All buildings have to be compartmentalised to help prevent the spread of fire from one area to another. However in order to allow people to move around the building there obviously need to be doors. These ‘fire doors’ as they are called have two very important and quite distinct functions: when closed they stop fire and smoke from spreading, and when open they provide a means of escape.
A well designed and properly installed fire door will delay the spread of fire and smoke without causing too much hindrance to the movement of people and goods.
Fire doors obviously need to be of fire resisting construction, but that’s not the end of the story. In order to stop the spread of hot gasses and cold smoke, fire doors need to have intumescent strips and smoke seals installed to both sides and the head of the door.
The door frame is an integral part of the fire protection of the door, and the whole door set needs to meet the relevant standards, including the door hardware. The fitting of certified door furniture is often overlooked, and the absence of the correct door furniture will totally negate the protection afforded by the door and in effect make the fire door itself pointless.
The performance of timber doors is judged by subjecting them to the standard test procedure specified in BS 476 : Part 22: 1987 or BS EN 1634-1: 2000. Tests are made on specimen complete door assemblies, the fire door and frame with all the necessary hardware.
How to identify a fire door.
All fire doors that meet current standards will be certified to either the TRADA Q-Mark or the BWF Certifire fire door schemes. Certified door sets are identified by a label on the top edge of the door, or a colour coded plug inserted in the jamb of the door. Identification marks can sometimes be removed during installation or adjustment, or may have been painted over, but if the door set has been installed by a competent joiner this should not happen.
Door sets that are not labelled cannot be classed as certified fire doors.
Doors that are not labelled can however be assessed by a competent person, and if in the opinion of the assessor the door is able to hold back a fire for a specified time it can then be classed as a ‘nominal’ fire door. Identifying nominal fire doors is very difficult and expert assistance will be required. Contact Argos Fire Protection for advice.
It is often more cost effective to replace existing doors with complete new certified framesets, but where this is not desirable or possible then upgrading may be the answer. Some methods of upgrading include: facing with non-combustible board, sandwiching door panels, and fitting intumescent paper, paints or varnishes. It is likely that other upgrading measures will be required in conjunction with any of these methods.
Argos Fire Protection have the necessary experience to identify and upgrade all types of fire doors, so contact us for friendly, common sense advice.