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Fire Door Regulations in UK

Fire Door Regulations

Fire doors installed in homes are of prime importance during the construction of buildings today. They help prevent deaths in case a fire breaks out and assist firefighters in putting out the fire after getting close to it.

The doors limit the smoke and flames from spreading to other parts of the same building or adjoining structures.

The precise legislation that involves fire doors is complicated and comprehensive. Still, as a general rule, most flats and apartments are obliged to include multiple fire doors, more than any of the villas. This is because buildings carry a greater risk of fire spreading to different homes.

Specifying the right fire door is a huge responsibility and might lead to a life-and-death situation.

In 2006, 491 deaths in the UK were recorded as resulting from fire, while 61% of the deaths were attributed to smoke inhalation. 1 in 12 fires are known to originate from one room, spreading to other rooms in the same building. Fire doors can restrict the danger to the smallest area possible.

When a fire door is installed perfectly in place, it can block smoke, fumes and flames for some time, from 30 minutes to about a couple of hours. This gives a good window for the fire personnel to rescue people stuck inside the building.

Fire doors play an important role in fire safety and protection of buildings and hence need to be inspected correctly and maintained efficiently to ensure compliance.

Building Regulations in the UK

  • Several regulations are applicable to both new and existing buildings in the UK. In the case of alterations or changes of use, the regulations slightly differ from the rest. Existing buildings, excluding domestic properties, are governed by Regulatory Reform requirements for Fire Safety, referred to as the RRO or FSO. Regulation 38 of Building Regulations links them to RRO for specific buildings.

  • Building Regulations are set to meet the standards meant for construction in the UK.

  • Since doors are functional items and integral to buildings and structures, they need to meet regulations, including sound, better accessibility, proper ventilation, and thermal efficiency and should also include overall safety glazing and fire safety measures.

  • They may also be required to comply with standards specified in the Code for Sustainable Homes criteria along with procurement requirements for sourcing of materials required under CPET regulations, which apply to all UK Government Public Sector projects.

  • For existing buildings, the FSO, which replaced 70 tenets of fire safety law in 2006, assigned the responsibility for fire risk assessment to a responsible person in all non-domestic buildings, who must carry out the process and implement and sustain a fire management plan. The responsible person is the one responsible for business premises, an employer with business premises or the owner of the dwelling, where space is used for business purposes. A contractor with control over the premises is also held as a responsible person for such scenarios.

Compliance with the FSO/ RRO

Building owners need to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 or the FSO.

  • Article 17 of FSO mentions the need of a suitable maintenance regime and ensuring of the efficient state of relevant equipment, including fire doors and all types of escape doors.

  • Article 18 requires the responsible person to appoint competent people to fulfil preventive/ protective measures.

  • The FSO is closely related to Building Regulations, which include fire safety, ease of access, glazing safety, acoustics, etc.

Scotland has similar regulations mentioned in the Fire Act 2005, while Northern Ireland has similar rules stated in the Fire & Rescue Service Order 2006 and the latest Fire Safety Regulations 2010.

Fire certificates issued by the local fire brigade have no legal status anymore for any building since the FSO anoints the responsible person in charge of fire safety, the doors and its maintenance. The responsible person needs to carry out a fire risk assessment and ensure the resident's safety too. The key changes in the FSO have been:

  • Building owners, landlords, managers and the like can shoulder legal responsibility for fire safety

  • A 'responsible person' should be appointed for each building and ensure that every year, a fire risk assessment is carried out with proper documentation.

  • The assessment should demonstrate that all aspects of fire safety management are met, along with respective fire measures, signage, escape door conditions and easy evacuation procedures.

  • The responsible person can engage someone with expertise to implement on key areas as required.

Maintenance Schedule of Fire Doors

A fire door needs to be checked regularly to ensure that it is functioning efficiently and is ready to use. The procedure is akin to the same process as a smoke alarm maintenance assessment. Any slight alteration to the doors can affect its performance. Periodic checks need to be carried out every 6 months or twice during that duration, depending on the daily traffic going through the door.

A maintenance checklist provided by the FSO should be adhered to correctly. If the maintenance is not done on schedule, one could be prosecuted under the FSO Order.

Specifications of the Assessment

  • The fitting and maintenance of the fire doors are the responsibility of every person involved in the specification of the maintenance process.

  • Building Regulations dictate the performance requirements of the fire doors and their perfect locations.

  • Fire doors are also used to subdivide a building into varied compartments so that if a fire breaks out, it does not spread easily and quickly, allowing other occupants to escape from their rooms.

  • Fire doors are rated in terms of minutes and have FD as their prefix.

  • The building regulations specify the door installation and even the location, and hence, they are tested for frames, locks, latches and the like.

  • The regulations may state the necessity of smoke control as an extra requirement. In this scenario, the fire door will bear the suffix 's', and a smoke seal is required to be fitted.

  • The functions of the fire doors are tested to the standard BS 476 Part 22.

Fire Door Installation Advice

Here is some advice on fire door rules that align with building regulations and FSO:

  • For two-storey homes with garages, the garage door connecting the main house must be a fire door

  • Newly built or renovated properties with more than 3-storey sand loft conversions must have FD30 fire doors on the third floor and near the staircase.

  • In a shared house, fire doors should be fitted between each private space and common areas, like the kitchen or the living room.

  • Rooms around a stairway must have fire doors for quick escape without risk.

  • The doors connecting multi-occupancy dwellings, including doors to flats or apartments, should be FD 30.

Fire safety regulations are complex; hence, they do not constitute legal advice. If in doubt, consult a door specialist or a fire safety advisor. Fire doors can be installed for optimal safety, and at the minimum, legal requirements should be fulfilled.

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Author: Shabana kauser

Shabana Kauser, the Director of Emerald Doors, brings over 20 years of invaluable expertise in the door industry. Her visionary leadership has steered the company to new heights, offering an extensive range of internal and external doors while prioritizing quality and customer satisfaction. The website's glowing reviews stand as a testament to her commitment to excellence. To learn more about Emerald Doors, connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.