

The 2005 Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (FSO) imposes a duty on landlords to ensure that their tenants and properties are safe. If they fail to fulfill their duties, the’responsible persons’ are legally responsible under the FSO. This responsibility includes the obligation to conduct a fire risk assessment of all non-domestic buildings.

Fire doors: Features

These are the main features you should be looking for when using your home or business.

There are many components to fire doors. Although the door is typically made of a solid timber frame and can be covered with fire-resistant glass, it can also be made from other components. The glass must be able to withstand heat for 60 minutes without melting.
The intumescent seal will be located around the edges of the door. It is designed to expand when temperatures exceed 200°C and seal any gaps between the frame and the door.
It is advisable to install fire doors in private properties, such as the kitchen or rooms that house many electrical devices. It is important that your property has been built to fire-safety standards. Fire doors are not required for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) as they currently stand.
Commercial or non-domestic property is subject to liability. The employer or the owner of the property are deemed responsible. The owner of the property or the person who has control of it for trade purposes would be responsible.
It is important to conduct thorough risk assessments and seek professional assistance with any fire-safety regulations. Passive fire protection and fire safety is not limited to fire doors. Escape routes, lighting, warning system and equipment checks are also necessary.
It is important to understand the specifications of each door before you buy. The FD code indicates how long a door can withstand fire. For example, an FD30 is tested to withstand 30 minutes. The most commonly used codes are FD30 or FD60. The test procedures used by manufacturers are described in BS 476-22.1987 and BS EN 1634-1.2014.
The majority of deaths from fires do not result from direct contact with flames but rather from the inhalation of smoke. Keep this in mind when looking for doorsets with cold smoke seals. These should not be placed within the intumescent seal. There may be exceptions where the smoke leakage is necessary to detect a fire quickly.