In the wake of numerous high-profile fires in recent years, understanding the regulations surrounding fire doors has become paramount for builders, contractors, homeowners, and business owners in the UK. Fire doors play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of buildings and their occupants, acting as a fundamental passive fire protection component.
This blog will serve as your comprehensive summary of fire door regulations within the UK, taking into account commercial and public buildings, existing buildings, new constructions, and residential properties. Plus, we’ll discuss the importance of regular maintenance to guarantee fire doors remain compliant and function as intended.
Fire door regulations are exhaustively outlined in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales, including the common parts of blocks of flats or houses in multiple occupations (HMOs).
- Fire doors must be self-closing and fitted with intumescent seals.
- They are required in areas that are part of escape routes or lead to enclosed stairways where a fire could start.
- Fire-resisting doors need to provide resistance to fire for between 30 to 120 minutes, dependent on the requirement of the particular property.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires building owners to carry out risk assessments which would determine the necessary fire protection level needed in a building, including fire door specifications.
- Fire doors in existing buildings need to comply with BS 476: Part 22 1987 or BS EN 1634-1: 2014
For buildings requiring a higher level of protection, Category A doors offer a fire-resistance duration of over 60 minutes, whereas Category B doors provide a lower fire resistance level.
Building regulations have specific sections dedicated to fire safety known as Approved Document B (Fire Safety). For new buildings, this document contains detailed guidance on the requirements, including those related to fire doors.
- All new buildings must follow the current version of the Approved Document B, which emphasizes appropriate fire doors to hinder the spread of fire and smoke.
Residential buildings have varying requirements depending on the type of property. In single private dwellings, fire doors are usually only necessary when the building has three or more levels or if there’s a door leading from an integral garage directly into the house.
- In multi-occupancy buildings, such as flats, fire doors are necessary on all habitable rooms off the communal hallway to prevent fire spread.
Maintenance and Regular Checks
The functionality of a fire door is not set-and-forget — regular maintenance is crucial.
- Ensure that checks occur at six-month intervals, as a minimum, or more frequently for doors with high traffic volumes.
- Maintenance tasks include inspecting seals, checking that the door closes properly, and ensuring there are no obstructions that would prevent the door from operating effectively.
The consequences of non-compliance with fire door regulations can be severe, including hefty fines and imprisonment. Beyond legalities, the cost can be measured in human lives; hence, adherence to these regulations is crucial for the safety and well-being of all occupants.
Whether it’s a new build, a renovation, or a legal compliance check for an existing structure, understanding and applying the correct fire door regulations is a matter of critical importance in the UK. By adhering to these standards, builders, homeowners, contractors, and business owners can ensure that their buildings are safer, compliant, and better prepared to protect life and property in the event of a fire.
Remember, it’s not just about installing fire doors — it’s about guaranteeing they remain fit for purpose through regular maintenance. Stay mindful of these rules and ensure your properties meet the regulatory standards. Lives and assets depend on it.