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Why do all commercial buildings need fire doors?

Every business has a duty to the safety, at all times, of all who work within, or visit the premises. Often these safety requirements can seem tedious and inconvenient – but the necessity for them cannot be underestimated! Your business and, more importantly, people’s welfare and lives, may be reliant on them in the event of a fire outbreak in your premises.

Fire doors are an essential aspect of this safety – so what are the guidelines for identifying what exactly is needed, and where are these measures applicable?

Here is some information on the mandatory requirements for fire resistant doors:

Regulatory reform order

All commercial properties, or any non-domestic building, must adhere to the guidelines laid out in the Regulatory Reform (Fire safety) Order: 2005 – more commonly referred to as the RRO or the FSO. This RRO lays out all the recommended and required aspects of fire safety for commercial premises, one of the mainstays being the type and quality of fire resistant doors in the building.

What do fire doors do

Commercial fire doors perform two vital functions – in the event of a fire outbreak, the fire resistant doors, when closed, will form a barrier to prevent the spread of fire and the potentially fatal smoke and, secondly, when opened, these security fire doors present the means of escape for any occupants within the building.

Any circumstance that prevents either, or both, of those fire door functions, can have serious and tragic consequences – any fire door that is blocked, for example, and therefore cannot open or close properly, makes the building owner personally liable for any consequences. This can lead to criminal prosecution ending in unlimited fines or, in severe circumstances, imprisonment!

The same punishments apply for not having fire resistant doors at all in an area that requires them.

Where fire resistant doors are required

There are different specifications of fire doors, and the nature of the building and the doors location, will dictate which would be the recommended security fire door to install. The most regularly installed fire doors are FD30 or FD60 – the number being the number of minutes fire prevention each door will provide.

In some instances, there will be a requirement for more substantial fire protection, in order to protect the property itself, but the main function of any fire door is the preservation of life and the safety of any building occupants. In these circumstances, you should consult with an approved fire door manufacturer or supplier and consider the bespoke fire doors options they present.

The broad guidelines where fire doors are required are:

Domestic dwellings

Any home that is more than two storeys high must have fire doors between any stairwell and every habitable room (excluding bathrooms). Any domestic dwelling that has an integral garage must have a fire door separating the house from the garage and any dwelling with a loft conversion must also contain a fire door separating the areas.

Mixed-use buildings

Any building containing both residential and commercial areas must have appropriate fire doors separating the different functions.

Non-domestic building

These carry a myriad of different mandatory fire door requirements and you should follow all guidelines laid out in the RRO previously referred to.

To ensure you are fully compliant with these legal requirements, you should carry out a full fire risk assessment of your premises, or contact a relevant and approved body to do so on your behalf.

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