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Common Fire Doors Faults – How to inspect and spot them.

Fire Doors! One of many types of doors that have become a popular safety choice for homeowners, joiners, and professional requirements. Although it may look like an ordinary door in disguise, fire doors play a crucial role in the passive fire protection system of a building, with the main aim to protect lives, by offering a protected means of escape in the event of a fire emergency.  Additionally, fire doors contribute to the protection of the rest of the building by dividing it into compartments, limiting the spread of fire and smoke. Sadly, Fire hazards are sometimes unpreventable, However recent changes leading to more stringent regulations being put in place should help to reduce their frequency, mitigate against them, and reduce the damage or impact.

Research carried out by JELD-WEN looked at the safety and security concerns in social and multi-occupancy housing properties.  It was reported that although 9 in every 10 respondents had an inspection of their fire doors in the last two years, an alarming 50% found a flaw with their fire doors.  It is no surprise we have seen the Fire Safety Act 2021 and The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 come to light in the last two years with consistent pressure to ensure developers, landlords, and facilities managers are meeting the standards for the safety of residents. 

Correctly specified and installed Fire Doors are essential parts of the safety systems within a building, especially for those which are high-rise, and multi-occupancy. The 2022 Fire Safety (England) Regulations require the ‘‘responsible person’’ (such as landlords, facilities managers, etc.) to carry out quarterly checks on fire doors in multi-occupied residential buildings and checks (on a best endeavours basis) on all flat entrance doors annually. JELD-WEN is at the forefront of ensuring products are manufactured to meet all safety and security requirements and regulations. As a BWF Fire Door Alliance member, we share the vision of ensuring every fire door and doorset manufactured and sold in the UK meets the required standards throughout its service life. That’s why all JELD-WEN fire doors and doorsets are third-party certified by the BWF CERTIFIRE, and where PAS24 security performance is also required, by the BWF CERTISECURE scheme. All JELD-WEN products are manufactured to the highest standard, under strict factory production controls, within our ISO 9001-certified factories. Our fire and security safety products are routinely tested by independent UKAS-accredited test labs, ensuring a consistent level of performance time after time. 

JELD-WEN Fire doors and doorsets will perform as required, however, only if they have been correctly installed and routinely maintained. According to the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS), three-quarters of more than 100,000 fire doors inspected failed in its recent 2021 survey.

Here are a few common fire door installation and maintenance faults to look out for the next time you inspect fire doors installed within a building.

1. Common fault 1: Fire doors with incorrectly installed door closers – This can easily be spotted when opening and closing a door, an effective closer would typically ensure the door is closed with a gradual controlled pull, fully engaging the latch bolt if one is installed, and without any jams or loud bangs when closing, Fire doors should also be able to be opened with a reasonable amount of force, and should not be heavily restricted by the closer when being opened 

2. Common fault 2: Visible structural damage to door leaf, frame, or installed ironmongery – Visual damage to any element of the installed doorset poses a risk to its performance when it matters the most. Any damaged ironmongery (such as Hinges, door closers, and latches/locks) should be replaced with a suitable, certified alternative. Any structural damage to the door leaf or frame (such as cracks, splits, or swelling) that does not constitute general surface wear and tear, will likely require this element to be replaced.

3. Common fault 3: Missing or incorrectly installed intumescent seals – Intumescent seals play a crucial role in the performance of a fire doorset when subject to fire. These seals often go unnoticed within the door frame, however when called upon the heat in the event of a fire causes them to expand and fill up any gaps between the door and frame, reducing the chances of creeping through. Missing or broken intumescent seals can drastically affect the doorsets performance in a fire and therefore must be remediated with a suitably sized CERTIFIRE-approved replacement.

4. Common Fault 4: Incorrect or missing signage – Having clear and correct signage might seem insignificant or passed on as a minor detail but in the event of a fire it is important for people to be able to identify a fire door and also helps people avoid blocking access to them with items or leaving them opened at all times as this could be dangerous and cause more damages in the event of a fire. This also allows the responsible person to identify the doors to continually inspect. 

5. Common fault 5: Missing traceability label – All CERTIFIRE-approved fire doors have a unique label for both identification & traceability, positioned on the top edge of the door. Each CERTIFIRE label has a unique traceability number, which is logged against the manufacturer’s production records when applied to the door, allowing for product traceability back to the source once the leaf has been installed and in situ. This label also identifies the door as being fire-rated for 30 or 60 minutes, as well as containing important information such as the certificate number the door is covered by and who the manufacturer is. The product’s current Certification and Datasheet can be found by searching for the identified “CF” number on the Warrington Certification website. If no label is present on the door, then how can you ensure that the product is a fire door at all?

If you would like more information on checking your fire doors, our resident fire door checklist provides a guide on what residents, especially in multi-occupancy buildings can do to aid in the safety of correctly installed and maintained fire doors, to help escalate to the ‘’responsible person’’ in cases where faults are spotted.

It is important for residents or ‘‘responsible persons’’ to never make changes to their fire doors/doorsets as this can affect the performance and invalidate any certifications, changes to fire doors should only be made by a professional with respect to the manufacturer’s instructions.