Fire does not discriminate in its need and obsession to destroy. Whether it be a commercial or residential building, if fire has a chance, it will burn all it can. That is why fire doors, as part of a comprehensive fire safety plan, are a critical part of every residential building in the UK as they are on the frontline, protecting the residents, their belongings, and the structures themselves.
Why Are Fire Doors Crucial in Residential Buildings?
Legally, fire doors are required in residential buildings at all flat doors, in entrances to hallways and common areas, doors that sub-divide hallways and doors to plant areas and electrical rooms, but why? How exactly does a fire door protect anyone or anything from fire?
- Smoke Containment
Fire doors have intumescent seals built into them, which expand when they get to a certain temperature, restricting the airflow and stopping the spread of smoke to other parts of the building. Outside of the actual flames, smoke is the most dangerous part of a fire and can lead to injury and death.
- Fire Containment
Maria from Doors Galore said “Fire doors are rated and designed with special materials, from the slab to the hinges and screws, to be able to contain the heat and flames of a raging fire, giving residents and staff time to escape.”
- Evacuation Plan Adherence
Fire doors can help with evacuation plans by limiting access to certain parts of a building as it is burning.
- Reduction of Property Damage
Reducing the destructive impact of smoke and fire will save more than just lives. Fire doors help save billions of dollars worth of property every year.
What Can Be Done to Ensure Compliance with Fire Regulations?
Understanding regulatory and legal compliance is crucial if you are considered a “Responsible Person” for a residential property. In the eyes of the law, compliance becomes your responsibility, making you liable for missteps or damage due to negligence. If this is up to you, what can you do to ensure compliance with regulations about fire doors?
- Have a Fire Risk Assessment
A fire risk assessment done by a professional fire risk consultant will tell you everything you need to know about your building’s current level of compliance. Any changes necessary can be pointed out at this time and action taken.
- Regular Fire Door Inspections
Legally, fire doors need to be inspected a minimum of once every 12 months and in common areas, every 3 months. These inspections can be carried out by “Responsible Persons” and don’t need to be done by a professional, as long as they are done thoroughly and are recorded in detail. These checks will inspect seals, hardware, closers, door slabs and any other parts of the fire doors that are critical to its performance.
- Address Any Concerns and Repairs Immediately
If there are repairs or changes to be made, get them done immediately! There is no use in waiting. Fire doors are an integral part of the fire safety system of any residential building and as such, need to be in good, working order.
- Keep Detailed Records
Always have detailed records of all inspections, door checks, maintenance orders and repairs done to fire doors. That way, if there are ever any questions about the fire risk assessments or fire door maintenance, you have everything you need.
Fire Doors: Protecting Residential Buildings
Fire doors are necessary protective equipment in every residential building. Understanding how to ensure their full compliance with local regulations and laws will give you peace of mind, knowing that fire safety is being properly taken care of, protecting the tenants, staff, and the buildings themselves.