3 Factors to Consider When Installing Fire Doors in Your Building

Fire doors are essential to the passive fire protection system of any building. They compartmentalise a building to prevent the spread of a fire, smoke or toxic fumes into the protected area, most commonly the building's escape routes to facilitate safe evacuation during a fire. For them to work properly, however, they must be built and installed with care. Some things to consider are listed below:

Check the labels

Every fire door comes with a permanent label whose details should remain accessible throughout the life of the door. Fire-rated door frames will also have some labelling or other embossment that indicates manufacturer's name, fire resistance duration (20, 30, 60, 90 and 180 minutes) and whether the door has temperature rise or smoke door features. Frames typically should have a longer fire-resistance duration than the door.

To determine the fire resistance that your building needs, you can consult your region's building code or speak with the local council for exact specifications. Fire door and frame dealers also know such details.

Consider installing temperature-rise doors

Temperature-rise doors are built in such a way as to prevent/reduce heat transfer from one side of the door to the other. In case of a fire, and assuming the door opens into the stairwell building occupants can avoid injury if they inadvertently touch that door. There are different temperatures for such doors as well as temperature rise durations. However, you don't need to install these doors if you have an automatic sprinkler system throughout the building.

Consider opening and closing

There are also different mechanisms for opening and closing fire doors. The idea is that these doors should be kelp closed to prevent fire on either side from spreading, but they should be easy to work open in case they need to be used during an emergency. The most common locking systems on fire doors includes using electromagnetic holders and holder/closer combination locks that are equipped with smoke detection capability. In case of fire, the fire alarm will initiate door closing.

The standard practice is to have self-closing doors which will not stay open under any circumstance. If you install doors with automatic operators that hold them open during normal use, safety regulations dictate that they should be disconnected during a fire to facilitate manual operation.

The hardware should also have an active latch bolt which keeps the door from being pushed open as a result of pressure on one side. Some doors need to have a particular latch-throw installed, while others will work fine with the standard spring-latch. Deadbolts are not acceptable on fire doors since they can be retracted and held there. Fail-safe electric strikes should also not be used, because they could allow the door to come unlatched; only fail-secure strikes should be used – they keep the latch secured in the strike-keeper in case of power failure.