The Importance of Fire-Rated Fire Doors in Commercial Buildings

There is always a possibility of a fire in a commercial building, which makes preventing the event of a fire the top priority for those in charge of fire safety. In buildings with so many entrances, hallways, and mixed-use areas, how does one put in place processes to stop the spread of a fire?

According to Maria from Doors Galore “It turns out passive fire protection systems, like fire-rated doors, are one of the best ways to reduce the spread of a fire if one does happen to start”  Fire doors play an integral role in fire safety and are critical to the well-being of the patrons in these buildings.

Why Are Fire Doors Important for Commercial Buildings?

The importance of fire doors lies in their ability to delay the spread of a fire to other parts of a building, allowing the fire response team to arrive and put out the blaze. These types of systems work to minimize damage to property and loss of life using the fire door as a barrier, holding its integrity for 30 minutes or more.

How Do Fire Doors Prevent the Spread of Fire?

Fire doors are made up of many parts that all work together to provide a barrier that can effectively resist fire and prevent the spread of those deadly flames. How does this happen?

  • Intumescent Seals

Intumescent seals are ingenious devices that swell in the heat, providing a barrier that does not allow smoke or flames to travel through.

  • Smoke Seals

Smoke seals block any gaps in the doorway to reduce airflow and prevent the spread of smoke. These seals do not completely close the gap like an intumescent seal, but they have a similar effect.

  • Fire-Rated Hardware

What good is a fire-rated door panel if the hardware melts under the heat of the fire? Only specific hardware that is rated to last as long or longer than the door panels, even under intense heat, is used.

  • Self-Closing Mechanisms

A door that is meant to be used as a barrier won’t work very well if it is wedged open. Fire-rated doors automatically close, ensuring that they can do their job effectively.

  • Fire-Rated Door Panels

Not all door panels can be used on a fire-rated door. High-quality panels are chosen and tested to be able to withstand the heat of a fire for 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes. 

What Legal Requirements Are in Place, Regulating the Use of Fire Doors?

The BSI (British Standards Institute) has laid out guidelines for all construction and building projects, specifically for anything to deal with fire. The BS 476-22: 1987 is a detailed outline of all closers, partitions, glazing, and other materials used in doors as they relate to their use in fire doors.

Who is Responsible for the Safety Standards in Commercial Buildings?

Regular inspections, including regular fire door inspections, must be done to ensure the integrity of the fire doors in any building. Fire risk assessments must be done by the responsible person (typically the owner or operator of the building) and they are also responsible for ensuring that all fire safety precautions are in place, including fire doors.