The vital importance of high quality and properly installed fire doors has been emphasised by the shocking recent finding that thousands of UK fire doors have failed their inspections in the past couple of years.
The Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) says that 75% of fire doors failed tests between 2019 and 2021, for reasons ranging from landlords purchasing non-certified fire doors to poor installation; and from excessive gaps around the doors to substandard materials.
These findings are particularly alarming in light of the fact that there were more than 500,000 fire-related incidents reported in the UK in 2020, including – tragically – 221 deaths.
The UK Law On Fire Doors
Fire doors are required in almost every building in the UK, according to the requirements of the national fire safety regulations.
Everyone has a right to be properly protected in the event of a fire, and fire doors are a vital part of a building’s passive fire protection system, which is a legal requirement in all UK public buildings (like hospitals, schools, shopping centres, theatres and cinemas), offices and factories.
Fire doors are also required in many domestic settings, such as:
- in flats and apartment multi-occupancy apartment buildings
- where a door leads into an integral garage
- in any dwelling where there is a ‘habitable’ room on a second floor, such as houses with loft conversions
A building’s passive fire system – of which properly certified fire doors are an integral part – is designed to create compartments which:
- Contain the fire (and, in the case of FD30S doors, smoke) to the compartment or room it starts in
- Protects the occupants (and contents) in other compartments
- Provides a safe escape route for occupants
- Increases the fire department’s ability to bring people and pets to safety, and minimise property damage
Fire doors perform the same purpose as any other internal door in normal circumstances. But, in the event of a fire, they provide exponentially more protection from fire and deadly smoke.
How Often Do Fire Doors Have To Be Inspected?
According to Regulation 38, landlords should be checking their fire doors every six months.
And, in the case of very busy buildings where doors are more likely to endure heavy usage and potential damage, every three months.
Why Are So Many Fire Doors Failing?
To put it simply, high quality fire doors that have been stringently tested by independent UK certifiers are often the difference between life and and death?
So, to answer the question of ‘why have 75% of UK fire doors failed inspections in the past two years?’, we’re afraid that the answer is that too many landlords and property owners are:
Wittingly or unwittingly buying fire doors from manufacturers whose products would fail independent testing
Not using expert installers
Not maintaining their fire doors properly
Quite frankly, we find it utterly flabbergasting that so many commercial and residential landlords are not doing enough to meet fire safety compliance, especially in light of the Grenfell Tragedy and the much-publicised 2021 Fire Safety Act.
Landlords who fail to comply with fire safety and fire door compliance run the risk of incurring hefty fines; more importantly, they are putting people’s lives at risk by cutting corners.
What Should Landlords Be Doing?
To reduce the risk of tragedy, commercial and residential landlords should only buy fire doors from manufacturers whose products are certified by independent and officially recognised bodies like the British Woodworking Alliance.
If you want to find out whether a Fire Door manufacturer is a Fire Door Alliance member, you can find the full directory on the BWF website.
This list includes Certifire-approved manufacturers and suppliers of doors, doorframes, hinges, fire and smoke seals, glazing systems and glass .
When you’re having an FD30 fire door installed, the contractor supplying and/or fitting the door should provide the property owner or property manager with a certificate. If this isn’t given to you, your doors may not carry the certification needed to be classed as safe-for-use.
Find out how to check if your fire doors are compliant here.
At Vigor Doors, all of our FD30 and FD30S fire doors are certified and approved by the BWF.
So, if you need Fire Doors that could save the lives of the people that occupy your property or the property you’re responsible for, speak to a member of the Vigor Doors team on 01642 265 034 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org