Andrew Blackwell | Project Manager
A Guide to Fire Doors & Hardware
By Andrew Blackwell
Selecting fire doors for your home or business can be a complex process at the best of times, but when it comes time to select fire door hardware it’s essential to choose the correct products to ensure the door can work effectively at repelling flames and smoke.
What Is A Fire Door and How is it Different to a Standard Interior Door?
Fire doors aren’t just your standard interior door, they are designed to withstand the spread of flames and smoke throughout a building for a set period of time to allow for safe evacuation.
A fire door is constructed to incorporate a solid core that is capable of offering various levels of protection. The minimum rating is an FD30 rated fire door, which offers 30-minutes of fire resistance. The higher specification FD60 door offers 60 minutes of fire and smoke protection, these are often used in commercial premises.
Of course, these doors alone will not offer robust protection in the event of a fire and can only do so once they are installed according to fire door regulations, and with the right hardware.
Fire doors only work correctly when intumescent strips are fitted around the edges of a door that are fairly redundant during day-to-day use. However, when these strips are subjected to extreme temperatures, they expand very quickly to seal up the gap between the frame and the edge of the door, thereby creating a temporary barrier against flames and smoke.
Guide to Hardware for Fire Doors
When it comes to choosing hardware for fire doors, it’s crucial to remember that the items you’re having fitted must reflect the situation.
Fire doors are commonly found in both commercial and private dwellings alike, so depending on the location, you’ll need to investigate which fittings are most appropriate. Although we’ve compiled a few things that you need to be aware of, it’s best to refer to the Code of Practice in all areas that you’re unsure about.
What Hardware Should Be Fitted to a Fire Door?
Vital fire door hardware is that which is completely indispensable to the operation of the fire door, such as:
· Air Transfer Vents.
A fire door can only be fully certified, once it has been tested with all the essential hardware in place. In fact, certain certification bodies will only offer certification to a fire door once it has been fully assembled and tested with certified third-party hardware present.
Hardware in Residential Properties
Within a residential property, a door closer is essential, as well as three hinges that have been tested under the BS EN 1935 and conform to the fire door European CE standards (AS122). All other ironmongery, such as handles, latches and similar accessories can be fitted in a way that matches the aesthetic of the rest of the property.
Hardware in Commercial Premises
Fire doors within a commercial property, as per legislation, should be self-closing and the closer should come with literature that states that it has been classed as appropriate for use on fire doors under the BS EN 1154 for manual door closers or the BS EN 1155 if you’re using an electrically powered door closer.
Additionally, the chosen closer needs to align with Disability Discrimination regulations, in that an opening force of 30 newtons is required for the first 30 degrees of opening, moving down to 22.5 newtons when between 30 and 60 degrees.
Fire doors in commercial premises, as with private dwellings, will need to have three CE marked hinges. Unless otherwise specified, lockable fire doors will need to have non-locking latches fitted to the door as this will not prevent safe evacuation during an emergency. The handles chosen should also be certified fire resistant to ensure they don’t melt and prevent a means of safe evacuation.
All fire doors in commercial properties should also be equipped with the intumescent seals we mentioned earlier. These not only need to be fitted around the perimeter gap of the door, but intumescent material must be used around hinges, locks and door closers too.
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