Blake Fire and Security Systems

Do I really need a specialist Fire Door Company to keep our premises compliant and safe?

Date: 14 August 2022

Fire doors are an essential part of any building's fire safety strategy. They help to stop the spread of smoke and flames by helping to compartmentalise a fire - keeping it in one room. This allows people more time to evacuate the building and gives firefighters time to reach them. Fire doors save lives...

This is why you are legally required to fit certified fire doors and keep them in full working order. And why using a specialist fire door company is the only way to keep your insurance company happy!

How dangerous are non-compliant fire doors?

Fire doors that fail to hold back a fire for the legally required resistance time put lives at risk. This was one of the failings at Grenfell Tower. The fire doors did not manage the 30 minutes... Tragically, as we all know, the fire got out of control quickly and meant the disaster was much worse than it could have been.

Clearly, if your existing fire doors do not meet the legal standard they may need to be replaced. You need a competent fire door company to correctly install the appropriate fire-rated doors and maintain them. Always choose trained and certified fire door professionals. People who understand and can work to the relevant British Standards, so you stay compliant. And your fire doors function properly during a fire, buying time for people to escape and the Fire Brigade to arrive.

A specialist fire door company will keep your fire doors compliant - no more fire doors propped open!

A specialist fire door company will keep your fire doors compliant

How to ensure your fire doors are compliant

We've created a 6 step guide to help. This shows you exactly what you need to do. Follow the advice and your Responsible Person can cross fire doors off the list of things to worry about... You can download it here.

Ensuring compliant fire door installation and maintenance

Step 4 in the guide recommends you find an approved and accredited fire door company for maintenance and installation. A company with the BM Trada Q Mark or equivalent 3rd party accreditation. Then you're certain that your fire doors are certified and tested to the relevant British standards. These will NOT let you down in a fire!

And you MUST record everything. So you can prove compliance.

It's not just fire doors you have to worry about...

There's the fire door set too. This is a complete door assembly. It is made up of the door frame, leaf or leaves, essential hardware, edge seals and glazing. And any side panels or fanlight panels.

All of this is a complete unit. All parts work together to create your fully compliant fire door assembly. Any part that is damaged or not installed correctly is potentially a weak spot. And that weak spot may allow a fire to spread into the next room. Fire is like water, it finds the gaps...

Repaired fire door sets are another issue. Sometimes under-qualified people will replace JUST the fire door leaf rather than the complete set. We’ve seen problems such as non-compliant screws and hinges used. Or missing screws - using 3 screws instead of 6 leaves holes that compromise your fire door. This means your door itself is no longer certified and no longer compliant. 

Your fire door’s rating is assigned following stress testing, carried out by the manufacturer, to strict conditions specified in British Standards. As soon as these strict conditions are no longer replicated, your fire door certification becomes invalid!

What about the wall?

A fire door may have compliant margins, hinges and intumescent smoke seals etc. but it's useless if the wall substrate it is installed into has voids everywhere. We’ve seen extraordinary examples of this. Such as where the door was in a panel that didn’t reach the ceiling. And more ordinary ones like leaving the void above the ceiling tiles. Essentially giving the fire a free passage.

When you use a specialist fire door company your fire doors are covered, of course. But for walls... you need to ensure your fire door company ALSO has BM Trada fire stopping accreditations. Then this will never be a problem for you.

In Essex and neighbouring counties, Blake's is a great choice to take on ALL your fire door AND fire stopping concerns. As part of our passive fire protection one-stop shop provision (plus active fire protection as well as security) and our dedication to accreditation, we've got your back! You can find out more about how we can help on our fire stopping page.

Important - if you do not install, maintain and repair or replace adequate fire doors and fire door sets in your premises you put lives at risk. AND leave yourself open to prosecution!

When you don't employ a specialist fire door company...

Since Grenfell, we've found that many businesses and schools have their fire doors flagged by their Fire Risk Assessor. Often the Responsible Person is unaware of the regulations and their responsibilities... This could mean your budget for fixing your fire doors is wasted! Let's say...

Your Responsible Person unwittingly uses unsuitable tradesmen. And they, in turn, fit the wrong fire doors. Or make alterations that compromise otherwise compliant fire doors or assemblies. Meaning...

Your brand new fire doors are still not compliant. And will fail the next survey! What a waste of money!

To ensure this disaster doesn't happen to you, you should download our 6 step guide to fire door compliance. Follow it and your Responsible Person can relax... knowing everything is in hand. And your fire doors will never fail another fire risk assessment!

Compliant Fire Doors Guide

The importance of Evidence of Certification

Evidence of Certification is important because it shows interested parties - fire risk assessors and insurance companies - that your fire door equipment is compliant and fit for purpose. Installed and maintained by a specialist fire door company with BM Trada or equivalent 3rd party accreditation.

Doing so means you're meeting your legal obligations and fulfilling your duty of care.

How to find a suitably qualified fire door company

The best way to find a qualified fire door company is to look for one with BM Trada or equivalent certification. This means they have demonstrated competence in the installation of fire doors AND are audited by a third party. And for your peace of mind, you’re certain their work meets all the relevant British standards.

If you go on the BM Trada website you can search for certified companies. You will find our Passive Fire Safety Manager, Martin Blake there. Approved for fire door Installation and maintenance AND fire stopping installation.

How long will our fire doors withhold fire and smoke?

It depends on the fire door rating. This shows how long the door can resist fire. Usually, doors are FD 30 or FD 60 - withstanding fire for 30 or 60 minutes respectively. However, you can have fire doors with 120 minutes of fire resistance. The design of your building and the day-to-day use will determine the category of fire door that should be installed. 

Your fire risk assessor will tell you what your building requires. And your specialist fire door installer should follow that guidance and correctly install a door with the correct rating.

But there's more to think about. As mentioned earlier, the fire doors can fail if they are not of the required resistance. Also, your fire doors can only do their job if they're kept closed when not in use, undamaged and well-maintained!

Propped open fire doors cannot do their job!

Is fire door maintenance a legal requirement?

Oh yes. Article 17 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO/FSO) makes it a legal requirement. You must make sure your fire doors are not only correctly installed, but also adequately maintained. And so fit for purpose all the time, as far as possible.

The FSO stipulates that your Responsible Person must take adequate steps to remove and reduce fire risks. Keeping your fire doors fully functional is a crucial part of this.

A word on fire door repairs...

Fire doors with a lot of traffic are more susceptible to damage than those used less often. Obviously. Recently we've seen a lot of businesses, schools and other commercial enterprises make the same mistake. That is...

Using a regular chippy to repair their fire door.

This usually leads to further failed Fire Door Surveys. Not because your regular chippy is bad. He is just unaware of the current legislation and British Standards. Step 4 in our guide recommends, as with fire door maintenance, that you use a fully trained and certified fire door company. This ensures a good repair and correct fire door performance.

How regularly should your fire doors be serviced?

BM Trada states that your repairs should be annual. Unless told otherwise. In which case this would usually be every six months. However, your risk assessment may require you to service them more often. If you have high footfall, more frequent surveys may be necessary. For more information see our blog post covering this fire door survey topic.

Following the Grenfell Tower Fire, a lot of attention is focused on both active and passive fire protection across the UK. Fire regulations are due to be upgraded. Investigations have shown problems such as:

  • poor maintenance records, 
  • missing fire escape signage 
  • even locked fire doors!

Problems that often render passive fire protection useless.

Regular Fire Door Surveys are crucial. Without them, some of your fire doors could be ineffective or even dangerous... and you'd be none the wiser!

Who can you trust to handle your fire door maintenance, repairs and replacements?

Choosing a local accredited company to handle all your fire door installation, maintenance and remedial work is a good idea.

With Blake Fire & Security Systems, you can rest assured that your compliance and security are in expert hands. We’re your one-stop shop for ALL your fire and security needs, not just fire doors. From passive fire protection and commercial intruder alarms to sophisticated CCTV systems.

We understand the importance of reliability and compliance for your business, which is why our scheduled maintenance adheres strictly to industry standards. 

Isn’t it time to say goodbye to juggling multiple vendors?

Choose Blake's for worry-free fire and security. Contact us to make life easier for your Responsible Person

Rounding up - for fully compliant fire doors...

Hopefully, by now we've shown that you must use a specialist fire door company to install, maintain and repair your fire doors and fire door sets. So you keep your insurance company happy, your premises, staff and visitors safe AND all your fire door installations compliant.

Using tradesmen without the required specialist knowledge could leave your fire doors ineffective and your building at risk. Causing you to fail your next survey. And cost you more money in the long run because the job has to be done twice!

Remember to schedule your maintenance appointments every six months to comply with legislation.

... and your 6 step guide

Don't forget to download your copy of our 6 step guide to Fire Door compliance. It's a simple plan that shows your Responsible Person how to ensure your fire doors stay compliant. So your Fire Door Survey ends well. Every time!

Compliant Fire Doors Guide

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