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The following information has been prepared for your consideration only. The Crime Prevention Website is not expert in respect to Building Regulations or European or British Standards for fire safety or any codes of practice for fire resistant doors or escape doors.
Although the Crime Prevention Website aims to provide correct and up-to-date information you must ensure that you or any person engaged by you to carry out any work relating to fire resistant doors or escape doors complies with fire and building regulations and the requirements of any regulatory body.
What do fire resistant doors do?
Let’s consider what would happen if a fire started in your integral garage, the sort that has an internal pedestrian door from the house to the garage, and you were all in bed. It might be caused by a fault in one of the electrical appliances in the garage or even in the car (we’ve all seen car fires).
Normally you’ll get some smoke produced before the fire really gets going and that’s why you need smoke detectors in the house to sound an alarm. It may be a little while before you hear the smoke alarm and so you want this interconnecting door to hold back the smoke, hot gases and fire. A fire resistant doorset with smoke seals will do just that, because the door leaf contains fire resistant material and, around the edge of the door or frame, there will be intumescent strips. These strips expand when the temperature exceeds 200°C and seals the gaps between the door and the doorframe, thereby reducing the amount of smoke and hot gases that enter the house. The doorset will then hold back the fire for the time it is designed for to enable you and your family to escape from your house and call the fire service.
Do not attempt to open a fire door or other closed door if you suspect a fire on the other side as you will expose the fire to fresh air and it could almost explode into the house and onto you! Also, by opening the door you will feed oxygen to the fire inside the room, which might otherwise burn slower as it starves itself of oxygen. Remember too that one of the main purposes of a fire door is to protect your escape route out of the house or block of flats (a Building Regulation) and if the door is opened or is not closed properly it will simply not do its job and will place you and everyone else in the building in danger. Fire resistant doors will also restrict the spread of fire to the rest of the building for a period of time, and this will be of great advantage for the fire fighters. In addition, fire doors offer the professionals some protection while they are fighting the fire or rescuing trapped persons.
Where are fire resistant doors used?
If you live in a house with an integral garage or a multiple occupancy dwelling then it is almost certain that the interconnecting door to an integral or adjoining garage or doors that open onto common parts of the building, such as corridors and landings will be fire resistant for at least ½ hour.
How do I know if the doorset is fire resistant?
Identifying fire doors is not very easy. Even though responsible door manufacturers mark their doorsets (see below) these markings sometimes get over-painted or removed. Although the thickness and weight of a door and the presence of intumescent strips around the door edge or frame and a self-closing device would be strong indicators that the door is indeed a fire resistant door it would still be advisable to consult the installer, a fire safety expert or perhaps a building control officer if you are in doubt.
What standards are used to test fire doors?
Fire doors are tested to:
BS 476 Part 22: 1987 Fire tests on building materials and structures. Methods for determination of the fire resistance of non-load bearing elements of construction or
European standard BS EN 1634-1: 2008 Fire resistance and smoke control tests for door, shutter and, openable window assemblies and elements of building hardware. Fire resistance tests for doors, shutters and openable windows.
These standards are referenced by Building Regulations.
Fire doors should be certificated to these standards. This means that an independent third party will regularly visit and assess the manufacturing facility and periodically retest the doors to make sure that that they continue to perform to the requirements of the standard.
At the time of writing there are three organisations in Britain that test and certify fire resistant doorsets.
Warrington Certification Ltd (the certification arm of Exova Warringtonfire) is the British Woodworking Federation’s (BWF) certification partner. All products within the BWF-CERTIFIRE Fire Door & Doorset Scheme must be certificated by Warrington Certification Ltd. The scheme is designed to give confidence to specifiers, enforcement authorities and building owners and occupiers. CERTIFIRE is recognised by regulatory authorities both in the UK and abroad. Doors under this scheme carry a label on the top edge of the door which identifies the manufacturer and the fire resistance rating.
BM TRADA operates the Q Mark Fire door manufacture scheme. Under this scheme the door’s resistance to fire can be identified by colour coded plugs that are inserted into the door at the top of the hinge side and or frame. This scheme is recognised by regulatory authorities both in the UK and abroad.
BRE Certification (BRE Global), in association with the Loss Prevention Certification Board, offers its third party certification scheme LPS 1056: ISSUE 6.1 Test and Evaluation Requirements for the LPCB Approval and Listing of Fire Doorsets, Lift Landing Doors and Shutters to manufacturers of fire doors. The scheme provides assurance to specifiers and the approval authorities that the products and systems manufactured will provide the fire protection required. LPCB approved fire doorsets bear a label carrying the LPCB reference number and state that it is LPCB approved. The label will be clearly visible.
How are the tests conducted?
The tests are conducted on complete doorsets, which includes the door, frame, hinges, door closer and lock. If the door is subsequently hung in a doorframe that was not tested with this door or is fitted with different hardware it may not perform to the required standards. A fire door not used as an escape door is likely to be fitted with a door closer (but see below).
Fire resistant doorsets that pass the tests required by BS 476 Part 2: 1987 are described as FD30 and FD60 and so on, where the number refers to the time that the door will withstand the fire attack. Fire resistant doors tested under BS EN 1634-1 2008 are described as E30 and E60 etc. If these references are followed by an ‘S’, for example FD30S, it means that the door has been fitted with smoke seals.
The precise fitting of the various locks and furniture is an important aspect of fire door performance. For example, the removal of too much wood from the stile of the door to fit a mortice lock can mean that a fire would burn through that part of the door a lot quicker than it should.
Replacing or adding a lock or some other door furniture such as a door viewer or letter plate can negatively affect the performance of the door in a fire situation. Locks and door furniture used on certified fire doors has either been tested in that particular door or will have been tested in another fire door that is constructed of the same materials.
The relevant standards that relate to hardware in fire doors are:
BS EN 1634-1:2008 mentioned above and
BS EN 1634-2:2008 Fire resistance and smoke control tests for door, shutter and openable window assemblies and elements of building hardware. Fire resistance characterisation test for elements of building hardware
BS EN 1634-3:2004 Fire resistance and smoke control tests for door and shutter assemblies, openable windows and elements of building hardware. Smoke control test for door and shutter assemblies
The Door and Hardware Federation’s Code of Practice for hardware in fire and escape doors makes a rather important point about letter plates and fire doors. It clearly recommends that letter plates should not be installed into fire doors, but instead should be placed elsewhere, using a free standing or wall mounted letter box instead. Whilst the Code of Practice goes onto say that there are letter plates that have been found to perform satisfactorily in fire tests it seems that their recommendations are broadly in line with those in Door locks, hardware and fittings, Letter plates and mail delivery, which is to avoid using them and instead consider an alternative method to receive the mail.
Should my fire doors be fitted with door closers?
I know door closers can be a pain in the behind quarters, but those that are fitted should not be disabled in any way.
In England and Wales houses and flats that were granted planning permission before 6 April 2007 are governed by the recommendations of Approved Document B 2000. This requires any internal fire doors to be self-closing. This requirement will continue for such buildings, and self-closing devices should still be provided on such internal domestic fire doors in any refurbishment. In these circumstances, uncontrolled closers are permitted, including rising butt hinges. However, The Door and Hardware Federation’s Code of Practice mentioned above strongly discourages rising butt hinges and you should instead consider a replacement fire resistant door. This is because rising butts require the head of the door to be eased and the gap that’s left is simply too large for the fire door to work effectively. In addition, rising butts are often not strong enough to overcome the resistance of the door latching mechanism or seals.
In England and Wales houses and flats that were granted planning permission from 6 April 2007 are governed by the recommendations of Approved Document B 2006. The new regulation allows flats and houses that have hard-wired smoke sensors, to omit self-closers on internal fire doors. However, a private entrance door to an individual flat and a door to an integral garage must be fitted with a self-closing device that complies with BS EN 1154: 1997 Building hardware. Controlled door closing devices. Requirements and test methods or BS EN 1155:1997 Building hardware. Electrically powered hold-open devices for swing doors. Requirements and test method.
Building regulations in Scotland and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are likely to be similar, but you should check using the links given in the table below.
Building regulations and standards for fire safety
England and Wales
Republic of Ireland
Carrying out work on a fire door
If you are going to replace an entrance door, which is also a fire resistant door, then you can purchase doorsets that are both fire resistant and secure to PAS 24:2016 Enhanced security performance requirements for doorsets and windows in the UK. External doorsets and windows intended to offer a level of security suitable for dwellings and other buildings exposed to comparable risk (See Enhanced security doorsets). Landlords and building managers involved in a refurbishment of a block of flats should seriously consider this option. PAS 24 fire resistant doorsets are not a lot more expensive than an ordinary fire resistant doorset, and the reduced opportunity for burglary will reduce future repair costs due to crime.
You really have to know what you are doing when carrying out work on a fire door and so you are advised to use the services of a certified manufacturer of fire doors or use a company that is a member of a relevant trade association (see below) or a company that has third party approval for the installation of fire doors.
Some companies hold the following third party certification for installing fire doors. One of the UKAS approved organisations that offer this is BRE Global, which incorporates the Loss Prevention Certification Board
LPS 1271 Issue 1.1 Requirements for the LPCB Approvals and Listing of companies installing fire and security doorsets and shutters and smoke barriers
For detailed information about fire doors and hardware used on fire doors and escape doors see the Door and Hardware Federation’s Code of Practice: Hardware for Fire and Escape Doors Issue No.3 July 2009.
Further information about fire safety can be obtained from your Building Control department at your local authority.
An extremely useful reference is the recently updated website of The Fire Safety Advice Centre.
Two important fire safety organisations that represent the industry are:
Fire Industry Association (FIA) The FIA is a not-for-profit trade association with the aim of promoting the professional status of the UK fire safety industry.
29 Thames House
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey KT1 1PH
Fire Protection Association (FPA) The FPA is the UK’s national fire safety organisation, one of 28 similar national bodies worldwide. It was established in 1946 and has strong support from the insurance industry, primarily through the Association of British Insurers and Lloyd’s.
Moreton in Marsh
Updated February 2016