In recent years, there have been thousands of non-residential fires in the UK, most of them involving damage to buildings up to the second floor and some to the entire building, leaving it in ruins. To avoid these latter cases, fire doors are crucial.
Before you fill your building with fire doors, you must know where to put them.
It’s because they have specific places where they should be placed to be more effective in case of a fire.
If you’re interested in learning more about fire doors, including their location, what they’re, what they’re for, their regulations, and much, much more, let me tell you that you’ve come to the right place, so read on to the end and don’t miss a thing.
What are fire doors?
First of all, we should know what fire doors are and why they are mandatory in most countries.
Fire doors are doors (forgive the redundancy) placed in buildings to contain fires and provide an escape route for people inside the building. They’re resistant to fire, smoke, and heat.
Generally, these doors are made of different materials, such as wood, steel, or even glass, being fire-resistant and non-combustible materials.
Despite that, fire doors aren’t resistant for an unlimited time. They’re classified according to the time they can resist fire. The most common are FD30, which can resist for 30 minutes, and FD60, which resists for up to 60 minutes. Some doors even resist fire for up to 4 hours.
In the United Kingdom, all large domestic and commercial buildings must have a responsible person in charge of the installation and periodic maintenance of these doors, following the regulations in force since 2005 in the UK.
What is the difference between a fire door and a normal door?
While the main purpose of a normal door is to isolate a building acoustically or to improve the segregation of a room, as well as to provide greater security to a home, fire doors are intended to prevent fire flames from spreading to other apartments or rooms.
For example, if a fire occurs in the center of the building and reaches the stairs, fire doors will prevent the flames from advancing to other areas.
Where are fire doors required in the United Kingdom?
Fire doors will be mandatory in domestic, mixed-use, and commercial buildings, without exception, and in each, the doors should be placed in different strategic areas.
In domestic buildings of three stories or more, there must be a fire door for each door between a stairway and a room.
Converted loft doors or doors between an integral garage and a dwelling must also be fire doors.
For commercial buildings, fire doors should be designed to provide an escape route for people inside, both vertical and horizontal exits.
Vertical escape leads people to a stairway, while horizontal escape directs people into a fireproof room lined with fire doors.
In mixed buildings, all doors between a residential and commercial space must be fire doors.
Characteristics of fire doors
Fire doors are pretty easy to recognize, first and foremost, because they have large mandatory blue signage with white text reading “Fire door, keep shut.”
You may also be able to recognize it and differentiate it from ordinary doors by its measurements and hinges, gaps, or locking mechanisms.
The gaps around the top and sides of the door are usually less than 4 millimeters; hinges should be a minimum of 3 millimeters. The locking mechanism should not jam and close firmly from a half-open position.
The seal of fire doors should be heat sensitive, preventing the spread of fire and smoke, causing it to swell and thereby sealing the gap between the door and the frame.
Types of fire doors
There’re several types of fire doors, which can be classified in different ways and each with different approaches, either by their location or by the building type they will be placed (office, residential, commercial, mixed, etc.).
Fire doors according to their material
We have already mentioned that fire doors can be made of three materials, some of which are more used than others, for the following reasons.
Glass fire doors
Although they aren’t the most common, pyropanel glass fire doors are becoming increasingly popular, perhaps for aesthetic reasons, as they look like standard glass doors but with huge resistance to fire flames.
This fire-resistant glass is approved to act as a barrier against fire and smoke, some even acting as a thermal barrier as well. It has been proven that they can withstand temperatures up to 900°C, while ordinary glass can withstand little more than 100°C.
Wooden fire doors
Although it may seem strange, wood fire doors work very well in cutting off the propagation of a fire.
It’s often desired to paint these doors in other colors, so it’s strongly recommended to use flame retardant paint, as conventional paint is combustible.
Steel fire doors
Finally, we find extremely common steel fire doors, which offer a rating of up to FD240, that is, up to four hours of protection, against the 30 minutes or one hour provided by wood and glass doors.
They’re much stronger and more durable, easy to use, and common to see in kitchens, hospitals, or industrial areas.
Other types of fire doors
Double fire doors
As the name suggests, these fire doors are usually made of steel but with double leaf.
To be approved, these doors must meet manufacturing standards that establish the correct spacing on the outer side of each leaf and in the middle.
They are ideal for high occupancy locations that need faster egress.
Pre-hung fire doors
These fire doors are often used to save time and money.
The door leaf, frame, and sometimes even the architraves are supplied as a single entity ready for installation.
This type of door is usually installed after construction is complete.
As you can see, fire doors are indispensable and mandatory in the UK. By preventing the spread of fire and minimizing the effects of fire flames, many accidents and fatalities are prevented each year.
If you’re in London or any surrounding counties and need fire door installation, repair, or maintenance for your residential or commercial property, why not contact us today? We’ll give you honest advice, to ensure you get the exact fire door service you require.