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Fire Door Regulations

It is a criminal offence to supply products that do not comply with the UK Construction Products Regulations. For fire door fittings intended for use against fire, markings will be the easiest method to demonstrate compliance. The Building Control Officer or other approved inspectors or a Trading Standards Officer, however, will require proof of this compliance. Across the UK construction industry and in Europe, construction products are being tested to new EN Standards to ensure that fire safety and performance requirements are met in future building projects. Door hardware will eventually have 21 new EN Standards. For many ironmongery items you will need to ensure that only marked products are used on all fire doors, smoke control doors and escape doors.

Intumescent Strips

Intumescent fire door seals should be fitted to the stiles and head of a fire-resisting doorset.
These seals are fitted into grooves cut into the door or the frame, or alternatively, can be surface mounted. As soon as the temperature in the vicinity of the strips exceeds 200°C, usually about 10-15 minutes after the start of a fire, the seal swells and seals the gaps between door and frame.

  • As smoke spread is an even greater threat to life and property than flames, particularly in the early stages of a fire, fire doors might also have to be fitted with a ‘cold smoke’ seal to prevent the ingress of smoke around the door edges (such fire doors would be specified as FDs fire doors). Exceptions apply where the leakage of smoke is essential for detecting a fire early.
    Combined smoke and intumescent seals are available.

Not all intumescent materials act in the same way. Low pressure seals expand in all directions but provide little help to the door in resisting distortion under fire. Some high pressure seals exert pressure mainly in one direction and provide some resistance to distortion of the door leaf under fire. A further type of intumescent material, available in different grades, acts in all directions and generates some pressure. Fire door seals activate at temperatures that are above human survival levels. The following is information on the type or size of intumescent fire door seal that should be used.

 

 

Vision Panels

Glazing may range from a small vision panel in a door to a glazed screen for maximum light transmission and safety. Ordinary glass cracks when exposed to heat and is liable to fall out fairly early in a fire. Fire resisting glass can withstand exposure to the heat condition in a fire test for at least 60 minutes before it reaches a temperature high enough to soften it. This is mainly because, with clear FR glazing, nearly 50 per cent of the incident heat is transmitted through the glass by radiation.

The size of the glass and the method of its retention are important factors that influence its integrity. As the temperature approaches the softening point, a large sheet will tend to collapse earlier than a smaller one. On the unexposed face, beading retaining the glass is subjected to radiant and conducted heat through the glass and to convection currents at the top of the pane.

Hinges

Hinges and latches have an important role in ensuring the integrity of the door. The fire door hinges must remain adequately attached, in spite of the charring of wood in the vicinity. It is common to use three hinges although tests have shown that with some doors two hinges may be adequate for a 30 minute fire door (FD30). Steel and brass hinges are effective for a half-hour door, but only steel hinges will be satisfactory for a 60 minute fire door (FD60). For the latter, it may be necessary to use hinges with extended flaps (broad butts) so that fixing is maintained even when severe charring has taken place.

BS EN 1935: 2002: Building Hardware Single Axis Hinges is the current European standard for single axis hinges and being able to understand the CE markings, provided when purchasing hinges, is of some importance.

The Building Regulations set out the circumstances in which rising butts may be used, although these are not recommended. In such a case compensation must be provided for the cut-out from the top edge of the door by increasing the depth of the stop.

 

Door Closers

All dedicated fire doors, other than those to locked cupboards and service ducts, should be fitted with fire door closers. To be effective these must be capable of closing the door from any angle of opening and should be strong enough to overcome the resistance of any latch or sealing system. They should conform to BS EN 1154:1997 Building Hardware – Controlled Door Closing Devices. Door closing devices fitted to fire-resisting doors are required to perform one of two functions, dependent on whether or not a latch is fitted to the door. These functions are considered “essential” in terms of the ability of the doorset to achieve its intended fire resistance rating.

  • Latched door: To close the door in a controlled manner into a position where the latch engages. In this case, once the latch is engaged, such closers will have no further essential role to play.
  • Unlatched door: To close the door in a controlled manner into its frame or, in the case of double swing doors, to its dead centre closed position, and maintain this condition for a period during fire exposure until the heat activated sealing system takes over the role of maintaining the door in the closed position.

 

Intumescent Strips

Intumescent fire door seals should be fitted to the stiles and head of a fire-resisting doorset.
These seals are fitted into grooves cut into the door or the frame, or alternatively, can be surface mounted. As soon as the temperature in the vicinity of the strips exceeds 200°C, usually about 10-15 minutes after the start of a fire, the seal swells and seals the gaps between door and frame.

  • As smoke spread is an even greater threat to life and property than flames, particularly in the early stages of a fire, fire doors might also have to be fitted with a ‘cold smoke’ seal to prevent the ingress of smoke around the door edges (such fire doors would be specified as FDs fire doors). Exceptions apply where the leakage of smoke is essential for detecting a fire early.
    Combined smoke and intumescent seals are available.

Not all intumescent materials act in the same way. Low pressure seals expand in all directions but provide little help to the door in resisting distortion under fire. Some high pressure seals exert pressure mainly in one direction and provide some resistance to distortion of the door leaf under fire. A further type of intumescent material, available in different grades, acts in all directions and generates some pressure. Fire door seals activate at temperatures that are above human survival levels. The following is information on the type or size of intumescent fire door seal that should be used.

 

Door Locks

In order to provide an effective barrier to a fully developed fire, a door has to remain closed within the frame. In the case of single action doorsets, this role might be undertaken by a latch. Where the latch does not perform this role, there is a need for a lock to be fitted. This might be on a duct door which is normally kept locked with only occasional access to service equipment, or doors to cupboards. which for security reasons are locked for periods of time. Where security is in conflict with easy egress, consultation with the regulatory authority or fire officer should be made in order to reach a satisfactory solution. Sometimes a turn operated lock might suffice whilst in other cases specialist devices are available that can reduce this conflict to a minimum, such as panic escape devices to BS EN 1125: 2008 or emergency exit devices to BS EN 179: 2008.

 

 

Vision Panels

Glazing may range from a small vision panel in a door to a glazed screen for maximum light transmission and safety. Ordinary glass cracks when exposed to heat and is liable to fall out fairly early in a fire. Fire resisting glass can withstand exposure to the heat condition in a fire test for at least 60 minutes before it reaches a temperature high enough to soften it. This is mainly because, with clear FR glazing, nearly 50 per cent of the incident heat is transmitted through the glass by radiation.

The size of the glass and the method of its retention are important factors that influence its integrity. As the temperature approaches the softening point, a large sheet will tend to collapse earlier than a smaller one. On the unexposed face, beading retaining the glass is subjected to radiant and conducted heat through the glass and to convection currents at the top of the pane.

Door Signs

These signs should he used to indicate actions that must be carried out in order to comply with statutory requirements. For example an area of a construction site where hard hats should be worn should have appropriate signs at the entry points and self-closing fire doors that must be kept closed, to comply with a fire risk assessment, should be labeled with “FIRE DOOR KEEP SHUT” signs.

 

Hold Open Devices

Electromagnetic fire door retainers (hold open devices) can be used to hold a self-closing fire door in the open position with an electrically powered magnet. These devices are usually linked into a building’s fire alarm system or are controlled from locally positioned smoke detectors. These magnetic door holders are best installed during the construction of a building.

Acoustic fire door retainers are fitted at the bottom of a fire door and can lock a fire door in the open position by pushing a plunger down. An acoustic fire door retainer with an electromagnet holding the door is also available. The Agrippa allows the ‘training-in’ of the alarm sound, which avoids triggering of the retainer with other ambient noises. Both acoustic fire door retainers then ‘listen’ for the sound of smoke or fire alarms. As soon as an sounds, the Dorgard’s plunger is withdrawn or the Agrippa’s hold by the magnet is released and the fire door is closed by the normal fire door closer. The Dorgard  and Agrippa are well suited for retrofit installations but should generally not be used on fire doors leading onto staircases.

 

Finger Protection

let’s not forget that the speed of doors can cause injuries. If a door closes to fast it can trap fingers or catch heels as people walk through.

There aren’t any specific regulations which state that protection such as finger guards must be fitted. However, there’s a catch. Because of the way in which safety legislation is written, it’s established practice to fit them in certain situations. They should always be fitted in crèches, nurseries, indoor play areas aimed at young children, and the areas used by the first two year groups of primary school. For other types of premises, managers will need to assess the risk.As past cases show, not installing them could result in prosecution.

Finger trapping risks increase where the door is heavy, in an area where children congregate or susceptible to being blown by a gust of wind. If you believe that there’s a significant risk of this type of accident you should strongly consider installing guards. Fortunately, they can usually be fitted using simple hand tools and basic carpentry skills.The guards cover the hinge area of the door.