John Planck Ltd has been receiving an increased number of inquiries related to architectural hardware and fire safety. With this in mind, we’ve invited our team member John Ducey to contribute a blog post specifically about fire doors and door sets. John has a Diploma in Fire Doors (DipFD) and is well versed in the importance of building hardware being up to code.
In light of Grenfell Tower, Tom Planck has asked me to share my knowledge about fire door safety and the importance of choosing, installing, and maintaining these doors. Fire doors are a vital part of the passive defence of any building and, when installed and maintained correctly, will save lives. They compartmentalise and slow down the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases. Unfortunately, fire doors are often incorrectly installed or poorly maintained which inevitably impacts on their effectiveness.
When selecting a fire door, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. Make sure the doors have the correct fire rating. The rating classification of the wall determines the classification you need for the door. Generally, the highest rating is for three hours which typically relates to walls that separate buildings or divide large buildings into wings. You also need to ensure that your doors are measured accurately and have correctly specified frames and hardware. If there are excessive gaps between the door and the frame, the door won’t be effective in slowing the spread of fire and smoke.
Correctly installing a fire door is crucial to its effectiveness. Any deviation from the manufactured and supplied certified door, be it trimming the door in any way, or maybe putting an additional hole in the door, etc. will void the certification that details the extent and detail the door has been tested to. All hinges, locks, latches & door closers (where required) must be CE certified and fitted securely with the appropriate fixings. This is overlooked far too often. For more information on the importance of specification and installation watch this video from Fire Door Saftey Week.
Use and Maintenance
It might sound obvious, but in order for a fire door to work, it has to be closed. Propping it open or not closing it defeats its purpose. You’d be surprised just how often this happens. Just like with fire alarms and fire extinguishers, fire doors need to be inspected periodically to make sure that they are working well. Generally speaking, this should happen at least every six months. The label, hinges, latches, smoke seals, glazing, glass and threshold gaps should all be checked.
Fire safety is of the utmost importance when sourcing architectural hardware. John Planck Ltd can help you specify the correct products which meet with the latest performance standards and carry the relevant certifications. Please contact us for any assistance you require.