The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for England & Wales and Fire (Scotland) act 2005 for Scotland places responsibilities on building owners and duty holders to conduct regular fire door inspection to ensure fire doors are fit for purpose and will operate correctly in the event of a fire.
Fire doors are designed to save lives by:
- withstanding fire for a certain timeframe and stopping the spread of smoke
- protecting escape routes so people can evacuate safely
- protecting buildings and contents
- allowing firefighters to extinguish the fire
Fire Regulations recommend proactive checking of fire doors at least every six months and a record of the checks completed should be kept. Depending on the amount of usage of fire doors three monthly inspections may be considered more appropriate for high traffic areas; your Fire Risk Assessment should include consideration of fire door inspections and evidence of your rationale for determining frequency. Fire door inspections should form part of the planned preventative maintenance programme.
What needs to be checked
Fire door inspection can be done by anyone however use of a competent fire door inspector should be considered.
- Certification – Check there is a label or plug on the top (or occasionally the side) of the door; the label will display a CE-marked.
- Signage – If the fire doors in the workplace display signage to indicate they are part of an escape route check the signage is operational, clear and visible.
- Obstructions – to be effective fire doors should move freely, shut tightly and be free of obstructions.
- Closers – check that the fire door closes properly, carry out a simple check by opening the door halfway and letting it go; the door should close by itself firmly without sticking on the floor or the frame.
- Gaps – The top and sides of the doors should have a gap of less than 4mm from the frame; a pound coin is approximately 3mm which makes a useful tool to check the gaps. When the door is closed the gap should be less than 8mm from the door to the floor. As a rule, if light can be seen under the door, the gap is probably too big.
- Hinges – fire doors must be fitted with a minimum of three hinges of the correct specification for the building type. Checks should be made to ensure that the hinges have the correct number of screws which are firmly secured.
- Seals – Intumescent seals around a fire door are a few mm thick and when exposed to heat expand closing any gaps around the door to stop the fire spreading for a period of time; checks should be carried out to ensure the seals are intact, continuous and free from damage.
- Doors and frames – a visual inspection of doors and frames will confirm they are secure and show no signs of wear or tear; also ensure that any glass in the fire door is not cracked.
The fire door checklist should identify the unique identification or number of the fire door and its location together with the findings from the physical inspection carried out and any actions required to remedy identified issues