During recent findings from the Grenfell Tower disaster, the government announced that the fire doors of five different suppliers have failed fire safety tests, with some doors providing only 15 minutes of fire protection instead of the expected 30. Whilst fire doors are an essential requirement in new domestic buildings over two levels high, these findings highlight that many which do not offer the expected levels of protection may still be out there. So how can you be sure that the doors fitted in such areas are actual fire doors? Well, let’s take a closer look to find out how to identify one.
Manufacturers can certify their own fire door sets, usually placing a label along the top edge of the door to demonstrate that they’re a certified fire door. Such labels identify the manufacturer, the date of manufacture and the fire rating of the door. However, to achieve this type of certification, the door has to be sent off for testing at an approved fire testing centre where it’ll be tested to the relevant fire safety standards.
Other types of certification
Aside from manufacturers certifying their own doors, there are two independent bodies that provide certification. However, the way they enable you to identify fire doors differs somewhat.
British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Certificate
Featured on this certificate is the door manufacturer, the rating of the fire door, e.g. FD30, 60, etc. and a unique serial number. It’ll be stuck on the door’s top edge, although it may receive damage, fade or break off over time. Further insight into the label’s content is available via the link here.
For older BWF certified doors, a different scheme was used. The details on their former identification scheme can be found using the link here.
The Q-mark system is used by BM Trada, an independent body that has operated for over 30 years, certifying, amongst other products, fire doors. Their system utilises a number of coloured plugs which are inserted into the door. The different plugs identify the type of fire door, member details and other important information on the door. Similarly to the BWF certificate, they indicate that the door has undergone testing and had its credentials verified.
Identifying fire doors without certification
Identifying fire doors which haven’t received certification is more difficult. There are some potential indicators you can use, however as these are not a definite method for identifying fire doors, it’s wise to insist on written proof that the door meets all the required standards.
These are required with most fire doors and are located in the gap between the door and the frame. They’re designed to expand during a fire, preventing the spread of fire and smoke.
Automatic closing device
All fire doors are fitted with an automatic closing device, although spring-loaded self-closing hinges and concealed door closers might be in use.
Weight of the door
Fire doors are usually considerably heavier than regular ones. Detaching the self-closer and swinging the door between your thumb and index finger is a way you can check the door’s weight.
Because of their increased weight, they’re usually fitted with 3 hinges instead of 2. However, in certain circumstances 2 may be in use.
Fire doors supplied by UK top manufacturers and installed by Newview
Here at Newview, we’ve been involved in a range of housing development projects, happily providing our extensive expertise of fire doors and installing plenty ourselves. Interested in one for your home or want to learn more about the best option for a particular project? Get in touch with the team today on 01903 244 449 or fill out our online contact form.