Fire doors are a necessary requirement for all new buildings in the UK, and as such, are considerably important in the structure of the building. However, since this is a relatively new legislation and most people do not delve into the deep end of regulations of construction, the public is largely unaware of the significance of fire doors. Which is why, we’ve taken the liberty of discussing the ins and outs of fire doors, from what they are to where are fire doors required in commercial buildings in the UK. Let’s start with an overview of what fire doors are.
While fire doors are present all around the world, the UK mandates it on commercial and certain residential units and buildings to protect the occupants of the premises in the event of a fire, and to ensure that the evacuation process goes smoothly without any mishaps. Let’s start by looking at what fire doors are, and then we’ll move to where are fire doors required in commercial buildings in UK.
What are fire doors?
No, fire doors are not doors that start cool fires and then extinguish automatically. Nor are they doors behind which you can fire people safely. Fire doors are actually a part of passive firefighting systems installed in buildings in the UK. A fire door is any structural installation/ door that stops or temporarily halts the spread of the fire in order to allow more time to be accorded to the evacuation efforts. These doors are made of materials with good fire resistance, and while a normal door would fuel any fire that might suddenly break out, fire doors do not catch on fire, rather stop the spread and try to limit the blaze to the area zero.
Fire doors: why part of passive firefighting?
Fire doors form an important part in the passive fire defense systems installed in a building. Why is it called passive? Because unlike active measures, which work to extinguish the flame by cutting off air to it, passive systems become a barrier between the fire and any occupants or objects that might get into the path of the fire and save them from the raze. They are passive because they do not extinguish the flame, but rather reduce the damage or the effect caused by said flame. And fire doors are the prime example of it.
Why are fire doors important?
Fire doors are important in a building structure, where it is plausible or likely that sooner or later, a fire might erupt. For example, large warehouses, office buildings with extensive electrical systems and places like hotels and restaurants may necessitate the use of fire doors.
Fire doors are important because of two reasons, which will be discussed briefly before moving on to where are fire doors required in commercial buildings in UK.
- Help extend evacuation time: In the event of a fire, the occupants will be become panicked and the evacuation effort will be very disorganized, since fire spreads rapidly in tight buildings. This is disadvantageous since it leaves very little time for rescue services to organize an efficient evacuation. Fire doors hold the fire in, usually box it, to allow firefighters and evacuation personnel to vacate a building before actual firefighting may begin. This makes them very useful as they allow all the people to be evacuated and allows firefighters to deal with the blaze more effectively.
- Keeps people, pets, valuable objects safe: Another reason why fire doors are so important and mandated by the UK government is their ability to keep the flames at bay and allowing people to evacuate. Aside from that, if placed and installed strategically, they can direct fire away from any rooms that might contain important items or anything of value. Which makes them a structural part of the building that keeps the flames out of the places that need to be protected by flames at all costs.
Where are fire doors required in commercial buildings in UK?
While for the residential sector, buildings and quarters available for rent which have three or more stories need to have fire doors installed. Since each story doubles the amount of occupants a building will have, the NHS has logically decided to mandate that any building over three stories will have to have fire doors installed, and for commercial buildings, the locations have also been specified in the layout of where fire doors will have to be installed.
According to the specifications as per the NHS, fire doors need to be installed in such a manner that they form a clear horizontal or vertical escape route throughout the building, easing evacuation in case of a blaze.
- A horizontal route will direct people to a fireproof area on a particular floor of a building or to the outside of the building.
- A vertical route, on the other hand, will direct people to a stairwell.
Since every building’s architecture, floor plans and designs are different to each other, a general requirement for fire doors stipulates that they lead to a secure place that either allows for a quick evacuation or contributes greatly to occupants leaving the building on their own out of a convenient way out. As such, these fire doors need to be set up in such a way that they facilitate this escape, meaning that aside from boxing in and containing the fire, fire doors will have stickers indicating the passage leading out of the building.
What are fire doors made out of?
Considering their ability to hold the flames off, fire doors are surprisingly lightweight. Their construction is what makes them so resistant to fire, especially the materials that are used. While most doors use gypsum, high quality fire doors will also use metal, steel or aluminium to ensure that the door stands up to the flames and does not contribute to it getting out of control.
Depending on the construction, the fire door will stand up to the blaze for upto an hour, which is the safest door as per the rating, which is FD60. For other installations where the occupancy number is low, FD30 doors can be used as well, which will provide insulation from fire for upto 30 minutes.
Trust Ignis Doors to keep you safe, always!
When it comes to fire doors, there’s no skimping out on safety. These doors will be your first line of defence in protecting you and your loved ones in the unfortunate event of a fire. For those times, you need a fire door that you can trust your life with, and they don’t come much better than Ignis Doors. Made in the UK, Ignis Doors prides itself in providing some of the best fire doors out there, that can withstand the flames to ensure that you and your family make it out safe. Ignis’ fire doors are all solid core, since we believe that the conventional honeycomb or foam is not safe enough and not able to withstand the extreme temperatures that accompany a fire. As such, their fire doors are rated both FD30 and FD60, and with their insistence on quality and prioritizing human safety, an Ignis fire door means that your family is safe from any untoward incident involving fire.