The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 became a legal requirement for ‘responsible persons’ on the 23rd of January 2023. The regulations affect all mid and high-rise residential blocks of flats in England.
Fire doors play an essential role in preventing or inhibiting the spread of smoke and toxic gases and preserving the effective compartmentation of buildings. Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, it has been revealed that the fire doors did not act as they should have to prevent smoke and gases from spreading. Upon this, new fire door regulations have been introduced for mid-rise blocks of flats over 11 metres in height. These new rules are designed to increase the safety of these and ensure that their doors can prevent the spread of smoke and gas in a fire.
For a fire door to perform as intended in the event of a fire, it must be regularly checked. Any alterations to the door or its surroundings can affect its performance. As such, a fire door should be checked regularly to ensure that it functions correctly and will perform to its designed standard in the event of a fire.
A fire door should be checked at least once every six months, although newly occupied buildings may require more frequent checks in the first year of use. Where a fire door is in high use, it may need to be checked more frequently than other doors in the building.
Where a block of flats is over 11 metres in height, the ‘responsible person’ must use their best endeavours to ensure that fire doors at the entrances of individual domestic premises are checked at least once every twelve months. In addition to this, fire doors in communal areas of the building must be tested every three months by a competent person. These checks must include ensuring that self–closing devices are working.
Best practice guidance states that any gaps between the door frame and fire door should be between 2 and 4mm and close smoothly – this will adequate room for the intumescent strips to activate in the event of a fire, and to prevent any damage of the smoke seal strips (if installed), upon opening and closing of the door.
Where it is impossible to meet the 4mm maximum gap, properly fitted smoke seals can prevent smoke from reaching the inside of the building. The smoke seal should cover all areas of the door frame to ensure that there are no gaps between the door frame and the smoke seal.
An FD 30 fire door weighs around 2.7 times that of a standard hollow core door so the hinges must be robust. They are typically made from grade 13 stainless steel in order to withstand the pressure, weight and heat although for heavier doors they should be fitted with a grade that is capable of carrying 20% more than the door weight. A large hinge area and large screws allow for a solid fix to the door. Fire doors must usually fitted with three hinges although BS EN 1935: 2002 does allow for two hinges in certain circumstance. The placement of the hinges depends on the door core manufacturer’s testing so this must be checked. The fire door hinge must be certified and have an easily visible CE marking as well as a fire identification stamp.
All UK fire door designs must be tested in accordance with BS476 Part 22 or BS EN 1634-1 at a UKAS accredited test house. This confirms that the door will perform to the required standard during a fire. Once completed the centre issues a primary fire door testing report which details the results.
Smoke leakage tests are usually performed alongside the primary fire testing. They are done in accordance with BS EN 1634-3 and provide assurance that no smoke can escape the fire compartment and harm adjacent occupants. The sad fact is that the main cause of rapid death amongst the victims of fire, is asphyxia from CO toxicity.
At Compliance Group we undertake all aspects of both passive and automatic fire prevention, ensuring complete fire safety compliance. This includes the design, installation, certification and maintenance of alarms, extinguishers, fire doors and curtains, compartmentation, and emergency lights. We deliver and administer end-to-end systems providing our clients with peace of mind and preventing them from possible prosecution.
Contact us at email@example.com to discuss how we can ensure your fire compliance and safety.
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