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FiredoorCheck™ - FIRE DOOR INSPECTION SYSTEM

Fire Door Compliance

To most building users a fire door blocks ventilation, prevents interaction with colleagues or obstructs movement around a building, but to those of us with a responsibility for fire safety they are a vital component in the overall fire strategy. However, unlike items such as fire alarms and smoke detectors they are often in constant use and can very quickly show signs of wear and tear that can fundamentally affect the ability of the door to deliver the required level of fire resistance.

For this reason it is important that fire doors are subject to a regular regime of inspection and maintenance. All too often these inspections are delayed due to budgetary constraints or the demands of other work. Often they are conducted by inexperienced staff who may be unaware of the complexities of a fire door or simply may fail to identify issues requiring attention. When the impact of poor quality and incorrect repairs are added to a door that is already showing signs of damage, it is readily apparent that at best there is the potential for limited maintenance funds to be wasted and at worst there is the possibility that a fire door may fail at a critical moment.

Recent inspections carried out by members of the Checkmate team have revealed a considerable range of issues, some of which can be seen below. Individually, they show the extent of problems that can befall a fire door. Collectively, they graphically highlight the need for regular inspections and correct maintenance of fire doors. The consequences of not maintaining fire doors in a proper state of repair can be serious as has been highlighted by a number of high profile recent fire incidents. FiredoorCheck™ has been designed to deliver both a comprehensive inspection of fire doors and their function and to present a simple means of identifying those doors in need of repair and planning the maintenance process.

It is estimated by BWF-CERTIFIRE that more than 80% of installed one hour fire doors will in reality not provide one hour fire integrity! Some classic examples are shown below.

  • Probably the “standard” unofficial method of holding fire doors open. In the event of a fire incident developing will building users remove the extinguishers before exiting their department?
  • Along with the fire extinguisher the wooden wedge is possibly one of the greatest enemies of the fire door! Here numerous wedges have been used to hold open all of the fire doors along the third floor corridor of this office building.  The removal of such devices is relatively simple and straight forward but so too is their replacement!
  • Staff will often develop innovative ways to ensure that fire doors do not obstruct free movement around their work area. In this case (a kitchen located on a hospital ward) an upturned saucer has been used. This is clearly very effective at holding the door open but it appeas to be missing an automatic release mechanism that will allow the fire door to perform its function in the event of a fire incident developing.
  • The removal of door hardware from this 9th floor fire door, and the failure to undertake any form of repair has left significant voids in the door leaf. This will significantly reduce the doors performance in the event of a fire incident.
  • The removal of a lock from this 30 minute rated fire door has left an unsealed hole in the leaf. Clearly this door is unlikely to deliver the required period of fire resistance.  Tight controls on any work undertaken and the introduction of a regular inspection regime can play a significant role in ensuring that fire doors are maintained in a compliant state.
  • Channels provided for the installation of intumescent strip have been used to house cables for the door access system.  The absence of intumescent strip can seriously compromise the performance of the door.
  • Serious damage to this 12th floor fire door had remained undetected for a considerable period of time
  • The failure to install a fire rated letter plate in this fire door has provided a ready route for the unrestricted passage of smoke and flame. Choosing and installing the correct product for the job is clearly vital in maintaining the integrity of any fire door
  • Incorrectly fitted hinges and missing screws are a common problem encountered by our fire door inspectors
  • One of a significant number of non- compliant hinges used on fire doors throughout this apartment complex.  The importance of using the correct products and having them installed by knowledgeable contractors is not only essential in ensuring fire compliance but can also remove the need for additional expenditure to carry out subsequent remedial work. Doing things right the first time is always the best and most cost effective course of action.
  • An air transfer grille fitted to a fire door can often hide a penetration that contains no defence against the passage of smoke and flame rendering the door almost useless
  • Damaged cold smoke seals are an all too familiar problem
  • Perhaps one of the more extreme examples of damaged glazing. The only solution is to replace
  • Should they be left open or should they be closed? What is the nature of the danger? This confusing example of signage highlights the need for a co-ordinated approach to the installation and management of fire doors
  • Another of the common problems regularly encountered by Checkmate’s inspectors. A door that binds on the floor, frame or another door leaf cannot function correctly
  • The absence of a “Push Bar to Open” sign may on the face of it appear insignificant but the provision of such signs is not only a requirement under the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 but in buildings where users may not be familiar with the operation of escape doors, such signs provide important information and in so doing minimise confusion and delay during the evacuation process.  The absence of such signs can also be an indication that other fire safety signage may not be present/correct
  • The installation of this new fire door set on the 3rd floor of a West Midlands Office block clearly demonstrates the importance of selecting a knowledgeable and competent contractor to undertake the work. In this instance these doors have been hung on 2 hinges per leaf and not the 3 that are currently recommended for use on fire and escape route doors
  • Here a new fire door set has been installed outside of the fire compartment line. In this example intumescent strips and any form of cold smoke protection is absent
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© Checkmate Fire Solutions Ltd.
Reg in England No. 10405433.
Reg Office: Unit B9, Ground Floor, Lowfields Close, Lowfields Business Park, Elland, West Yorkshire, HX5 9DX

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