A Guide to Fire Door Safety

Established in 2013, Fire Door Safety Week was created in response to ongoing issues surrounding poor fire door installation and maintenance and aims to raise awareness of the potential consequences of both. The campaign aims to ensure that doors installed across the nation meet the necessary legal requirements and are consistently checked to reduce the chance of failure in the event of an emergency.

How Do Fire Doors Work?

How do fire doors protect us in the event of an emergency? The main function of any fire door is to contain the fire and allow people to exit the building safely.

Resistant Materials – Any certified fire door, no matter the material (timber, steel and glass), paint will have been tested to withstand a minimum of 30 minutes of extreme heat.

Minimal Damage – After a fire occurs, the damage can be costly., With fire doors installed, the smoke, fumes and flames are limited and contained within a certain area and lessen the damage to the rest of the building.

Safe Evacuation – Each fire door has been installed specifically to ensure there are safe escape routes for anyone in the building to be able to reach the designated assembly point(s).

Where Are Fire Doors Mandatory?

In 2005 the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order was established; it outlines the requirements for fire doors on any commercial property. Each location will have unique floorplans which require bespoke fire escape routes; generally speaking, the rule of thumb is that however long it would take to evacuate the site, a fire door must be installed to ensure the protection of life. If 30 minutes is deemed sufficient time to evacuate, an FD30 door is likely to be utilized and so on.

The Regulatory Reform Order specifies:

In domestic dwellings with more than two storeys (for example high rise flats), there must be a fire door separating the stairwell and every habitable room (excluding toilets/bathrooms). Fire doors are also required in loft conversions and between a house and its integral garage.

For mixed-use buildings, the residential and business sections must be separated by fire doors.

For non-domestic buildings, the guidelines become much more complex due to the vast variety of each project. Both vertical and horizontal escape routes must be considered, appropriate signage must be clearly displayed on either side of any fire door and the door itself, its furniture and the surrounding frame must contrast so that it is easily identifiable as a fire door in an emergency.

For a door to qualify as a fire door, it must be comprised of several fire safety-compliant components. These include doorframes, door leaves, panels, hardware, seals, paint, and glazing.

How to Check Your Fire Doors

Things to look for:

Gaps: How big are the gaps around the tops and sides of the doors? They should not exceed 4mm.

Hinges: Each fire door should have a minimum of 3 hinges fitted with screws that completely secure them in place.

Closing Mechanisms: The door should shut itself firmly and securely and not stick. The door should be flush with the frame or if it is a double door, they should close in line with each other. If the closer mechanism is leaking fluid it needs to be reported immediately as it will be highly flammable.

Intumescent seals: These mustn’t be damaged; the seals will expand in the event of a fire to seal the door and reduce the spread.

Fire doors must be regularly inspected and maintained by a competent individual to ensure they are fully functional in the event of an emergency. Thorough checks should be carried out at least once every six months; more regularly for doors that experience high volumes of traffic and are more susceptible to damage.

To conduct your fire door check, take a look at The British Woodworking Federation Group’s 5 Step Fire Door Checklist here

At Rotec, we supply and install fire doors throughout the UK. We’re passionate about the quality and finish of our products and provide technical expertise and insight to our customers.

To find out more about the range of fire doors we offer, contact a member of our team:


Ready to discuss a project?