As a property owner,  you have a responsibility to keep your building safe and fire safety should be among the top priority for building safety.

Fire doors play a critical role in fire safety, acting as barriers to contain fire and smoke, thus enabling safe evacuation during emergencies. Understanding and adhering to fire door regulations is crucial to ensure these doors effectively enhance fire safety within your building.

In this blog, we'll delve into the essential aspects of fire door regulations that every property owner should be aware of, enabling you to ensure compliance and maintain safety standards effectively.

Importance of Fire Door Regulations

Complying with fire door regulations isn't just about ticking boxes—it's about safeguarding lives and protecting your property from potential fire havoc. Take the tragic Grenfell Tower fire incident, for instance, where 72 lives were tragically lost due to inadequate fire doors, coupled with a lack of proper inspection and maintenance.

Fire doors are among the most critical fire-stopping measures in buildings. Alongside fire doors, other fire-stopping measures include fire alarms, fire-resistant walls, floors, and ceilings, as well as fire-rated glazing and seals around things such as pipes and cables. 

Since the Grenfell tragedy, there's been an increased awareness of fire safety which has prompted significant legal actions and stricter requirements for fire safety. Additionally, the Grenfell incident also contributed to the creation of the Fire Door Safety Week (FDSW) which is a fire door awareness campaign that takes place annually to help property owners stay informed with fire safety regulations.

Who is Responsible for Fire Door Regulations?

The responsible person, chosen to oversee fire safety measures, may not always be the property owner but holds a critical role in maintaining compliance.

It's essential for property owners to designate a responsible person who understands fire door regulations and can effectively implement safety measures. This responsible individual plays a vital role in coordinating inspections, maintenance, and adherence to regulations, ensuring that fire doors remain effective in protecting occupants and property.

Factors to Consider for Fire Door Regulations

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 serve as the manual for fire safety in buildings. They provide essential guidelines for compliance and ensuring the protection of occupants from fire hazards. 

However, alongside these regulations, there are other critical factors to consider, particularly based on the type of building you own considering factors such as building height and age etc. 

New Buildings/Extensions: 

Any new property with three or more floors must have fire doors fitted to every habitable room that leads from a stairwell. This also extends to attic conversions where an extra floor has been added to a two-storey home.

Existing Buildings: 

For existing buildings, compliance falls under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Property owners are required to conduct thorough assessments of existing fire safety measures. This includes identifying any deficiencies in the fire protection system, including the condition of fire doors.

Building Height: 

Consider the height of your building, as taller structures require more strict fire door regulations to ensure adequate protection.

Responsibility for Flat Building Owners:

Flat building owners have a responsibility to engage with residents and ensure access for annual fire door inspections. They must request access and document any denied requests to demonstrate compliance with regulations.

Key Components of Fire Door

Understanding the key components of fire doors is crucial for property owners to ensure the effectiveness of their fire protection measures. Let's delve into the essential elements that contribute to the functionality and reliability of fire doors;

Material: Fire doors are made from fire-resistant materials designed to withstand high temperatures and prevent fire spread such as steel and timber.

Fire Door Rating: Doors are assigned fire resistance ratings (e.g., 30-minute or 60-minute) based on their ability to withstand fire.

Hardware: Proper hardware, such as hinges, locks, closers, and signage, is essential for maintaining fire door functionality and safety.

Minimum Requirements for Fire Door Inspections

Regular inspections of fire doors are essential to ensure their effectiveness in the event of a fire. There are 5 main steps to check for fire door safety. 

  1. Certification

Ensure the fire door is certified and meets relevant standards for fire safety. Fire door inspectors must verify that fire doors meet the required fire resistance rating specified for their location within the building. This involves checking the door's certification label or conducting tests to determine its fire rating.

  1. Gaps

Check for consistent gaps around the top, sides, and bottom of the door when closed to prevent the passage of smoke and fire. Fire door inspectors visually examine each fire door to check for signs of damage, wear, or improper fire door installation. This includes looking for issues such as gaps around the door, damaged hinges or frames, and missing or damaged seals.

  1. Seals

Inspect the integrity of intumescent seals around the door and frame to ensure they expand when exposed to heat, effectively sealing off fire and smoke. The seals should also be intact and free from gaps or damage to effectively contain fire and smoke.

  1. Hinges

Examine the hinges to ensure they are firmly fixed with no missing or broken screws, as properly maintained hinges are crucial for door operation during a fire. 

  1. Closing Properly

Test the door's self-closing mechanism to ensure it firmly closes onto the latch without sticking on the floor or frame, as a properly closing fire door is essential for containment in case of fire. 

Fire door inspectors document their findings and provide detailed reports to property owners or responsible persons. These reports typically outline any issues found during the inspection, along with recommendations for corrective action.

It's essential to hire qualified professionals to conduct fire door inspections, as they have the knowledge and expertise to identify potential issues and ensure compliance with regulations. 

Best Practices for Property Owners to Oblige to Fire Door Regulations

Hiring a professional 

It's essential to hire qualified professionals for fire door installation, inspections, and maintenance. According to FDSW, 57% of the UK struggles to spot problems with fire doors easily thus leading to a lack of reporting. Property owners can uphold fire door regulations effectively by engaging certified professionals like Highland Services. With Highland’s comprehensive fire safety offering and expert knowledge, we ensure compliance from installation to maintenance. Contact Highland for electrical services that adhere to electrical codes and standards to prevent fires.

Regular checks 

Establishing and sticking to a maintenance schedule is crucial for keeping fire doors in top condition. Ideally, they should be checked every 6 months as timely identification and correction of any issues are essential for maintaining fire door functionality.

Complying with obligations

Property owners have a legal obligation to comply with fire door regulations and adhere to relevant building codes and standards. Non-compliance can result in legal liabilities, penalties, and increased safety risks for occupants. Additionally, maintaining detailed records of maintenance activities is essential for demonstrating compliance with regulations.

Elevate Fire Safety with Properly Installed Fire Doors

Understanding fire door regulations is essential for property owners seeking to enhance fire safety within their buildings. By adhering to these regulations and implementing best practices for fire door installation, maintenance, and inspection, property owners can contribute significantly to the safety and well-being of occupants and protect their property from the devastating impact of fire. 

Property owners need to prioritise fire door compliance and seek professional assistance when needed to ensure optimal fire safety standards are maintained.

Take action now and contact Highlands to prioritise safety and secure your property against potential risks.

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