Fire door FAQs

1. The entrance door to my flat doesn’t have a self-closer - should it?

Yes, all fire resisting doors other than those which are kept locked (such as store cupboard or riser doors) must have door closers. In addition fire resisting doors must have the correct signage depending on their use.

2. Is it OK to fit a roller bolt catch to a fire door?

The Code of Practice covering door hardware for Fire and Escape Doors states in reference to roller bolt catches:

This form of latch cannot be relied upon to give a retaining action and indeed can actually prevent a door from closing fully in to the frame. Their use on fire resisting doors is therefore NOT recommended. It should be noted that some latches, where withdrawal of the latch is via a handle/turn, use a roller rather than a bevelled bolt. Such devices can provide a positive retention of the door leaf but it is important to ensure that the rollers of such devices are made of a material high enough melting point (greater than 800C, or 900C for steel doors over 90 minutes resistance) to meet fire test requirements.

3. I have timber fire doors fitted with magnetic hold-open devices and door-closers. The doors have twisted and don’t close properly. Why has this happened?

If hold open devices are installed incorrectly the door may bow or twist due to the conflicting forces of the hold-open device and the door-closer. Fire resisting doors can only prevent the passage of fire and smoke in the closed position so it is important that the doors close correctly without excessive gaps so it is essential to install hold-open and closing devices correctly.

4. I am supplying and installing fire doors do they need to be CE marked?

The Construction Products Regulations came in to force in the UK on 1st July 2013 and require certain building products to be CE marked. However fire resisting doors are not subject to CPR because there is currently no ‘Harmonised Standard’ for fire resisting doors. External fire doors are subject to CPR but not with respect to their fire resisting performance.

5. From a legal standpoint, how often do I have to inspect my fire doors?

Every six months. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places the legal responsibility with the Responsible Person (the person having control of the building) to ensure that fire safety devices are correctly maintained and fit-for-purpose. BS 9999 gives specific information with regard to six monthly fire door inspections.

6. I have had a letter from the building management company asking me to confirm that the entrance door to my flat is a compliant fire door. What does that mean?

It means a door that has been tested and certificated to provide adequate fire resistance. A fire door to a flat entrance is required to provide fire separation so that a fire can be contained within the flat for a specified period of time. This is to protect other parts of the building from fire spread and to protect escape routes. You can engage the services of a Fire Door Inspector to assess the suitability of your doors. We can let you have details of the most suitable inspector if you let us know your requirments here.

7. What is the maximum glazed area in a fire door?

This will depend on the certification and fire test evidence for the door leaf. Fire doors are subject to a fire test and will have been tested with a glazed aperture. From the fire test a report is produced giving details of limitations to the size and location of glazed apertures in the fire door leaf. The door manufacturer’s instructions and test evidence must be consulted with regard to the installation of glazed apertures and on-site cutting and glazing is not allowed on Certifire certificated fire doors because it will invalidate the certification.

8. Are concealed, uncontrolled door-closers suitable for fire doors?

Approved Document B (ADB) covers defines a self-closing device in Appendix E. This definition would cover a controlled CE marked closer but any uncontrolled jamb-mounted closer would be unlikely to comply. If the latch rests against the strike, it is probable that there would not be sufficient strength in the device to push the door home into the frame. A closer tested to EN 1154 is usually at its strongest in this position, and would usually have little trouble in pushing the door over a latch from a standing start. This is why the Code of Practice: Hardware for Fire and Escape Doors says ADB’s requirements are not met by uncontrolled jamb door closers.

9. To what extent do intumescent fire seals expand in the door edges? And does a 15mm wide seal expand to a greater extent than say 10mm?

Sodium silicate used in fire seals will expand between five and ten times its original size. But it can be difficult to quantify exactly as it will depend on the heat involved. So a 10x4 seal can expand by five to ten times and a 15x4 seal can expand by the same degree. It is not purely a matter of the intumescent seal expanding to fill the gap around the door, as it is generally tested on 3-4mm gaps around the door. This means that the seal expands to create pressure to help clamp the door into the frame to hold it in place for the required length of time. For this reason larger gaps around existing doors need to be reduced to the tested gap size of 3-4mm. Sodium silicate intumescent material begins to expand at around 100 degrees C which will be in the first few minutes of the fire.

10. If I have a BWF-CERTIFIRE doorset is it a legal requirement to have an approved door closer? Or can the closer just be CE marked?

The important thing is to refer to the door manufacturer’s instructions and data sheet. Look for the BWF-CERTIFIRE label on the top edge of the door. It will contain a number with a CF prefix (eg CF160). If you visit the CERTIFIRE website you can download the CERTIFIRE certificate and data sheet which contains the information you need. Also, if it’s a new CERTIFIRE labelled door then it will come with installation instructions. It is essential to fit compatible components as referenced in the current building regulations, Approved Document B.