Factories and Storage Warehousing
The requirement for fire doors within any given type of premise in a range of property sectors is determine not only by the amount of guidance documents issued by HM Government, covering fire risk assessments, but also other technical documents including British codes of practice and current UK Building regulations. The first decision made by your fire risk assessor is to determine which guide or guides to use to determine the fire safety standards to be adopted, this should be indicated within the fire risk assessment.
In addition, every building large and small should have a determined fire strategy document (how a building operates under the condition of a fire). One the fire risk assessment has been completed and the fire strategy determined, the fire compartmentation of a building can then be identified, which then in turn allows for the location of fire doors to be discovered as part of any fire compartmentation requirements. The person carrying out the initial fire risk assessment and then determining the fire strategy, fire compartmentation and fire evacuation plan, must be ‘competent’ as defined in the main fire legislation The Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005.
Fire Door Locations
Fire doors are usually found in the following locations:
● Protecting all identified escape routes from the building
● Protecting staircases
● All high risk rooms
● Separating one fire compartment from another in larger premises
● What’s known as ‘dead end conditions’ where escape can only be made in a single direction from the building
● Separating long corridors
● Separating lift shafts from the remainder of the building
● Protecting basements. Separating large roof spaces. Separating one building from another. Any other location deemed necessary by the fire risk assessment taking account of travel distances within the building as identified in the above guidance documents issued by the Government.
The above isn’t an exhaustive list but covers the majority of locations.
Once the location of your fire doors is identified (and ideally on a set of building plans) the level of fire resistance can then be determined. The majority of fire doors in the UK are FD30s which indicates these will withstand heat and smoke for a minimum period of 30 minutes, higher risk areas such as large boiler rooms, industrial kitchens with frying ranges, may have FD60s fire doors recommended as part of the fire risk assessment.
Fire Door Signage
All fire doors should have a British Standard sign affixed to the face of the door at 1.5m from the floor level, this should state one of the following depending on location and whether a hold open device is in use.
● FDKS fire door keep shut
● FDKL Fire door keep locked shut – usually cupboard or storeroom doors
● FDKC Fire door keep clear – where hold open devices are in use
Industrial Type Buildings
Industrial type buildings tend to have a more robust type of fire door with a solid timber core installed generally, and in particular the doors will by paint grade ply finish as they easily maintained.
The main issues we find in carrying out fire door surveys within these types of premises is that doors sited on main gangways where fork-lift truck as used and hydraulic pallet trucks, get damaged very easily and we have therefore on many occasions recommended barrier protection of the fire doors and frames and/or heavy duty protection wrapping across the bottom half of the doors, this tends to help and the doors remain in good condition for much longer.
Where office accommodation is separated from factory or storage areas by a fire resisting wall or walls, the fire door rating is usually FD60s, as building regulations differentiate between the two purpose groups.
The larger warehouse doors usually require a lot more maintenance to keep them fully functioning and this can be a challenge for site management, but not only are a number of these doors for life safety, but also for property protection and insurance companies have their say on the location of these fire doors and whether they are linked to the fire alarm to close automatically. The main cause of damage in these buildings is inevitably fork-lift trucks or pallet moving machinery.
The key to maintaining heavy usage areas is regular inspections of these fire door sets by a competent person and repair when necessary to maintain the fire compartmentation lines throughout the building.