A 2015 study of 677 doors at 31 sites by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) found that an average of 3.7 faults were found per fire door they inspected. Sadly, this highlights that too many fire doors are improperly maintained, which is shocking considering they’re designed to save lives. Here at Newview, we’ve gone through the top 5 fire door faults that were identified in this study and highlighted why it’s so important for them to be rectified.
1. Problems with the seals
Intumescent seals are a requirement for any fire door. Fitted in the gap between the door and the frame, they’re designed to expand during a fire. However, intumescent seals that are missing, damaged, or installed incorrectly are highly problematic, as they allow hot gases and smoke to flow into the next room. In 2013-14, 41% of the fire-related deaths in Great Britain were caused by the victim being overcome by gas, smoke or toxic fumes, highlighting how important it is to prevent the spread of smoke.
2. Excessive gaps between the door and the frame
The gaps between the door and the frame should not exceed more than 3mm along the 2 long edges and across the top of the door leaf. Excessive gaps allow oxygen in, providing fuel for the fire. The gap at the bottom of the door is usually around 10mm, however, fire doors requiring seals at the bottom should have a gap no bigger than 3mm. If a gap of more than 10mm is present at the bottom, fire and smoke can easily enter the next room.
3. Incorrect signage
Within the aforementioned study of fire door faults, over a third of the fire doors had signage that was incorrect. Signage is important for guiding people during an emergency. Plus, it makes residents aware that it’s a fire door and must be kept shut at all times.
4. Damage to the door leaf
According to the study, 15% of the Fire Doors had damage to the door leaf. But, in order to comply with regulations, the door leaf must sit properly against the door stop and be free of distortion. It must also be free from any holes. If holes are present in the door leaf, fire and smoke has an easy passageway into an adjacent room. During the unfortunate event of a fire, this will make escape for any occupants significantly more difficult.
5. Unsuitable hinges
Fire doors tend to be heavier than standard doors, meaning they’re usually fitted with 3 hinges instead of 2. This is except for in special circumstances. The use of 3 hinges is important as they help to prevent the door warping during a fire. If the wrong fixings are used for the hinges, the door may also be unable to close properly. This allows fire and smoke to creep through any gaps that are left as a result.
For more information on Fire Door faults or requirements, or if you’re looking for one for your next project, get in touch with the Newview team today. You can contact a member of our friendly team by phone on 01903 244 449 or send us an online message.