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Fire Safety in blocks of flats - Fire Resisting Doors II – Pt 15

Posted: 18/12/2014 11:58

Last week’s blog introduced the subject of fire-resisting doors in blocks of flats and outlined what standards should be adhered to in both new and older blocks. This week, we’re looking more closely at those doors in terms of the self-closing mechanism.

Under current guidelines, it is essential that flat entrance doors and those doors provided to protect lobbies, common corridors, escape routes and stairway entrances should have positive action self-closing devices. This means that the self-closing device should be capable of closing the door from any angle and of overcoming any latch. Self-closing hinges called ‘Rising Butt Hinges’ were commonly used in the past, but these are now not considered suitable, as they can be unreliable.

In those circumstances where a building owner cannot replace the doors with new FD20 or FD30S doors in the short term, rising butt hinges (and indeed hinges which are not self-closing at all) must be replaced with suitable self-closing devices.

While the replacement of hinges with suitable and up-to-date self-closing devices is an essential, replacement or upgrade of the door itself may not be required, or be a matter of urgency. While standards of fire-resisting doors have changed since the installation of those within a building, it can be the case that a fire door installed at the time of building is acceptable, so long as it remains in good condition and fits well within its frame.

The upgrade or replacement of whole doors may be appropriate, but it might be that these can be replaced as part of a programme of improvement which takes place over a period of time, rather than immediately.

When considering a programme of renovation of doors, the following benchmarks may prove useful to prioritise works, and apply to flat entrance doors, but could be extrapolated for use in common areas:

Existing blocks | Single stairway | Acceptable travel distance, with flat doors opening directly onto the stairway.

- Up to four storeys, ‘notional FD30’ doors should be acceptable.
- Up to six storeys, doors should be at least ‘upgraded FD30S’.
- Over six storeys, doors should be ‘replacement FD30S’.

Existing blocks |Corridor or lobby access | Single stairway, with acceptable travel distance.

- Up to six storeys, ‘notional FD30’ doors should be acceptable.
- Above six storeys (but no more than 30m in height), doors should be at least ‘upgraded FD30S’.
- Over 30m in height, doors should be ‘replacement FD30S’.

Existing blocks | Corridor or lobby access |Single and multiple stairway blocks.

- Where means of escape is satisfactory, including travel distances, ‘notional FD30’ doors should be acceptable.
- Where means of escape is not satisfactory, in the case of excessive travel distances, upgraded or replacement FD30S doors are likely to be necessary, particularly in dead ends.

Existing blocks | External balcony or deck access | Single stairway or within a dead end with acceptable travel distances.

- Notional FD30 doors should be acceptable.
- Glazing in the door above 1.1m is not required to be fire-resisting.
- A fire-resisting letterbox is not essential.
- As with all flat entrance doors, the door must be fitted with a positive action self-closing device.


Next week’s blog will look at fire safety signs in blocks of flats. In the meantime, if you have any queries about a project or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.

The Complete Fire Safety Management Platform is the only fully comprehensive online fire risk assessment and fire risk management platform. Our aim, at CFSM, is to make the process of becoming fire safe, straightforward and, to use our expertise in fire risk assessment and fire safety management to guide you through each step, resulting in your premises meeting all legal, insurance and ethical fire safety considerations.

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