All potentially life-saving equipment must be kept in good working order. Just like you’d check your smoke alarm batteries, or check your car’s tyre pressure, fire doors must be regularly inspected to ensure that they’re able to safely evacuate a building’s residents in the event of a fire.
The failure to adequately maintain fire doors has potentially life-threatening consequences, as shown by highly publicised fires in recent years. After years of investigation, the Grenfell Inquiry published its findings. The key recommendations were adopted by the government and passed as law in 2022.
In January 2023, these new regulations will come into force to improve fire safety, particularly in high-risk buildings such as those over six storeys high, or multi-occupant buildings.
To help you prepare for the new regulations, and to understand the requirements for buildings outside of the scope of the Grenfell Inquiry, we have prepared some guidance below to help ensure that your fire doors are fully compliant with the latest legislation.
Please note: this guide should be used for research purposes only. Responsibility for complying with legal requirements rests with building management and designated responsible person(s).
Have fire door regulations changed since Grenfell?
Yes. In 2022, the government announced The Fire Safety (England) Regulations. The contents of this will become legal requirements from 23rd January, 2023. This was announced in response the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which found that fire doors in Grenfell Tower did not adequately prevent the spread of smoke and gas.
Some of the regulations found within update or clarify existing legislation.
Which buildings do the new fire regulations affect?
Initially, the new regulations will apply to buildings with multiple occupancy, over 11 metres high (around six storeys). However, the government is considering extending the scope of fire door regulations to other buildings so it could be worth planning ahead.
What are the requirements for fire door safety under the Fire Safety Regulations?
The Fire Safety Regulations of 2022 have made it a legal requirement for multi-occupied buildings with storeys over 11 metres high to:
1) Undertake quarterly checks of all fire doors
2) Undertake annual checks of flat entrance doors that lead to common areas of a building.
Is the Fire Safety Order (2005) still in place?
Yes, the Fire Safety Regulations 2022 have not replaced the Fire Safety Order (2005). Rather, they seek to increase their effectiveness for fire safety and remove legal ambiguity that existed before.
Who should conduct a fire door inspection?
The building’s responsible person, or persons where there are more than one, bear the legal responsibility for fire door inspections.
The minimum required checks do not have to be undertaken by a specialist, however the repair of any defects may require the engagement of a qualified engineer.
How should fire doors be inspected?
The minimum requirements are for the responsible person(s) to inspect doors for signs of any obvious defects.
A quick checklist for fire door inspections include:
– Ensure it is the correct rated door for its location through the fire door certification
– Ensure any damage present does not effect its performance in the event of a fire
– Ensure the door has the correct hardware fitted, including self-closers and hinges
– Ensure the correct types if intumescent strips are fitted where necessary
– Ensure any gaps are not over the permitted widths
– Ensure that any glazing, where fitted, is fitted correctly and the correct rating
– Ensure that appropriate signage is installed on the doors.
Any damage found during the inspection should be rectified as soon as possible, which may require the use of a specialist fire door engineer.
How often should fire doors be inspected?
BS 9999 recommends that fire doors should be inspected every 6 months. Whilst British Standards are not legal requirements, it is worth bearing in mind that they provide the best and most up-to-date guidance. Should fire doors fall foul of BS guidance, it is possible that the Responsible Person could be held in breach of their duty.
BS 9999 also specifies that doors may require more regular inspection depending on their location and usage. A door with high traffic may be more prone to wear and tear and therefore requires more frequent inspection.
It is also worth bearing in mind that the 2022 Fire Safety Regulations may eventually extend in scope to cover buildings below 11 meters in height. These regulations make quarterly checks of fire doors a legal requirement.
Which buildings require fire doors?
All non-domestic buildings, including: commercial, industrial, flats or other homes of multiple occupancy (HMOs) and any building accessed by the public are required to have fire doors under the Fire Safety Order (2005).
What if a fault is found on a fire door?
When auditing the building, fire doors are one of the areas that will be checked by the fire service to assess their suitability for preventing the spread of fire. If doors found to be faulty or not fit for purpose it can lead to further action such as enforcement notices and even prosecution.
So fire door maintenance is not only a matter of safety, but also a crucial business consideration. The financial impact and damage to a company’s reputation from a prosecution can be catastrophic.
As the legal responsibility for fire door safety rests on the building’s responsible person, they should repair any faults as soon as possible. If they do not have the technical expertise, then they should hire a fire door engineer to work on their behalf.
What can DT Services Offer?
DT Services have fully trained fire door inspectors available.
We can survey all your fire doors to ensure you are complying with BS:8214 and provide you with reports via email to help you keep your premises safe. Like this recent job, where we carried out a fire door inspection in Hull for a Multi Academy Trust, who have a large number of building users to look after.
You can contact us to book a fire door inspection, where our engineers will perform a full fire door inspection to ensure that your building, your workers and your customers remain safe while they are on your premises.