Responsibility under Building Safety Act
Almost a third of those responsible for fire doors do not understand fire door responsibility under Building Safety Act
From The BWF Fire Door Alliance
The BWF Fire Door Alliance reveals new research into the understanding of fire door third-party certification as new building safety legislation comes into force
Nearly a third (30%) of those responsible for fire door safety say they do not fully understand their responsibilities under the Building Safety Act*, one of the UK’s leading authorities on fire door safety and third-party certification has revealed.
The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Fire Door Alliance’s survey of 1,000 people with responsibility for fire door specification, installation, and maintenance across the UK identified a lack of understanding of fire safety-related responsibilities under the new legislation. Almost one in ten (8%) were unaware how new laws will affect how fire doors are specified.
However, in signs of a an early positive effect of new legislation, more than half of respondents said they would now ask for more information on product traceability and seek more proof of performance.
Helen Hewitt, Chief Executive of the BWF Fire Door Alliance, said: “Our findings clearly show that while the new legislation appears to have had a positive initial impact, there is still some work to be done in disseminating the detail, and building an understanding of how compliance with the law can be met. This must be made an urgent priority for all those responsible for fire safety.”
Growing awareness of fire door certification, but still work to do
The research, published in a new report as part of the BWF Fire Door Alliance’s Be Certain, Be Certified campaign explored understanding and attitudes towards third-party certification of fire doors, which can assist those responsible for a building’s fire safety to fulfil their legal obligations and offer robust proof of a fire door’s performance.
While, encouragingly, more than half (55%) of fire doors that respondents had responsibility for are third-party certified, 80% said that end clients, such as building owners and managers, do not require third-party certification.
Helen Hewitt said: “Third-party certification provides robust proof of performance and traceability of a fire door’s components, its manufacture and journey through the supply chain. Despite this, there is still no mandatory requirement under Building Regulations for the use of third-party certified fire doors, despite the essential role fire doors play in protecting building occupants from the spread of smoke and fire.
“Our latest report, which we’re proud to launch as part of our our Be Certain, Be Certified campaign, calls for those ultimately responsible for building fire safety to specify third-party certified fire doors as a requirement throughout all UK buildings. Not only will this raise the standard of fire door safety but crucially, it will help protect lives.”
Among those who do specify or use third-party certified fire doors, the primary reason for doing so is to meet and comply with fire safety legislation (47%). 40% said that the reason was to provide traceability of fire door components, manufacture and journey through the supply chain – highlighting a strong awareness of the benefits of third-party certification.
However the research also highlighted major barriers to the adoption of third-party certified fire doors. Over a third (35%) cite cost as the primary reason, while 33% reported a lack of end client demand.
Certification delivers all-important traceability While end clients typically don’t insist on certification, the overwhelming majority (88%) of respondents agree that the traceability of a complete fire door assembly is important to the organisations they’re working on behalf of. However, less than a third (28%) said they will go as far as to specify third-party certified fire doors to meet their obligations.
Helen adds, “Clearly there is not a price that can be put on safety or protecting the lives of building users, particularly those where people sleep or that house vulnerable occupants.”Link to the article
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Frequently asked questions:
Our 30 minute fire doors (FD30) are 44mm thick
Our 60 minute fire doors (FD60) are 54mm thick
The amount that can be removed from the edges of a fire door differs from one door to the next and depends on several factors, including the exact materials used during construction and guidelines from the fire rating certificate. Accurate trimming information can only be provided by the manufacturer on a case-by-case basis after the door has been completed.
There are no set rules that detail how long a fire door lasts before it needs to be replaced. The condition of the door should be monitored and checked at least every 6 months to ensure it is in good working order. Fire doors should comply with the latest fire door regulations and so it is important to keep up to date with any changes in regulations which may mean your doors are no longer fit for purpose.
All our fire doors satisfy the DDA regulations.
In order to calculate the weight of a fire door you will need to know the weight per square meter (kg/m2) of the doors core. This is determined using the thickness of the door as follows: 44mm = 55kg 54mm = 75kg The calculation below can be used to determine the approximate weight of the fire door. Please note that the calculation does not take glass weight into account. Width X height X thickness X kg/m2 of the door's core = Weight of fire door. For example for a door that was 926x2040mm with a thickness of 44mm the following calculation would give an approximate weight: 0.926 X 2.040 X 0.44 X 55 = 45 KG.
Yes, fire door seals can be fitted to either the door or the frame Double doors or door and a half fire doors will need to have fire door seals fitted to the door to ensure that the gap between each leaf is taken into consideration.
The closing force rating of fire door closers, also called "power size", relates to the maximum width and weight of fire doors that the door closer can reliably close and hold closed.
Whilst it is possible to fit self closing hinges to a fire door, Safelincs does not recommend their use as they slam the door quickly.
Fire doors should never be propped or wedged open as the fire door would not be able to close in the event of a fire. A safe and legal solution to holding open fire doors is to install a fire door holder also known as a retainer. Fire door retainers can be easily installed onto existing doors and allow the door to be held open at any angle. They comply with regulations because when the fire alarm sounds, the door retainer releases the fire door to close, preventing the spread of fire. Fire doors should never be propped or wedged open to improve ventilation.
Cutting the bottom off a fire door could threaten the integrity of your fire door and could put lives at risk. If you need to increase air circulation in your building the best option is to hold your fire door open with a fire door holder or free-swing door closer. These are legal solutions that enable a fire door to be left open but will activate the automatic closing of the fire door on the sounding of fire alarm, preventing the spread of smoke and fire.
Yes, in some cases you can make alterations to your fire door, however these alterations can only be done if they remain within the scope of the fire door's Certifire Approal documents. For example when a fire rated door viewer or intumescent letterbox / letter plate is required. This information should also be detailed in the installation and maintenance instructions supplied with each door leaf. It is critical that any changes made to a fire door is done so following the manufacturer’s instructions, by a trained professional, and with certified hardware to ensure that the performance of the door, and it’s associated certification, is not compromised. BWF-Certifire have created a guide on how to ensure you retain your Fire Door Certification when considering making alterations.
Yes, intumescent fire seals are required on all fire doors. Newer doors and frames have a channel cut into them for rebated seals (if not supplied with seals already in place). For older doors, surface-mounted seals can be used instead. Please note: some of our seals have brushes on them, which are designed to block the spread of smoke around the door before ambient heat has caused the intumescent seals to expand and fill any gaps – these are usually required on doors, so make sure a competent person has performed the appropriate fire risk assessments or fire door inspections before purchasing.
Fire doors must be used in walls which form the compartmentation of the premises – specific areas within the building that are constructed to be fire-resistant. These may be individual rooms, but could also contain multiple rooms or might be vertical risers and lift shafts. Fire-rated doors are not required for walls not part of a compartment boundary. Additional fire doors can be installed in place of normal doors, but they would provide minimal protection as the walls around them may not be constructed of especially fire-resistant materials and could burn through while the fire door remains intact. There is a risk of occupants gaining a false sense of security if fire doors are installed in non-compartment walls, so this should only be done under the guidance of a proper fire risk assessment conducted by a competent person. Please consult the original building plans, if available, to determine where your premises' fire compartments are, or otherwise have a competent person perform a fire risk assessment or fire door inspection.
Regulations state that fire doors should self-close completely and reliably. They do not however need to bang or slam shut. The reason for the slamming is usually due to the fire door closer having an incorrect closing speed or power size. Many self-closing devices can be adjusted so that the door will close correctly without slamming shut. Other issues including a loss of fluid or improper fitting could be causing the issue. It is also possible to fit self-closing devices with a latching action which close the door quickly at first and then stop it from slamming by closing the last few inches slowly. It is advisable to have your fire door closer maintained and altered by a competent person.