Why is the Five-Step Check important?
The Five-Step Check for fire doors is a vital resource. Any responsible person can use it at any business or building.
As a ‘responsible person’ you legal duty to maintain your fire doors under the terms of Fire Safety Order 2005 and the Fire Safety Act 2021. You can find out more about fire door regulations here. Therefore you should be able to carry out the necessary checks on your fire doors. You have a legal duty to carry out these checks, if you do not you can be fined or face prison.
Fire Door Inspections: The Five-Step Check Video
A fire door is a safety device; it is designed to save lives and property in the event of a fire. Therefore if they are not maintained then buildings and people’s lives are in danger. However, the problem is many building owners, and responsible persons do not know how to check and maintain them properly. As a result, many fire doors are installed in a non-compliant way.
Check out our video below for a summary of the Five-Step Check:
The 5 Step Fire Door Check
The five step focuses on 5 key areas that fire doors often fail on and are the most important from a fire door inspection perspective. However, it is important to remember that carrying out a 5-Step Check is not a substitute for a thorough fire door inspection carried out by a competent person such as an FDIS inspector.
AJM Fire Safety has in-house FDIS certified fire door inspectors for when you need to conduct a full and thorough fire door survey.
1) Certification Label
Check for a certification label on the top of the door or a plug in the side of the door. If this is missing then there is no evidence that what you are inspecting is even a fire door. This is important as third-party certification provides us with evidence of performance and traceability to the manufacturer.
In particular a label on the top of the door tells us the manufacturer, their telephone number and the certificate number. This is the Certifire certificate number, it will say CF and then three numbers e.g. CF198.
CF198 is a door manufactured by Premdor. A quick Google search leads us to the certificate data sheet for that door and we can verify the doors capabilities and limitations. For example we can see what components can be installed on the door and how much we can trim off the sides and bottom of the door.
Because the certificate data sheet provides us with so much information, it is vital that the sticker is on the door.
Excessive gaps on fire doors can lead to deadly fire and smoke spreading through a building.
Gaps on fire doors from the door leaf to the frame should be 2-4 mm. This is sometimes written as 3mm +/-1 mm.
If the gaps are too large or too small then the seals will not work as intended. Therefore deadly fire and smoke will spread. This endangers life and damages property. Therefore it is essential that we achieve the correct gaps all the way around the door leaf to the frame.
At the threshold (the bottom of the door to the floor) gap if the door is just an FD30 then the gap is typically 6-10 mm. This is dependent on what the manufacturer states the certificate data sheet. However, if the door is an FD30s or FD60s then the threshold gap needs to be 3 mm. The suffix ‘s’ means that the door also has to restrict the spread of smoke as well as fire.
You can tell if the door is an FD30s because the seals will have either a brush or a rubber fin on them. If this is the case then your threshold gap needs to be 3 mm.
Seals are an essential component on a fire door. They play a vital role in stopping the spread of fire throughout a building. However, as we pointed out when we discussed gaps they do not work if the gaps are too large.
Also they do not work if they are damaged, or worse, missing!
Intumescent seals work by expanding in heat. If they are not working as intended then people lives are at risk.
You can find the seals in the edge of the door lead or in the frame.
Hinges are an essential piece of ironmongery on a fire door.
You need to check that there are 3 firmly fixed hinges and no missing screws. A door with poorly fitting hinges or damaged hinges is likely to fail early in a fire scenario. A fire subjects a fire door to immense heat, it is crucial that the hinges to not give way and lead to early failure of the door.
5) Closing Ability
Check that the fire door closes fully into the frame and latches if necessary.
A fire door that is open in a fire is useless. Most fire doors will need an overhead closer, the only doors that do not require one are cupboards and doors that are usually locked such as risers.
You will need to check that the door closes from a number of different angles. Including from 75 mm, the door must close from any angle.
Five of the most common reasons that a fire door is non-compliant are:
- Incorrect installation – 63%
- Incorrect hinges – 20%
- Damage – 15%
- Incorrect Signage – 33%
- Damaged or missing seals – 36%
AJM Fire Safety Limited is passionate about fire door safety. Thus AJM Fire Safety holds the BM-TRADA Q-Mark for both fire door installation, as well as fire door maintenance.
Do not use this checklist as an alternative to a thorough fire door inspection. An inspection carried out by a certified fire door inspector is far more thorough. This is simply a guide to help building owners and responsible persons gain a better understanding of what to look for when carrying out fire door checks.
The check is for general purposes only. Therefore if you are in doubt contact AJM Fire Safety for a thorough FDIS Fire Door Inspection today.
Call now on 01902 798 024 or email email@example.com