Most office buildings today are compartmentalised with fire doors in between to help slow the progress of any fire. This gives those working in an office, store or other building the chance to escape and, in some cases, can contain a fire outbreak and minimise damage until the fire brigade arrives.
This is one area that businesses tend to forget about but regular checks and a professional assessment can ensure your fire doors are suitable and that they are in good condition. The legal onus is on the person who controls a particular property to make sure this is the case.
A survey for the Fire Door Inspection Scheme in 2015 found that almost 60% of those contacted had an issue with the seals around their doors and 1 in 6 had damage to the door leaf. The main faults that fire doors can be prone to include:
- The seals around the door are made of intumescent material which means they swell when exposed to heat. If these are faulty it can mean dangerous hot gases and smoke can pass more easily into the next room.
- The glass in a door may be non-fire rated which means it is likely to crack when exposed to high levels of heat and this will allow any fire to spread more quickly.
- Broken door closers are another issue. These usually make any fire door close automatically and, if it’s damaged, that could mean it is open when a fire breaks out.
- There could be damage to the corner leaf of the door which means gases and smoke can escape.
- The gap might be too big around the door eaves, an area through which fire can easily pass.
- The wrong fixings such as hinges may have been installed which means the door doesn’t open or close properly.
- The gap under the door could be too large allowing fire and smoke to move from one room to the next.
- The ball catch used to latch the door shut might be faulty which means it could open during a fire.
All these factors, either or alone or in combination, mean that your fire doors are not as safe as they at first seem. Doors are built to set specifications nowadays. A FD30 door, for example, is designed to hold back a fire for about 30 minutes. A higher spec FD60 door may help keep it at bay for an hour or more.
Anyone who manufactures fire doors also needs to ensure that they are fit for purpose. Certification such as the BM Trada Q-Mark were specifically introduced to ensure that standards were raised in the industry and those buying products with the mark instantly know they are getting a verifiable product. It’s not just the door, however, that is crucial – the installation process needs to be up to specification as well.
At Hightown, we have 40 years’ experience in the construction industry so we know a thing or two about fire safety and how to create buildings with high standards. Undertaking a fire door assessment is the first stage in making sure that you’re building or premises are equipped to deal with any outbreak should it unfortunately occur. Whether you’re designing a new building or want to check that your existing doors are fit for purpose, our accredited teams can give your plans or property a complete, independent evaluation and make the necessary recommendations.
Contact us today to find out more.