Ignis Doors

Is Locking Fire Doors Illegal in the UK?

Date: 08/09/2023

Posted by: ignis

While discussing building fire safety, every detail is essential. Fire doors are critical in protecting lives and property. These carefully constructed doors are meant to stop the spread of fire and smoke, buying valuable time during critical periods.

But here’s the question: Can you lock fire doors in the United Kingdom? It’s a question of safety as well as legality. In this post, we have covered this critical issue to offer you the required clarity.

What are Fire Doors?

In addition to their design and certification, fire doors include further components that increase their life-saving. Let’s go into what makes these doors effective safety guards. Intumescent strips and smoke seals are the key elements of fire door functioning. They are vital in slowing the movement of smoke and fire. 

Intumescent strips stretch form a barrier when heated, keeping dangerous smoke from entering neighboring areas. This additional barrier can save lives in a fire by giving residents more time to prevent smoke-related ailments.

A well-functioning fire door is more than a static barrier; it reacts dynamically to fire. The majority of fire doors have a top-notch closing mechanism. This mechanism ensures that the door closes appropriately, even if left ajar. This self-closing mechanism is important in limiting flames and smoke while maintaining the integrity of the fire compartment.

Types Of Fire Doors

Different situations and locations necessitate varied levels of fire resistance and specific features. Understanding the various types of fire-stopping doors is critical for saving lives and property.

Internal Fire Doors

Internal fire doors are the foundations of fire suppression within a structure. These doors resist prolonged fire exposure without allowing flames to pass through. That restricts the spread of fire, heat, and smoke. They typically have a strong hardwood core reinforced by abundant fire-resistant components, such as specific door hinges.

These doors serve multiple functions. 

  • They operate as efficient heat shields to suppress existing flames. In doing so, they protect escape routes and safe rooms, giving valuable time for evacuation. 
  • Fire door building laws strictly govern internal fire doors, ensuring they fulfill particular safety criteria.

External Fire Doors

External fire doors/exit doors are positioned carefully at the ends of escape routes to transport people to safety and outdoors. Unlike internal fire doors, these doors do not have fire-retardant properties. They do not need to be kept closed during a fire emergency.

External fire doors are vital to building safety, especially for quick escape. 

  • They give a clear passage to the outside, lowering the chance of death in the case of a fire. 
  • When the main evacuation route is endangered by fire, a fire escape door might save the day. Its objective is simple but invaluable: to give an additional, unobstructed route for fast escape. 
  • When seconds count, a well-placed fire exit door makes all the difference, allowing people to escape the potential fire spread quickly.

The Value of Fire Door Maintenance

While these components are required, they will be rendered ineffectual if the fire door is not working correctly. Regular maintenance are necessary to ensure that all components remain operating. To ensure the door’s efficiency in the case of a fire or compromised pieces must be replaced ASAP.

Now that we’ve reviewed what is a fire door and how its components function, let’s get to the bottom of the question: Is it legal in the UK to lock a fire door? 

While fire doors are intended to save lives, they can also pose security challenges.

Understanding the Legal Elements of Fire Doors in the UK

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) establishes precise regulations for fire doors. This highlights their vital role in protecting buildings during crises.

The FSO’s Article 14 provides detailed instructions on fire doors. The word “must” is used repeatedly, leaving no opportunity for misinterpretation. Here’s a summary of the main points:

  • Emergency routes and exits must give the shortest route to a safe location.
  • Everyone on the grounds must be able to exit quickly and safely in an emergency. This criterion emphasizes the need for fire doors to work perfectly to help with the fast escape.
  • Emergency exit doors should be opened in the direction of evacuation. This design allows individuals to evacuate without obstructing, significantly accelerating the evacuation procedure.
  • Emergency doors should not remain unlocked and unsecured, enabling anybody in need to access them in an emergency. This provision guarantees all building occupants’ safety.

While you can lock them, you must guarantee that everyone in the facility, not just those with keys, can quickly open the door in times of emergency.

The statute allows for flexibility in achieving this accessibility, allowing for various options. You can set up a high-tech computer-controlled door system that automatically opens all doors when the fire alarm goes off. Alternatively, install a push bar to make it easier for people to escape speedily.

If you want a more accessible and cost-effective option, put a key in a glass container near the entrance. That way, anyone requiring the key during an emergency can access it easily. Now that we’ve covered the regulatory challenges of fire doors in the UK, let’s look at where these vital doors should be located.

In Residential Structures

Fire door installation requirements for residences are generally determined by the number of stories and the specific regions within the home:

Three or More Stories 

Every entrance between a stairway and a livable room in a home with three or more stories must have a fire door. This planned positioning serves to secure escape routes in the case of a fire.

Integrated Garage Door

Any door that connects an integrated garage to the primary residence.

Moreover, The doors leading to these compartments in converted lofts should also be fire doors. This additional layer aids in the containment of probable flames.

In Multi-Use Buildings

Any door that separates a home space from a business space must be a fire door. This rule guarantees that fire does not easily spread between two discrete parts, improving the safety of both facilities’ inhabitants.

In Commercial Structures

Fire doors are an essential feature of commercial safety planning, especially when it comes to escape routes:

  • Fire doors must be designed into buildings having vertical escape routes, such as stairwells. These doors direct people to the stairway during a fire, offering a safe way.
  • Horizontal escape pathways leading to a fireproof compartment within a floor are required in buildings having horizontal escape routes. These doors operate as fire and smoke barriers, allowing passengers to reach the specified safe location.

Install fire doors in these places to comply with fire safety rules and create effective emergency escape pathways. It is essential for building management and protects lives and property.

Ignis Door- Your Trusted Fire Safety Companion in the UK 

Ignis Fire Doors is a unique and incredibly effective choice in the current security scenario. Our finely made doors are intended to raise the bar for security. Our fire doors can be your trusted partner because of their quality, attention to detail, and unshakable dedication to your safety.

Each Ignis fire door is meticulously and precisely made at our purpose-built manufacturing plant in Milton Keynes. We use cutting-edge equipment and the most recent developments to ensure that every door fulfills the highest standards for safety.

Get in touch if you have any inquiries or want more details regarding our fire doors.