Specifying & Maintaining Fire Resisting Door Sets – Best Practice

Fire resistance is one of the most fundamental performance criteria for door sets. Fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire and their correct specification, maintenance and management can be the difference between life and death for building occupants. So it’s essential to get the correct product. 

The selection and installation of a fire resisting door set which is fire tested and proven compliant by a third party UKAS approved/TUV laboratory is not only incredibly important, its mandatory. A fire door is much more than just a door leaf. The door leaf, the frame, the hinges, the fittings, the hardware, the glass in the vision panels and the seals are all dependent upon each other, to ensure the effectiveness of the door in a fire. The full door assembly must be fire tested as a combination of all elements together, rather than each component individually.

Using doors that have third party fire tested proven compliance also gives specifiers confidence that a product is fit for purpose and is manufactured using a clear quality system. In addition, the specifier will have guaranteed third party fire test documentation that proves the fire performance has been independently verified, which is important for installers, inspectors and clients to ensure the relevant standards have been met.

Intumescent Seals

On average 388 people are killed and 11,100 are injured in fires each year in the UK alone. The most common identified cause of death from a fire incident is being overcome by gas, smoke or toxic fumes. The majority of these deaths, injuries and losses occur in buildings where fire and smoke protection measures have been inadequate.

Door edges are the part of a door-set most susceptible to penetration by fire. The pressure of a developed fire, drives hot gases between the door and frame leading to loss of integrity. The modern solution to this problem relies on the use of intumescent materials applied or set into the edge of doors or door frames opposite the door edge. Intumescent materials expand at around 180°C to several times their original size and fill the gap between the door and the frame, providing a barrier to the passage of hot gasses fumes and smoke.

This reinforces the importance of properly specified, installed and maintained fire doors with intumescent seals that prevent the spread of fire and keep smoke from leaking around the edges of the door.

Installation

Once the specifier has selected their fire tested BS/EN/SS compliant fire door it’s also important to make sure it is fitted correctly. The smallest gap or void between the door and frame can cause smoke or flames to escape and compromise the doors fire resistance. A certificated 30 minute fire doorset which is incorrectly installed may only provide 5-10 minutes of fire resistance. For this reason specifiers should always use professional installers who are fully trained.

Maintenance

All fire doors, hardware and fittings must remain in efficient working order at all times. Fire doors are often in high traffic areas and are opened and closed many times a day. For this reason, it is important that doors and components are inspected regularly and are repaired where necessary to a satisfactory standard. The frequency of inspection may vary, depending on the type and day-to-day use of a door.

Dortek Fire Doors, sectional doors, stacking doors

Here’s our check List in summary for specifying and maintaining fire doors:

  • Always use a reputable and competent supplier – many people claim to make fire doors, but only a handful have a properly tested product which is proven to work in a fire.
  • Ask whether the product has been fire tested by a third party approved laboratory and demand to see the documentation that proves it (e.g. fire test report/certificate/Label).
  • Specifying fire doors with intumescent/smoke seals is crucial to stop fire spreading and prevent smoke inhalation.
  • It’s not just the door itself that matters. The frame and ironmongery is just as important – they all work together. Only buy exact compatible hardware and components from the same reputable supplier.
  • Saving a few pounds on fire doors isn’t worth it. Consider the cost of damage and loss of life if a fire breaks out. Stick to the specification at all times.
  • Correct installation is as important as buying the correct product – fire doors are a carefully engineered fire safety device which must be fitted correctly so make sure you use experienced installers from a reputable company.
  • Fire doors should be checked regularly, and the more they’re used the more frequently they should be checked.
  • Make sure you use an experienced door company to manage the servicing and maintenance of your fire doors.
  • Only ever replace damaged components with like-for-like. A trained individual should be responsible for this maintenance work.

For further information on Dortek’s range of fire doors and worldwide certification click here

Changing Building Sites: Industrialisation and Automation of the Building Process

Experts project that prefabrication and modular construction will see major growth in the industry.

Notably, while construction ground to a near halt, modular contractors have not been affected in the same way. Modular construction is far less labour intensive, making it easier to ensure safer distancing. Labour is drawn from local communities, so people come together from a smaller geographical area, bringing the added advantage of improving work-life balance for many.

Factory labour also tends to be on the books and therefore less susceptible to the uncertainties that have beset self-employed workers, reducing stress at a time of great concern. And the factory itself brings benefits, because it is by its very nature a controlled environment – more ordered, regimented and process-driven.

While it is fair to say that the industry has made huge improvements in health and safety across traditional construction, with enhanced professionalisation of site management and a focus on worker wellbeing that has never been so strong, the social distancing issue highlights the underlying problem. Without a fundamental shift in the way that buildings are designed and built and without the use of less labour-intensive modern methods of construction, we will never be able to provide construction workers with the environment that they deserve.

Off-site construction would not have avoided all disruption of course, but the simple truth is that off-site factories and contractors are still producing buildings and working on site while many traditional construction sites are closed.

Dortek delivers high-quality, modular door systems that help make construction faster, safer and smarter.

Modular door systems are designed to work together as a complete system and offer numerous advantages for architects and specifiers. They are ideal for a wide range of applications including pharmaceutical, food, healthcare, retail and leisure environments.

Modular Door Systems

Quick and Simple Installation

A Modular door has the hardware integrated with the door and installed at the factory which dramatically reduces onsite disruption, labour time and installation costs. It also reduces the probability of issues such as improperly installed hardware or hardware compatibility.

In addition to this, it saves the installers the inconvenience of arriving onsite to find incorrect parts which can cause further delays. It also eliminates the need to worry about parts arriving at separate times or being misplaced onsite.  With Modular doors, frames can be included with an order which saves the time and hassle of needing to specify frames for each door. It also assists with social distancing measures as less time is spent onsite and doors can be installed quicker and more efficiently.

Servicing and Maintenance

Modular door systems are much more cost efficient and easier to service and repair if they’re sourced from one supplier. It also makes the warranty straight forward if it’s one complete system rather than individual components.

Fire Safety

Specifying fire doors has become an increasingly complex task. Fire safety is a critical part of the construction process so it’s essential that the appropriate fire door is selected and expertly installed.

A modular door is not only tested on specifics of the door component, but also as a complete unit. This provides a more accurate and reliable fire door system. Modular door systems also include seals around the door’s edges to keep smoke out; this removes the need to manually fit seals onsite.

Some modular doors include a built-in intumescent strip that swells when exposed to heat. In some countries including the US, the method which is used to configure and install a door with an intumescent strip is regulated by law. Any reputable supplier offering doors with a built-in intumescent strip will guarantee code compliance.

Code Compliance

Doors play an integral role in a buildings ability to meet safety standards and building codes. Codes are important for many reasons and they can be environment specific. For example, hospital doors are required to have specific opening sizes to allow free movement for clinical equipment, gurneys and wheelchair users.

BIM

There is a natural link between the use of BIM and modular construction or offsite manufacturing. BIM software assists the preparation of a tight construction methodology prior to modular units arriving at site. It also greatly improves the visualisation and control of the final product as potential problems can be identified early in the design process. Overall the introduction of BIM makes modular construction much more controllable before production and installation.

Environmentally Friendly

As manufacturers and architects look for more sustainable designs for improved environmental impact, modular construction is a good fit. Building in a factory controlled environment reduces waste and onsite disturbance. Each stage is carefully planned and most of the waste produced is either recycled or re-used once again in the manufacturing process.  It also reduces onsite traffic thereby improving overall safety and security.

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