A fire door is one
of the most important fire
safety products on your premises.
It will prevent the fire or smoke from spreading across the building and keep the fire contained to a particular compartment or room, giving occupants longer to escape and the fire service longer to rescue anyone who is trapped and put out the fire. They will also prevent more of your building and property from being lost to the fire than necessary.
There are three main pieces of legislation which apply to fire safety in residential buildings, these are:
(Also known as building control regulations) – which requires all home owners to comply with building control requirements, when undertaking any alterations to their property.
Which requires lessees to cooperate and coordinate with [managing agent] to ensure the risk from fire is reduced as far as possible.
Which requires lessees to reduce the risk from fire within the home (particularly relevant where a property is sublet).
How can I check if my door meets the current standards?
If you inherited your door from a previous owner, check with your solicitor who should have confirmed if any alterations had been undertaken to the property and attained copies of any building control consents attained for alterations undertaken, this should include information regarding any replacement of the flat door.
If you have changed your door, either the supplier or builder who installed your door should be able to confirm if the door installed was a fire doorset and provide you with a certificate confirming this.
If you can’t find any information about your door, there are some simple checks you can undertake to confirm if it is a fire doorset:
- Tap / knock your door, does it sound hollow? Look inside your letterbox, does the door look like it’s made of solid wood? – Fire doors have to be of solid timber construction
- Measure the width of the door (the thin edge) – Fire doors must be a minimum of 44mm (4.4cm) in thickness. If your door has panelled sections and the thickness of these timber panels is less than 44 mm in thicknesses (i.e. they are thinner than the surrounding parts of the door) it is unlikely that your door is a fire door
- Check if there are three hinges fitted, which bear the CE mark
- Look for a coloured plug in the door itself or any label or markings s below, which may indicate the door has been certified by either TRADA’s Q-Mark Scheme or BWF’s Certifire scheme
- If your door has a glazed panel(s) within it, the glass should either be Georgian wired or have a special fire-resistant glazing fitted (this will be indicated by an etched mark ‘BS476:22’). If the glazing does not have either, it’s unlikely that the door is a fire door.
- Is there a 25mm door stop fitted around the door frame which the door closes too? Or is an intumescent or smoke seal (or a combination) fitted?
- Is the door self-closing? i.e. when you let it go, it will shut itself. Fire doors are required to be fitted with either an overhead door closer or a jamb closer.
- UPVC doors are not currently accepted as fire doors.
- If your door meets all of the above criteria it is likely that it meets the standard and will perform effectively in a fire.
Flat front doors are designed and installed to provide protection to the communal means of escape and are critical to most fire strategies for buildings.
Fire door sets which include, door, glazing, door furniture and frame must be:
- fitted with self-closing devices that are ideally manufactured and installed in accordance with BS EN 1154:1997; and
- fitted with fire rated hinges that are manufactured and installed in accordance with BS EN 1935:2002
A fire door set can only offer protection in limiting the spread of smoke and fire if the door seals are working effectively and if the door can fully close into the recess under the action of its door closer. The self-closing device should be capable of closing the door securely into its frame from any open position, and overcoming the resistance of the door latch and edge seals. All fire door self-closing devices should be regularly checked and maintained to ensure that they are operating correctly.
If your door has a glazed panel(s) within it, the glass should either be Georgian wired or fire resistant. Fire resistant glass will be indicated by an etched mark ‘BS476:22’. If the glazing does not have either, it’s unlikely that the door is a fire door.
UPVC doors are not currently accepted as fire doors.
According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government [MHCLG] in their Advice Note 16 which gives advice for owners of residential flats on assurance and replacing of flat entrance fire doors:
- all fire doors, including their closers, should be routinely checked or inspected by a competent person;
- flat entrance fire doors should have test evidence demonstrating they meet the performance requirement in Building Regulations guidance for fire resistance and smoke control from both sides;
- test evidence used should be carefully checked to ensure it is to the same specifications of the doorsets being installed; and
- building owners should replace flat entrance door sets if they suspect they do not meet the fire or smoke resistance performance in the Building Regulations guidance.
Altering or changing a flat entrance door
Altering or changing a flat entrance door that forms part of a fire compartment of the building, is categorised as controlled work under the Building Regulations 2010.
This means that anyone who wishes to change or alter their flat entrance door (or any other door between their flat and a communal area i.e. a secondary means of escape door), will need to ensure the new or altered door and its installation complies with all relevant requirements of the Building Regulations 2010.
Details of a property owner’s duties in relation to the building regulations are detailed later in this guidance.
All new fire door sets to flats must provide the fire and smoke resistance required by the fire strategy for the building. This will be at least FD 30S to give fire resistance of not less than 30 min [FD30] and the same resistance to the passage of smoke at ambient temperature conditions [S].
In some properties, the fire strategy may require the fire door set to provide higher levels of fire and smoke resistance. You must check with your Landlord or Managing Agent what the required standard fire and smoke resistance standard is required for your door.
Doors must have been tested in accordance with BS476: Part 22 1987 or BS EN 1634-1 2000 and be supplied with a certificate to confirm that it meets the required standards. It is also recommended that new flat doors meet “security by design” standards.
Installing a fire door set correctly is as important as ensuring the door itself is to the correct standard. The Government’s expert panel advises third party certification by a UKAS accredited body. There are various third party accredited schemes, which allow you to view their registers and locate a suitably qualified trade person:
- BRE Group – LPCB scheme, LPS 1271 installation of fire and security door sets;15
- BM Trada Q Mark: OP37 Fire door installation scheme16; and
- Warrington Fire FIRAS scheme for fire doors.17
An installation certificate for all replacement doors will be provided to the homeowner by the contractor supplying/ fitting the door confirming that the door set meets the required standard and has been installed correctly.
You must provide a copy of any certification you receive to your Landlord or the Managing Agent.