Everything You Need To Know About Fire Doors
Whether you have a single fire door in your building or multiple fire doors across multiple
levels, they are vital components in your defence against the spread of fire when such an
However, when it comes to fire doors, there is more than meets the eye, and many people
are unaware of their function, what the legal requirements are and how they’re made.
That’s why this month, we’re going to take you through everything you need to know about
fire doors, arming you with the information you need to protect people and assets within your
What do fire doors do?
Fire doors are integral to what is known as compartmentalisation. This is where a room or
area of a building is turned into a compartment by a fire door. By keeping fire and smoke
contained within a certain compartment for a limited time, your fire doors preserve the
evacuation route long enough to give occupants time to safely evacuate without the need for
Where an evacuation route is compromised for any reason and people cannot safely
escape, a compartment, separate from where the fire is located, could become a refuge for
occupants to wait in until fire and rescue services arrive.
Preserving life is always the number one aim in fire safety, but an additional benefit of fire
doors is that they help to protect important assets within a building – as well as the building
itself – if they can slow the spread of fire. This gives fire and rescue services more time to
reach the location and extinguish the fire.
How do fire doors work?
All fire doors will provide a limited amount of resistance time, but they must be closed fully in
order to work.
Fire resistance is provided through the thickness and solidity of the materials used in the
construction of the door, meeting far higher specifications compared with standard doors.
When opening or closing a fire door manually, you will no doubt have noticed the difference
Meanwhile, intumescent strips within the edge of the door will expand under extreme heat,
creating a seal between the leaf and the frame to hold back flames and smoke. Cold smoke
seals can also be put in place to prevent the spread of smoke.
Some fire doors may need to be held open due to the nature of activity within your building,
but they should only be pinned back by a retainer or magnetic release system. This will
ensure the doors will close automatically when the fire alarm system is triggered. Never hold
or prop fire doors open manually or use standard door stops.
Your fire doors should always be installed in line with BS 8214 to ensure they are fitted to
the high standards set within the industry.
How are fire doors made?
We’ve already touched on the fact that fire doors are thicker than standard doors, but while
different manufacturers may use slightly different variations of materials, all fire doors must
provide at least 30 minutes of resistance. This must be tested, along with the frameset,
before a manufacturer's door can be certified.
The bulk of the door is made from solid softwood or hardwood, with a veneer or timber finish
that can have any additional finish applied.
All fire doors constructed must come with a fire rating label that includes the company’s
name, unique serial codes and certification details. At Fire Industry Specialists Ltd, we
ensure all our fire doors are compliant with BS 476-22, giving you the assurance of having
fire doors that meet the required standards.
What are the different types of fire doors?
While the design and features of fire doors can vary greatly – usually concerning the finish,
glazing and door closer style – there are four different types that you need to be aware of
from a fire safety perspective. These are as follows:
These codes simply differentiate the door by the amount of fire resistance time provided. For
example, an FD30 door provides at least 30 minutes of fire resistance, while an FD120 door
provides at least 120 minutes of resistance time.
Your requirements for fire resistance will largely depend on the structure and purpose of
your building. Often, an FD30 is enough for dwellings and small commercial buildings, while larger buildings such as hospitals and industrial complexes may need more resistance time
to safely evacuate everyone.
How long does a fire door last?
A fire door should last for at least 30 minutes but can go up to two hours (as covered in the
previous section). However, this can only be achieved if the door is closed and if it has been
maintained to ensure it is in good working condition.
Fire doors that are damaged or neglected will be unlikely to last the amount of time they
were originally tested and manufactured to.
Do I legally need fire doors?
If you operate a business, commercial property or residential flats and houses of multiple
occupancy, then yes, it is a legal requirement to have fire doors installed.
This is because the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 stipulates that the
responsible person for the building should ensure all relevant fire safety precautions are in
place. Paramount in this regulation is the requirement to reduce the risk of fire spreading,
something fire doors are specifically created for.
A full compartmentation survey will establish where you are required to have fire doors in
place and a fire door inspection will measure the compliance both for their fire rating and the
condition of any current door.
At Fire Industry Specialists Ltd, we provide a full range of fire door services from fire door
surveys and maintenance to the installation of new fire doors and replacement of old ones.
Operating nationally – including Lincoln, Nottingham, Manchester, Birmingham and Sheffield
– we are backed by the LS Fire Group and can help any businesses or commercial
operations meet their legal obligations.
Call us today for expert help and advice when it comes to fire doors for your site.