Fire Door Installation
Fire doors are an extremely important component of the buildings passive fire protection design.
Fire doors come in different types and their design varies according to the purpose for which they have been manufactured.
It is essential to understand the purpose for which each kind of fire door has been manufactured and the stipulations regarding it in the building regulations. The two major kinds of fire doors are those that are specifically developed to help prevent the spread of fire and those that are used in fire escapes.
Fire doors are also installed in areas of the building that are considered to be high risk. These are areas where there are either sensitive materials or equipment.
Fire door installation includes the fitting of sealing material which prevents the smoke from the fire from spreading. Fire doors come in varying thicknesses dependent on the level of fire protection required. The two most common thicknesses are 44 mm and 54 mm and are called FD30 and FD60 respectively. The number indicates the minutes that the door can maintain its resistance to fire.
For example FD30 will achieve 30 minutes protection before it fails in providing compartmentation. Areas of the building which are deemed sensitive would have FD60 doors installed to provide a longer period of protection. Fire doors restrict the flow of air to a fire and hence slow its progress. If they are left open, their utility is completely neutralised. This is why fire door installation includes attaching automatic door sealers to them. Ideally they should have signs that indicate the necessity of shutting the door.
Fire door installation needs to be strategically considered prior to its implementation. Fire doors should be installed in locations that allow for them to prevent a fire and smoke from spreading to designated escape routes. Fire doors which are located at escape routes should open outward to facilitate easier escape. Fire doors located further inside the building should be able to open in both directions, e.g. those that are located in corridors. Usually these doors are locked; however building regulations stipulate that anybody inside the building should be able to open them easily. One of the ways in which this can be achieved is by installing a push bar on the inside of the door.
A main cause of failure in a fire door would be that they are kept open. Doors that close without assistance, e.g with the introduction of a mechanical closing device, help in avoiding this, but are not completely fool proof. In that case, door retainers can be installed. These are systems that close the door automatically if the fire alarm is triggered.
Building regulations now necessitate fire door installation by third party accredited specialists; apart from meeting legal requirements, they can help save lives.