In our previous article, Fire door safety for landlords, we covered a few points to be aware of for rented properties. With this in mind, let’s explore in more detail what's involved in fire door installation, and some of the fire regulations.
As a landlord it is essential to cover all areas of legal fire safety, which includes smoke detectors, sprinklers and fire escapes. It is a legal requirement for properties with several apartments to have fire doors, especially when properties have more than two floors.
Doorways that lead to communal areas need fire doors to provide effective escape routes
Fire doors must automatically close, blocking the spread of smoke and toxic fumes
Fire doors should hold back fire for at least 30 minutes (more on this later)
It is advisable to have a fire door fitted at potential high-risk areas, such as kitchens
It’s possible your property already has a fire door, especially if it’s a newer build. However, common identifying factors of fire doors include:
Fire door signs and certificates – some fire doors are clearly marked with signage, but if it’s not obvious, check for certification labels or markers (usually found at the top of the door).
Door seals – intumescent fire door seals are designed to expand as they get hotter, filling the gaps around the door and keeping smoke, fumes and flames at bay. If the door has an intumescent strip in place, this is a good opportunity to check for wear and damage, and replace immediately if so.
Hinges – fire doors often have three or more fire-rated hinges, each with a minimum of three screws. Check that the hinges have all the screws installed and are securely fixed. Wear, damage or incorrect installation can result in the doors not working properly.
Self-closing – a fire door should close automatically, with a secure latch and without any obstructions. The closing mechanism should operate smoothly for utmost safety.
Door thickness - traditionally, solid wood doors were used for fire safety, but advancements in manufacturing have made it possible for fire doors to be made in other more affordable materials. Moulded and solid oak fire doors are typically 44mm thick for FD30 rated doors, and 54mm for FD60 rated doors. Fire doors with a 54mm thickness are more commonly seen in commercial properties.
30 minutes of safety – a fire door should have a plug or label confirming that it has an FD rating, most likely a rating of FD30. This rating shows that the door can hold back fire for up to 30 minutes, while other ratings, such as FD60 (for up to 60 minutes of fire resistance) and above, are also available.
Door frames – the door frame must meet the same safety standards as the door, and be fitted with intumescent seals. If the frame burns faster, this can render the door’s protection useless and prove to be more of a hazard in a fire situation.
Hinges and closers – as touched on before, door fittings should be thoroughly maintained and securely fitted, ensuring smooth closure.
Under current UK guidelines, there are no legal requirements to hold a qualification to install a fire door. However, fitting a fire door incorrectly can mean the difference between holding back a blaze for up to 30 minutes and holding it back for five. Fire door installation requires proficiency and accuracy, and it’s possible to gain a certificate for this type of installation. Alternatively, contact an accredited fire door installer to ensure correct fitting.
We’re here to help ensure that your fire doors meet the correct standards required for blocks of flats and rented properties. Shop our full range of essential fire door ironmongery, including intumescent seals, hinges, door handles and door closers.