What makes a fire door a fire door?

Although they may both look the same, there is a big difference between a standard door and fire door.

A fire door is an engineered safety device designed to protect property and save lives in a fire.

However, many fire doors are poorly installed, it is only once a fire has broken out that we see the consequences of poor workmanship.

However, most fire doors installed in the UK are manufactured from timber. However, fire doors are manufactured from a range of materials from Streboard, composite doors and steel to name a few.

When installed correctly with the correct seals, frame and ironmongery they help provide you with a chance to escape or seek refuge in a fire. Furthermore, a compliant fire door will minimise the damage caused by a fire to a property.

How are they rated and what do the ratings mean?

Fire doors have ratings. For example FD30 or FD60. The number denotes the number of minutes that the fire door needs to withstand a fire. For example an FD30 door should withstand a fire for 30 minutes.

Very often you will find fire doors in buildings used by the public and flat entrance doors have a rating of FD30s or FD60s. The suffix ‘s’ means that the door also needs to hold back smoke.

Fire doors are put through a furnace test that determines the rating of the door.

Fire Door Installations in the UK

The importance and focus on fire doors has increased significantly in the UK after the Grenfell Fire. Many installers are now finding that they are being asked by contractors to prove that they have some form of competency and qualification to install fire doors. This would have been unheard of only a few years ago.

The fire door training industry is in its infancy, but it is growing quickly as large contractors are keen to show that they are carrying out due diligence and using competent installers.

Anyone who installs fire doors should be a competent person. They need to have relevant training and qualifications to back up their credentials.

It is a principal contractors duty under the terms of the Fire Safety Order to ensure than any installer is competent. Failure to do so can lead to fines and prison sentences.

Some companies such as AJM Fire Safety are members of third-party accredited schemes such as BM-Trada Q-Mark or FIRAS. These schemes are proof that the company is competent and of a required standard to install and maintain fire doors.

Consequences of poor installation and maintenance.

The vast majority of fire doors in the UK are installed incorrectly. This is putting lives and property at risk. If a fire door is installed incorrectly then it will not function as intended and it will not resist fire for the time required. Many principal contractors are now facing bills for faulty fire door inspections that date back 10 years. Housing associations and businesses are becoming more aware of their rights and the importance of fire doors.

You can carry out fire door training through companies like UK Fire Door Training Limited. They deliver courses on fire door installation, inspection, maintenance and for responsible persons.

Jonny Millard, General Manager says: ‘UK Fire Door Training is an exciting new company with the primary aim of improving the standard of fire-door training delivered in the UK. As a former teacher I feel that the other courses currently on the market do not lend themselves to long-term learning and retention of information. Our courses will have unlimited accessibility, high-quality content and put fire safety and the customer first.’

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