FIRE DOORSInstallations, Remediations & Inspections
There are two generic types of fire door:
- Fire- resisting doors; normally an internal door or shutter, which together with its frame and hardware, allows for the movement of people and everything else within a fire compartment wall. When closed, the intention is to restrict fire and smoke to a predictable level of performance.
- Non- fire rated exterior emergency escape doors or shutters, also known as fire escape doors. They are normally not ‘fire resisting’ in that exterior fire exit doors are not tested or expected to provide fire integrity or fire resistance. Their main purpose is to open immediately and easily in the direction of escape (outwards) for persons to reach an external place of safety.
Most of the time, a fire door is like any other door, but if a fire breaks out it performs vital and specific tasks. In the extreme it may act as a barrier, holding back the spread of fire. More commonly it will contain or limit the cold smoke a fire will generate, enabling people to safely evacuate an area or an entire building. In extreme circumstances this will allow the fire services to enter a burning building in relative safety.
All fire doors must have evidence of performance to ensure that fire door compliance is to the required standard for their location and use.
Fire delay provide a range of 3rd party certified installation, remediation and inspection services to cater for every client requirement
FIRE DOOR INSTALLATIONS
Having a fire door correctly installed is key to its longevity and we ensure that all our fire door installations are carried out as per the manufacturer’s instructions and as they have been tested.
We are aware that price will be a prime consideration when a fire door is procured, but we will always take into account other important factors. Clearly the actual fire rating of the door is a key issue, as is the doors aesthetics, but we will also examine the door’s location and likely level of usage as this will determine factors such as the required smoke seal capability of the door.
Not all fire doors protect the same level of risk and some are critical to the overall level of fire safety within a building; in particular some buildings are more dependent on fire doors than others to contain a fire, protect those at risk and enable the safe evacuation of occupants, or their protection if a ‘stay put’ or other evacuation policy is the stipulated or given fire strategy.
If criticality and usage are fully considered and understood at the design, selection and installation stages then it is more likely that doors appropriate to the occupancy and use will be specified, procured and suitably maintained, so we will look to help clients to get all of these things right in order to reduce the door’s long term maintenance costs and its long-term non-compliance issues.
Timber door leaves are typically constructed with a door skin that can either be painted or have a wood veneered finish, underneath which there is a door core and blocking.
The choice of core can have a significant impact on their performance and durability. The four main generic types of core are:
• TIMBER FRAMED FLAXBOARD CORE
• LAMINATED TIMBER CORE
• GRADUATED DENSITY CORE (GDC CHIPBOARD)
• TUBULAR PARTICLE CORE
The specification and choice of core will be key to whether door leaves are suitable for medium to heavy duty usage and impact, or are only suitable for light duty use, such as being fitted to a riser cupboard and only being opened on an infrequent basis. The type of hardware is also an important issue as items such as fire rated hinges and door closers are available in a wide range of specification options and matching up the most suitable hardware for the particular door is not always a straightforward process.
Fire Delay are 3rd party accredited installers under the BRE / LPCB scheme LPS 1271, which audits our installation process both on site and in our office to ensure that our robust installation standards are maintained.
FIRE DOOR REMEDIATIONS
In reality a lot of maintenance carried out on fire doors is purely functional and many fire doors are maintained functionally in a permanent state of non-compliance.
Post the Grenfell Tower fire there is a growing recognition that all fire doors need to be inspected and maintained in terms of FIRE COMPLIANCE. All fire doors should be uniquely numbered and subjected to an appropriate maintenance schedule. Existing fire doors that have never previously had a paper trail should be inspected, remediated and certified as being ‘AS TESTED’, or ‘TO THE LIMITATION OF THEIR REPAIR’ if the location of the door and the fire strategy of the building can permit this concession.
Fire Delay inspect and remediate doors under BRE/LPCB scheme LPS 1197, which enables previously uncertified doors to be covered by a Certificate of Conformity. Together with the creation of bespoke maintenance Fire Door Protocols, this allows unique information for each fire door to be created so that fire doors in a building can be maintained in accordance with an electronic ‘golden thread’ of information.
All remediation work is carried out by experienced fire door installers who are trained to carry out industry Approved Repair Techniques in compliance with 3rd Party Auditing and Certification requirements
For further information or to arrange a ‘no-obligation’ meeting please contact us
FIRE DOOR INSPECTIONS
The level of fire door inspection that is suitable and sufficient to meet legal requirements can be complex and is dependent on a number of factors including the size and type of building and its occupancy.
It is generally agreed that for a new or upgraded door set, the level of inspection should be to a very high standard, ensuring that the door has been installed or remediated in keeping with how it was fire tested in order to replicate performance or meet the standard of remediation intended and required. In a new door installation, evidence of performance, i.e. comparing test evidence and manufacturer’s installation details and specification with what and how it has been installed, is key to determining (assessing) actual fire performance.
Fire doors in occupied buildings also have to be inspected at regular intervals to ensure they are being adequately managed and maintained, but expert guidance may be required regarding frequency and detail of inspection and by whom in order for this to be suitable and sufficient. There are a number of factors that will help determine this, not least the usage and importance of the doors in terms of overall fire containment.
Fire exit doors are often low usage but it must be recognized that their efficient function is critical to the safe evacuation from a building. As such they should be inspected regularly, a minimum of every 6 months, even though they are often linked to an alarm system so that special arrangements may have to be made to do so.
For routine inspection and maintenance, BS9999 2017 provides specific guidance, but it should be understood that doors inspected to that standard need to have been installed correctly and previously maintained sufficiently for the basic checks given in this standard to be adequate.
Bearing in mind that the majority of fire doors in existence are currently uncertified with no known ‘paper trail’ there is commonly a requirement to inspect / assess doors with no available information other than the door set itself. Limited client input and the need to be pragmatic, often requires an expert view to be taken on the extent such doors are fit for purpose.
As with condition surveys, the scope and detail of fire door inspection is crucial and exactly what is be checked should be agreed between all stakeholders in writing before the inspections take place.
Due to the mandatory need for “a suitable system” potentially liable to scrutiny by others seeking evidence that a robust inspection regime is or was in place, inspections need to be recorded and this is done by Golden Thread Fire electronically, using an agreed pass / fail criteria whereby the vital elements of each door are captured upon first inspection using bespoke Bolster software on a hand held device and is then issued as both a door schedule and a report to record and highlight remediation and replacement issues before being stored and updated during further ongoing inspections.