Exploding 15 fire door myths
Fire Door Safety Week is an annual event which aims to focus on issues around fire doors and fire safety. In anticipitation of this year's campaign (running 24 - 30 September) here's an article produced by the British Woodworking Foundation (BWF) answering 15 common myths around fire doors. An illustrated version in PDF format is also available on the Fire Safety Week website.
Standard doors can be made into fire doors by fitting larger doorstops to the existing frame.
Additional doorstops do not turn a standard door into a fire door. A fire door requires all items to meet the specification stated on the fire door certificate.
Painting a door with fire retardant paint makes it a fire door.
BWF Certifire would not recognise this as a fire door. A fire door is made up of many compatible and fire tested materials and components, all listed on the fire door certificate. A lick of paint will not turn a standard door into a fire door.
Any lock can be fitted onto a fire door because it’s made of metal, and metal doesn’t burn in a fire.
You can only fit a fire tested and compatible lock as listed on the fire door certificate as excessive removal of material from the door leaf can impact performance in a fire. Metal gets hot in a fire, so don’t forget the intumescent protection if needed.
If a fire door is too big, it can be cut down to fit.
A fire door can only be trimmed by the amount permitted on the manufacturers fitting instructions and fire door certificate. Resizing doors outside of the limitations set on the fire door certificate invalidates certification.
The gap between the fire door and the frame doesn’t matter.
The dimension of the gap around the entire perimeter of the door is critical to preventing the passage of toxic fumes and smoke in the event of a fire. On a fire door with smoke seals this gap is commonly 3mm but always check the fitting instructions or the fire door certificate.
People can fit their own glazed panels in fire doors.
To manufacture a fire door with a glazed panel requires a number of correct components and should only be carried out by someone who is licensed and trained to do so. Cutting holes in doors for vision panels on site invalidates fire door certification.
When fitting a fire door, you don’t need the little packers that come with hinges and other ironmongery. You can throw them away.
The ‘hinge packers’ are actually intumescent pads. They protect the metal hinge from heat in a fire. If the fire door certificate specifies that these intumescent pads are needed, they must be fitted.
Fire doors don’t come with any documentation.
Every fire door must have a current independently accredited test certificate. This proves the door’s fire rating, test criteria, and manufacturing compliance.
It also shows that the door’s components meet strict performance and compliance standards.
It also gives critical information about installation.
Fire doors have to be assessed by the fire brigade.
Since October 2006, it is the responsible person’s duty to carry out fire risk assessments. The fire service does not carry out fire risk assessments of commercial or industrial premises.
I’m just a landlord so I’m not expected to know much about fire doors.
If you are the building owner or landlord and the ‘responsible person’ under the Fire Safety Order it is your responsibility ensure fire safety for the occupants of your building. If you do not have the knowledge or skills, you must appoint a ‘competent person’ to carry this out for you.
I have a fire risk assessment therefore I cannot be prosecuted.
Simply having a fire risk assessment does not make you fully compliant. It just acts as a method to identify and quantify risk.
I’ve never had a Fire Officer visit so I don’t need to bother with the Fire Legislation.
All non-domestic premises must adhere to the Fire Safety Order 2005 regardless of whether they have had a visit from a Fire Officer or not. By not adhering to this you and your organisation are risking prosecution or a hefty fine.
You need to have established qualifications to be competent.
Competence is legally defined as having adequate experience and knowledge of your workplace and not necessarily fire safety. Knowledge of this can be obtained from various sources.
We don’t need to fit any intumescent strip to fire doors because we use a bigger door stop
A fire door always needs intumescent strips either in the frame or around the door edges to ensure its performance in the event of a fire.
I can put my own glazed vision panels in fire doors because it’s cheaper and quicker.
Anyone that carries out this type of work must be licensed to do so, otherwise the manufacturer’s certification on the fire door will be void.
For more information about installing and maintaining fire doors, download a free copy of the BWF-Certifire Best Practice Guide and find out how to help us get the word out about Fire Door Safety Week.
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