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Knowledge Share: How do I look after fire doors

Dec 22, 2023

There is a legal requirement to maintain your fire doors in good working condition. This is the case for fire doors wherever they are installed. The aim of this blog is to help you to understand a bit more about fire doors and how to maintain them. The key thing to remember is that fire doors save lives and so they must be always kept in good working order. Failure to do so can lead to prosecution.

What buildings have fire doors?

Nearly all non-domestic buildings (and some domestic properties) have fire doors fitted. They are fitted in schools, businesses, factory facilities, churches, entertainment venues, hospitals, retail units, pubs and so on. The front doors of flats are also meant to be fire doors and they are even found on ships. Fire doors are a vital feature for a buildings’ fire protection.

What are fire doors?

Fire doors are special types of doors that have a fire-resistance rating, which means they can help prevent the spread of fire and smoke between different parts of a building. Fire doors are usually made of materials that can withstand high temperatures, such as metal or wood. Fire doors may have glass panels or windows that are fire-resistant which provide viewing panels from one fire compartment to another. Fire doors must be fitted with the correct fire rated accessories, such as hinges, locks, handles, and closers, to ensure their performance. Fire doors come in different sizes, styles, and colors, depending on the application and preference. Fire doors are classified by the amount of time they can resist fire, such as 30 minutes (FD30) or 60 minutes (FD60). Fire doors are required by Building Regulations and they must be tested and certified by accredited organisations to assure their performance. Fire doors are essential for fire safety and can save lives and property in the event of a fire. Fire doors should be fitted with appropriate door linings and frames which ensure the entire door set reaches the specified standard. One of the most important things to remember is that fire doors should be installed by competent fire door installers who understand the requirements for fire doors, such as the gap sizes between the door and frame for example.

Where are fire doors installed?

Fire doors are installed to provide openings between different fire compartments in buildings. An example would be doors leading off a fire escape route, or doors protecting particularly sensitive areas, such as plant rooms. They are provided to prevent fire passing from one area to another which would mean if a fire started, it should be contained to an area long enough to allow people to evacuate an area and for the fire service to tackle the fire before it engulfs the entire property.

Do fire doors need to be inspected?

Yes, fire doors need to be regularly inspected, no matter where they are fitted. To be kept in good condition they need to be checked regularly for damage, shrinkage, movement and component failure.

How do I inspect fire doors?

In order to inspect fire doors, it is important to understand their features. This includes understanding the types of fire doors, the requirements for the ironmongery used and the need to make sure they operate as expected. To inspect fire doors, it is necessary to undertake training. Often, specialists are hired to inspect fire doors due to the importance of fire doors and often their complexity. There are many types of fire doors with a wide variety of components that are used. As a result, a good working understanding of fire doors and ironmongery is valuable.

Fire doors should be checked regularly. Depending on where they area installed will depend on how often they should be checked. For schools, it can be good practice to inspect fire doors at least every 6 months for example. For high-risk areas in factory environments, risk assessment may require fire doors to be inspected more frequently. In blocks of flats, fire doors also need inspecting. Remember, fire doors save lives and so fire doors in flat communal areas are vital for the protection of life. From the 23rd of January 2023, it became a legal requirement for the Responsible Person for multi-occupied buildings over 11 meters in height to inspect fire doors quarterly in communal areas.  It also became a requirement to carry out annual checks on all flat entrance doors. Within the same legislative change, it became a legal requirement to provide information to residents about the importance of fire doors each year and when new tenants or owners move into the properties.

Fire door inspections do not always need to be carried out by experts but in order to be able to inspect fire doors, you should be competent. This means, having the necessary knowledge, understanding and experience to check the condition of fire doors. If this is something new to you, we recommend taking our introductory fire door course. This course is a concise, value for money online training session which provides the learner with an opportunity to understand more about fire doors. This short course provides you with an introduction to fire doors, looks at the different types of fire door available and how they are constructed. It then provides examples of how they can fail which is important when inspecting fire doors. The course shows the potential catastrophic implications of improper use of fire doors and lets the learner see their key significance. The course finishes by looking at the importance of fire door maintenance, and the practical steps that can be taken to ensure the fire doors in your place of work or communal areas in flats are up to standard.

Do fire risk assessments look at fire doors?

Yes, a good fire risk assessment should consider the condition of fire doors inside a building. When we carry out fire risk assessments, we always look at the fire doors to ascertain their condition and to make recommendations for improvements. For very large buildings, it can be necessary to advise that a separate fire door assessment is carried out, particularly if there are numerous faults with the doors.

When we assess blocks of flats, we always ask the client to arrange access to all flat front doors so we can inspect their condition. It is important to note that a fire risk assessment will not automatically recommend fire doors to be changed. Sometimes, they can be upgraded to improve compliance if this is done by a certified and experienced fire door installer/ repairer.

How can JCH Safety help?

JCH Safety are a specialist fire risk consultancy and health and safety practice based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. We are highly qualified to inspect property, train people and offer specialist safety and fire safety advice. If you have a building that requires fire safety inspections, fire risk assessments, or general risk assessment, we can help. We work across Birmingham, Coventry, and Warwickshire. We provide our services to pubs, hotels, schools, businesses, and blocks of flats, amongst others. If you need any assistance, we would be happy to talk to you to see how we can help.

Get in touch now to find out more.