In thousands of shops, schools, care homes, apartments, factories and offices across the UK, fire doors are in daily operation. Chances are that you’ve walked through several today already, and yet take little notice of this potentially lifesaving, specially engineered piece of safety equipment.
With conversations surrounding fire doors in the public eye, clarity on the legal responsibilities of those businesses with fire doors in place is vital.
Legal responsibilities to fire doors
In most circumstances, if you are an employer, the owner, landlord, an occupier or have ultimate control of the premises, you are responsible for fire safety. This is known as the Responsible Person.
As part of this role, the Responsible Person is obliged by law to conduct a fire risk assessment and fire doors must be examined as part of this assessment.
Regular checks of all fire doors must take place as stated in the BS9999: Fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings – Code of Practice, using a reputable company who are skilled and third party accredited in the importance of working with fire doors.
For more about the remit of the Responsible Person, see our informative video guide.
Don't delay inspections
Ensuring fire doors are up to standard is a valuable task that should not be underestimated. After installation, fire doors should be inspected regularly (minimum of 6 monthly inspections) or more frequently depending on your fire risk assessment, to make sure they are always ready to perform as intended.
If there are modifications to the fire door or its surroundings, including the frame, locks, latches, hinges or door closers, this could alter the door’s performance.
When problems are noticed, act immediately. Do not postpone fixing issues, as this could have untold consequences should a fire occur; not just for the safety of the building and the people inside, but lawfully as proceedings can be brought against the Responsible Person.
What is a fire door?
Fire doors are technically-built pieces of fire-fighting equipment. They are manufactured to strict standards, and their design often looks the same as any other door.
When a fire door is closed, they provide fire protection and compartmentalisation of escape routes. This includes stairs and corridors, protecting escape routes from the effects of fire so that occupants can reach a final exit point.
A particularly relevant feature of fire doors is that they act as passive protection. They require no physical activation – they are effective fire resistant barriers without the need for external stimuli.
When placed at tactical locations in a building, fire doors act to divide a building into different sized compartments, also known as compartmentalisation. This slows down the spread of fire and smoke to allow safe evacuation and reduces the risk to the rest of the building structure by containing the fire in that compartment. This also providing valuable time for the fire rescue service to contain and put out the fire.
Need some help?
If you would like to find out more about maintaining your fire doors and how Churches Fire can help you and your business, call our customer development team on 0370 608 4350 or complete the form for a call back:
Detail your fire door maintenance
It’s good practice to keep a maintenance log of all checks carried out on fire doors, by yourself and by competent technicians. A sufficiently documented system of regular maintenance to all elements of a fire doors is fundamental to the long-term fire safety of a building.
These records should be kept up-to-date and be readily available if required.
If you are unsure of your legal obligations, seek clarification immediately.
The risks associated with using unsafe and
unchecked fire doors are simply not worth it.
Get in touch with Churches Fire to find out how we can assist
with your fire door queries.